It's been a season full of (unhappy) surprises at Chelsea Football Club, both on and off the pitch. Any other year, the sudden departure of a 200-match veteran of the club might have caused a few more head-turns, especially just three months after signing a new four-year contract extension, but in this shocking season, it sort of just got accepted with a shrug. Ramires may not have been the most obviously skilled football player, but he still played a crucial role in the club's successes since his arrival in 2010.
But then, like that, he was gone. How bizarre.
"One of the big reasons I left Chelsea was the arrival of the new coach."
"It wasn't just because I had a good relationship with Jose. But when he was in charge, I knew there was a chance of playing and that the fight for a place in the team was always open."
"Yet when Hiddink arrived, he took me out of the side for no reason. I couldn't understand why because I had played well and fought hard for a team that was having difficulties. He didn't like me as a player or my way and decided very rashly that he wasn't going to give me an opportunity to fight for a place in his team. Even when I played the full 90 minutes against Scunthorpe, the next match in the Premier League I was not involved. I just sat on the bench the entire game and after that I wasn't even a sub."
"I was a long time out of matches there and I wanted to join in and help a team that was not in a great moment. And it was not easy to watch from the bench and see the team not performing well."
"Hiddink's arrival really complicated things for me and I just don't know why... but I guess that's football."
"The less you play, the less intimate you are with the game. So I saw that I was really losing myself at Chelsea. In fact I had already lost. In the training sessions, I was fighting hard with all my determination, skill and energy -- but it doesn't count doing that at Cobham. You have to actually play matches and perform in those. But it was quite clear after the Scunthorpe game that I was not going to get an opportunity to do that."
"I always had a good relationship inside the club and I still have today. I player and performed in some big, important matches for Chelsea and can honestly say that I always worked hard for the team. The previous coaches always trusted me to perform in the key games and I loved my time at the club. In fact, even today, I am a Chelsea supporter and want the club to get back into the Champions League as quickly as possible because that is where they belong. And I've only thankful things to say about Chelsea because they made me who I am today -- the name I have in football and a style that people like me for."
"So I have nothing against Chelsea -- or Hiddink for that matter. It was his opinion and decision that I didn't fit into his style, so I preferred to leave rather than him having an unhappy player that might cause trouble. I've never been that kind of person. I've always been peaceful and helpful, so I felt deep down that it I might become a problem it would be best to leave."
-Ramires; source: The Sun
Ok, so perhaps not so bizarre. Hiddink just preferred other players.
While in a way it seems like a tremendous overreaction to a new yet temporary situation (Hiddink had been in charge just for a month and was never going to stay beyond the end of this season), given the money on offer from the Chinese Super League, it's understandable why Ramires would choose that route. At 28 years of age (now 29), the window was closing on the prime of his career (especially since his primary asset is stamina); he still leveraged that into one last big payday.
So, (continued) good luck at Jiangsu, Ramires. You'll always be a hero for that night in Barcelona.