In the long and great history of Chelsea Football Club — no, seriously — perhaps no greater goal has ever been scored that the one Ramires (...Santos do Nascimento, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing) produced on a most historic night in Barcelona a little over ten years ago. A goal, a lob of “aesthetic and downright spiritual genius” as Graham reminisced a couple years ago.
That there’s now a budding generation of Chelsea fans who did not get to witness that goal, that celebration, that night (and that Champions League run) unfold live makes me feel wistfully sad ... and ominously old, especially as those heroes in Blue keep retiring. Mikel one day, Ramires the next.
Rami’s time at Chelsea began inauspiciously, the lone and somewhat random marquee arrival in a summer following a most delightful Premier League title, and much like Carlo Ancelotti’s second-season Chelsea, it took a long while for him to find his feet. Said finding came a bit too late for Carlo, but Ramires kicked on from that first season in 2010-11 (and another famous goal, this one against Manchester City), to become practically ever-present, thanks to not only his skills, but his endless running and useful versatility. He’d go on to amass 251 appearances in just 5.5 seasons, win five trophies, and score two goals worthy of year-end recognition (and 32 others of slightly lesser, but generally still high levels of excellence).
After leaving Chelsea in January 2016, Rami took advantage of the brief window of way too much money in Chinese football (see also: Oscar, Mikel, Drogba) before returning back home to Brazil to finish out his career at Palmeiras. He had been without a team for a while now and at age 35, has decided to finish this chapter in his life. And what a chapter it was!
Happy retirement, Ramires!
“After some time of reflection, I would like to announce that I have decided to officially end my career as a professional football player.
“At this point, I can only thank God first for He has trained and led me to the highest levels that sport can offer. Thank you very much also to all the clubs I’ve played for: Joinville, Cruzeiro, Benfica, Chelsea, and Palmeiras. I will always carry you and your fans in my heart. Gratitude also to the Brazilian Football Team for having provided me the pleasure of playing two World Cups, which was the realization of a dream.
“Thankful also to all the teammates, staff, coaches and managers that I had the pleasure of working with.
“To my family, mother, children, brothers and true friends, thank you so much for being by my side unconditionally all these years, cheering for every win, every title and achievement if it were your own. You were always been my greatest strength and motivation.
“I’m going on a different path now, but with the same happiness and courage I’ve had since I was a child, when, against all odds, I left a small town in Rio de Janeiro to conquer the world.
“Thanks for everything, football!”
-Ramires; source: Instagram via Google Translate