Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti set to complete £18.3m Ramires raid at Benfica

Chelsea last night moved close to finalising the £18.3m signing of Brazil’s World Cup midfielder Ramires from Portuguese side Benfica.

Reports from Portugal said Chelsea will pay a total of £18.3million for the hard-working 23-year-old, who has made it clear to the Benfica board that he wants to move to London.

The Portuguese champions paid £5.8million to sign Ramires a year ago from Brazilian side Cruzeiro, but must pay half the £18.3million to controversial agent Kia Joorabchian whose investment group recently bought a 50 per cent stake in the Brazilian international for a reported fee of £5million.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti wants Ramires, who is renowned for having remarkable stamina, to occupy the right side of the midfield. Earlier this summer the Double winners let Joe Cole, Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti quit on free transfers, leaving Chelsea light in midfield.

Ramires will become Ancelotti’s second signing of the summer, following the capture of Yossi Benayoun from Liverpool. Ramires played four times for Brazil during the recent World Cup, including three appearances from the bench.

Ancelotti yesterday distanced himself from reports that Ramires’ Brazilian team-mate Kaka might be joining Chelsea also, as he has failed to settle following last year’s move to Real Madrid. Ancelotti, who managed Kaka at AC Milan, said: “Kaka cannot come to Chelsea. He was a player of mine and has done so much for Milan, but now he belongs to Real Madrid and he will decide about his future along with his current club. Certainly neither I nor Chelsea will decide his future for him.”

Salomon Kalou yesterday admitted Chelsea’s priority this season will be winning the Champions League.

“Last year we lost to the Champions League winner with Inter, but this year we are looking forward to the new challenge of the Champions League,” Kalou said. “We have the team for it, the players for it and we can’t wait to get started.”

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