Slowly but surely, Ramires has become one of the Old Guard at Chelsea. With all the recent departures of club legends and heroes over the past couple years, the 28-year-old midfielder is now not only one of the oldest members of the squad, he's also one of the longest-serving. Only John Terry, John Obi Mikel, and Branislav Ivanović have been here longer or have made more appearances for the club. Outside of a Club World Cup, Ramires has won every trophy imaginable with Chelsea, while being the star in several of the club's biggest moments, starting with that chipped goal in the Nou Camp of course.
A few weeks ago, he put pen to paper on a brand new Chelsea contract, trying him to the club until 2019, by which time he will be a 32-year-old completing his ninth season with the Blues. Not bad for a scrawny 23-year-old kid many thought wouldn't ever cut it when he arrived just after the 2010 World Cup. While certainly not the most consistent or the most technically gifted player the world has ever seen, Ramires' other qualities have made him a fixture for every Chelsea manager that he has seen. Last season's injury-hit campaign aside, he's made 40+ appearances every year so far.
"What is there to say about this club? This is my home now. The memories since I arrived here are the very best. At the beginning, when I came to a huge club, my first thought was just to play here and remain here."
"A few years have gone by now. I have had all the support I ever wanted and needed from everyone at Chelsea, from the players that have left, from the players who are still here and, hopefully, from the players that will come in the years ahead as well."
"It's very important for us to have one another [Brazilians] here, especially when a new Brazilian player arrives, because we all speak the same language. While we have a very good relationship with all our team-mates, it helps to have these guys because, being so far away from home, they represent a kind of family here."
"As for the record of being the longest serving Brazilian player at Chelsea, I'm not here to break any records but I am very happy about that and it is a good sign that the club is renewing my contract because it means I must be doing a good job. Hopefully, I will be able to stay here for a very long time."
-Ramires; source: Chelsea FC
Chelsea's Brazilians (and Spaniards, and Belgians, and Englishmen, and Serbians, and every other player belonging to any other nationality) certainly have their work cut out for them once the season resumes after the international break.
"As far as the mood is concerned, it is fine. We are training and working hard. We are doing the best we can to get out of this situation we have put ourselves in."
"I think the team has a good mentality, but when you don't have victories you lose some confidence and we need to come back and start winning games again. When we have a good victory, where the team plays well and all of us return to our best, then the confidence will come back and our situation will change."
-Ramires; source: Chelsea FC
These two weeks have been a welcome respite from the drama and the realities of the terrible campaign. Soon, it will be time to work and get things back on track. Starting with a "good victory" against Norwich City.