Don't expect the beautiful game as Ramires aims to get 'stuck in'

When Roman Abramovich acquired Chelsea in 2003 and was buying new players with indecent haste, he set his heart on bringing the flamboyant talents of Ronaldinho to Stamford Bridge and said as much to the then manager Claudio Ranieri.

The story goes that Ranieri authoritatively told the Russian that the Brazilian was too much of a playboy and would go off the rails in London. Instead he should spend his millions on recruiting the next big thing, Adrian Mutu of Parma.

Seven years later and Chelsea are still chasing Mutu through the law courts of Europe in an attempt to recoup some of their money following the Romanian's ban for snorting cocaine. And Abramovich has finally managed to land that expensive signing from Brazil.

Chelsea's £18.3m recruit Ramires has none of the glamour and little of the style of Ronaldinho, but that probably reflects the financial reality that now pervades the club.

Chelsea had spoken of their desire this summer to make what they called a "marquee signing" – as in one of the world's leading footballers, not a very large tent – yet their most expensive acquisition has proved to be a 23-year-old who played a bit part in Brazil's disappointing World Cup campaign.

Ramires, who is due to make his Chelsea debut today at home to Stoke City, represents very much the new breed of Brazilian footballers, professionals for whom hard work and perspiration are much more important than the ability to do multiple stepovers and then hit banana shots into the top corner.

Ramires is a player rooted in the grim reality of life in Brazil's teeming cities. He grew up in Rio de Janeiro but his story is not a tale of being discovered while playing barefoot on the sands of Ipanema Beach.

"I worked on a building site when I was younger to help at home. I'm not ashamed of that. That made me the man I am today, giving me the character I have now," he said.

"Tuesday and Thursdays I'd work 7am to 4pm because after that I had football practice. Then, on Saturday, I worked 7am to 11am. I was earning around 80-100 reals (£30-£36) every 15 days.

"When I look back at that time, that helps me keep my feet on the ground. When I go home, I still visit my friends and relatives. Everything I do is about helping my family back home, and that hasn't changed. All those experiences, working hard as I did, made me what I am today."

Ramires' humble beginnings and his self-confessed love of the physical side of the game will stand him in good stead in England, a land where few Brazilians have flourished. From Mirandinha to Robinho, the history of Brazilians in the English game is one of overwhelming disappointment. For every Juninho who does well, there are a dozen Klebersons, Roque Juniors and Jardels who flop all too quickly.

In many respects Robinho, the last and most famous of all Brazilian players to fail in the Premier League, harks back to an earlier era, when footballers from Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo were considered too lightweight and too individualist to be trusted. Juninho was the one Brazilian to come to these shores and touch the nation's soul with the dazzling brilliance of his pure talent.

Since Juninho's golden season 13 years ago, the only boys from Brazil to excel in England have been those players committed to the more mundane side of the game. Arsenal have led the way for Brazilian players, with Gilberto Silva, Edu and Sylvinho all enjoying productive spells in north London. However, in a team famed for its beautiful football, not one of those stood out for his ability on the ball, more for his willingness to work for the team.

At Chelsea Ramires will team up with the centre-half Alex, another player famed more for his destructive qualities than his creative ones, although he does possess a phenomenally hard shot.

At first glance Ramires would appear to fall squarely into this camp, the type of player only too happy to put the collective ahead of the individual. For this reason, he has a good chance of bucking the trend and becoming one of the few Brazilians to succeed in the English game.

He certainly expects football to be physically tough in England, citing Patrick Vieira as one of his heroes. "I know tackles will be flying in, and it'll be physical, but I can do that too," he said. "I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. I like that side to the game and I can stand up for myself. It's been a characteristic of my game in the past – I'm a tackler, so I'm relishing that side of the game over here.

"I understand what the Premier League is about. I've watched it on the television and physical strength is the main part of English football. But I'm hard, too. I'm tough. I'm a hard man, too. It's hard to put me down."

Ramires' comments were very much the words of a 21st-century Brazilian footballer, cut from the mould of Dunga and Lucio, not Pele and Zico. His prosaic talents are likely to fit well in England.

And if he plays half as tough as he talks, then Ramires has a genuine chance of being one of the few of his countrymen to make their mark on the Premier League in a positive way. Just don't look to him for jogo bonito – the beautiful game.

Brazilians in Britain

*Hits

Juninho: Middlesbrough

His first spell ('95-'97) was wonderful. Topped poll to find favourite Boro player.

Alex: Chelsea

Made debut in 2007 and last season under Carlo Ancelotti became first choice defender alongside John Terry.

Gilberto Silva: Arsenal

Key, if unprepossessing, member of Arsenal's "Invincibles" team of 2004. However he ended up being sold to Panathinaikos two years ago.

*Flops

Robinho: Manchester City

Lost interest after decent first season and was loaned out to Brazil club Santos. Now looking for a move to Spain.

Kleberson: Manchester United

One of Sir Alex Ferguson's worst buys. Played just 30 matches before United cut their losses.

Mirandinha: Newcastle

The first Brazilian in English football. Arrived with a huge fanfare but viewed as too selfish and liable to shoot on sight.

Sport
premier leagueLive: All the latest news and scores from today's matches
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
News
Queen Elizabeth II sends the first royal tweet under her own name to declare the opening of the new Information Age Galleries at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London
media... and the BBC was there to document one of the worst reactions
News
politics
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker