Santos Ramires – The Underappreciated Hero (An Appreciation Article)

Sport Lisboa e Benfica, just like their rivals Porto has been one of the leading hunting grounds for the ‘bigger’ clubs since ages. And quite recently we were lucky enough to land one of the true gems of the Portuguese League, who went by the name ‘Ramires Santos.’ Ramires had joined up with Benfica from Cruzeiro, where already he was rated highly, and was given the title ‘Blue Kenyan’ (because of Cruzeiro’s blue kit), and quickly established himself as one of the major players of the Benfica side. Within a season, a major part of Europe turned their attention towards this ‘rather thin’ workhorse who was responsible of being the engine of his side. And on the 4th of August, 2010, Ramires donned the famous blue colors again, this time it was the blue of Chelsea. The transfer wasn’t quite the ‘marquee’ signing the fans were looking forward to, and was met with a lot of confusion because of the 22m fee paid for him to Benfica SL, and over that, the number 7 jersey. The number 7 jersey is traditionally viewed as the best player’s jersey in almost every team, in Chelsea however, it was quite a while since our last number 7 shone on the field. And offering this jersey to someone who wasn’t really ‘magical’ was not met well with many people all around the globe.

Even though he was the centre of attraction to many scouts, fans who didn’t really follow the Portuguese League had little to no idea as to what this player brought into the team. However, the comparisons made to our very own ‘Michael Essien’ soon caught up and that became a reason to look forward to his performances. Ramires made his debut on the 28th August, 2010, replacing Michael Essien against Stoke City with just 6 minutes plus injury time to cover. His full debut was against West Ham at Upton Park, on the 11th September, and what we saw we weren’t really convinced. The next few performances didn’t really help our judgment of his quality either. He was either caught off position, or made loose passes or his touches betrayed him. What he did was run all over the park, but without another good reason to admire, it wasn’t really enough to justify the 22m we paid for him. His thin frame was easily overpowered in the starting of the season and he looked lost on the field, playing against strangers, with strangers. Not really the most convincing start to his Chelsea career.

But that didn’t last too long, as he answered his critics within months by showing why exactly he is compared to the formidable Michael Essien. Slowly but gradually he started improvising himself, and his honest style of playing and a really timid nature must have helped him to get in sync with the rest of the team and within no time he showed the fans why Chelsea paid the hefty amount for him. He could run the entire pitch, for 90 minutes without fatigue, and his thin frame? Well, that couldn’t be bullied off the ball anymore. He adapted so well to the Premier League that within no time it was him who was bullying people off the ball. While he worked from the spine, it was his team mates who won all the plaudits as they enjoyed the fruits of Ramires’ hardwork. Offense, Defense, Rami could do both, and both to impressive levels. His Brazilian Sprint can often be seen charging back and forth all through the pitch.

“He is agile, fast and can be used either as an attacking midfielder or defender. The more versatile the player is, the better he is for me. He is a modern player who can help change the team’s setup during a match if needed.” – Scolari

It soon came to the time where Ramires was one of the first names on the team sheet, and though he wasn’t expected to be scoring goals, he has been impressive on that aspect too. Noticeably, the most important goal of his career has to be the goal that changed the tide against Barcelona, and in the words of the commentator, even the likes of ‘Leo Messi’ and ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’ wouldn’t had produced that sort of goal out of almost nowhere, in a match where he had realized that he wasn’t going to feature in the finals due to suspension. That just meant he put in the extra efforts that would had been reserved for the finale in the semi-final itself. The defensive approach that Chelsea had taken against Barcelona saw Ramires having to play to his sweat to make sure that his team mates got the chance to make it to the finals.

Where he lacked the ‘magic’ other players had in the team, he made it up with some old fashioned hard work. He is not a master of any trade yet, but the Jack of almost too many. Even though the proverb goes on to say that it shouldn’t be this way, Ramires is one exemption to it. If it was not for his multiple qualities, I am confident the team wouldn’t run as smoothly as they are expected to. So many of his team mates takes up the spot light from him because they play eye catching, but would they have had the chance to be so openly eye catching if it weren’t for this lad’s work ethic? I highly doubt so!

If Chelsea were to be a Ferrari, Ramires would be its engine. The world looks at the Ferrari and praises its performance and beauty, while the engine quietly works towards making the Ferrari stand out among all other cars with pure hard labor.

Thank You for taking out your time to read this article. Please leave your thoughts and views in the comments section below. I’d love to hear from you! 

Follow the writer: @T_L_Kuzhi

  1. joe says

    rami is a lad i personally admire so much bcos i dont knw a player on this earth who intercepts possession than him n nowadays e chicky fleck he has add to his game

  2. dabotrabo says

    kudos to the blue Kenyan and i acknowledge his contributions to CFC…and as a Blues fan in Kenya we call him Otieno Ramires

  3. Jeff says

    Blue kenyan, Blue blood

  4. atta sarfo effiduasi says

    ramires deserves all de appellation,he is always dedicated to chelsea.wonderful Rami

  5. GrahamMcGray says

    #respect 2 4 #ramires hz neva say neva spirit

  6. @yemi_FAME says

    Yea blue kenyan while he waz at cruzeiro but he’z known as Rambo in chelsea fc dressing room. His unrelenting and beyond natural work rate has deservedly earned him these names. Ramires is one I respect personally, his strength is unimaginable and he’s capable of those magical moments reminiscent in his performance against Barca. He’s not improved with his touches and passes though but he makes up for these in other aspects of his game. He has not been at his best in the last few games in cfc shirt but we know that’s only temporary, he’ll be back to his best in no time. He ramires is worth much more than the £22m we got him for, he’s not priceless but he definitely ranks with the top players.

  7. cedric says

    I absolutely agree with you, Ramires is a fantastic player. He is a hero under the shade.

  8. Dioyik Haçhton says

    if you say ramires is under appreciated I wonder what you’ll say about mikel. Well I thot he (ramires) was gonna take the chelsea player of the year last year cuz for me, he was my best player last season

    1. carlosnafigueira says

      Mikel under appreciate his own qualities for too many years now. It doesn’t matter where Ramirez play he will try to chip in with a goal or create a chance for others. Mikel showed in the Africa Cup that he’s capable of a top player finish, but for many years he passes the ball sideways and back and never supported attacking situations David Luis does, JT, Cahill, Ramires everyone but Mikel.. when we know he’s technically a very gifted player. How is it possible a player with that skill has 1 goal for the club and someone who plays behind him JT has 60?

  9. Kamaunjoroge says

    Definately,he is the unsung hero

  10. Akinwumi Steven says

    Ramires is a machine especially when paired with Mikel in the double pivot position!But he hasn’t really shone his true worth this season thanks Mou’s new tactics.But i stil believe in him and also better than ageing Lamps!

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