RAMIRES: HAPPY HOMECOMING

Posted on: Fri 30 Mar 2012

Last time Ramires was at the Estadio da Luz, he was a part of the Benfica side crowned champions for the first time in five years.

That was in 2010, but now the Brazilian is a visitor to Lisbon with a Chelsea team seeking its first appearance in the Champions League semi-finals since 2009, and the midfielder who turned 25 at the weekend knows better than most what to expect from our hosts tonight.

'I am happy to come back to this pitch. I wasn't expecting to play Benfica at this moment but I am happy to do it and I have missed this stadium, so it is nice to be back again,' Ramires said, having just completed the hour-long training session that always precedes European away games.

'The last time I was here was in the national championship against Rio Ave and we were crowned champions in Portugal, so I have very good memories.'

It was a successful solitary season in Portugal, and although he was soon moving on to west London, he has retained an interest in Benfica's side.

'I have been a Chelsea player longer than Benfica, I was only here for one year, but I can't say that London is any more of a home than Lisbon,' he commented. 'They are very different and have different feels, but both are very nice. It would have been easier to stay here because of the language but I wanted to go to London, the Premier League and Chelsea.

'I know this Benfica team well, and I am expecting a difficult game but I hope Chelsea can win. They have a very talented team, and we will have to watch Pablo Aimar so closely. We have to pay attention to his game.'

Ramires might be enjoying the return, but he is also focused on the task ahead and has considered what could be deemed a successful night's work.

'I am happy to see these players again, but I hope that I am on the winning side on Tuesday,' he said. 'A fantastic result for us would be to win 1-0 with an away goal, but a draw would also be a good result for us to take home.'

Ramires and team-mate David Luiz, another former Benfica man, are still revered in these parts. Outside the away dressing room at the Estadio da Luz sits a huge picture of the pair, alongside current forward Oscar Cardozo, celebrating a goal together.

If the pair are doing the same this evening, things might just be looking very good for us in this tie.