Ramires: The Man For The Big Moment

Goals in consecutive Wembley FA Cup ties. An astonishing chip and key assist in home and away clashes against Barcelona. Relentless enthusiasm and energy impacting game after game.

Chelsea fans hardly need to be told about the impact of Ramires on the 2011/12 season, but as the campaign reaches the business end it has become more and more apparent that the Blues have another amongst their ranks who produces when the stakes are at their highest.

As Didier Drogba added to his Wembley lore and as Frank Lampard continued to extend his remarkable legacy, the Queniano Azul was busy at work affirming his status as one of the club’s best footballers.

It’s not just in the last month that he’s turned up when it matters most either. En route to the big game in Munich in a fortnight’s time, Chelsea faced win-or-bust ties at Stamford Bridge against Valencia, Napoli and Benfica, and on each occasion Ramires put in a sterling performance with a decisive impact.

He was directly involved in Branislav Ivanovic’s spectacular extra-time winner against the Italians, and his trademark lung-bursting running was there for all to see with the second goal against Valencia in December.

The Brazilian ensured that the road to Wembley got off to a good start with a brace against Portsmouth a week after grabbing a stoppage time winner away to Wolves at a time when the club’s league results and performances were decidely shaky.

He took some time to settle, and there were more than a few doubters during his first few months at the club, but as last season wore on he began to show signs of being the player he has been all season.

A superb solo effort against Manchester City was voted the club’s Goal of the Season and it’s a title he could well retain this time around with his exquisite chip in the Nou Camp.

Versatile enough to have been used in almost every midfield position required by Andre Villas-Boas and Roberto Di Matteo, he has been your prototypical box-to-box midfielder yet has also been the tactically adept winger able to retain shape and nullify the pronounced threat of attacking full-backs like Daniel Alves.

Unfortunately, the man with no song will be missing in Munich and whilst Branislav Ivanovic, Raul Merieles, and John Terry are all big omissions in their own right, it speaks volumes that Ramires is considered to be the hardest loss of all for Chelsea fans.

The way he’s played of late, it’s not hard to understand why.

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