Belfast Telegraph

Ancelotti excited by Ramires

Carlo Ancelotti hopes that Ramires will play an important part in his plan for Chelsea to dominate the English game for years to come.

The Blues could have their first big-money transfer in place by the time they begin their Barclays Premier League title defence against West Brom on Saturday after Ancelotti revealed that a deal for the Brazil midfielder was close to completion.

"Ramires is doing medical tests again and we hope that he will sign a contract," said Ancelotti.

"I hope he will sign soon. He is a fantastic player. He will be the future of the Brazil national team and I hope he will be the future of Chelsea."

Chelsea's decision to replace Guus Hiddink with Ancelotti last summer proved to be a wise one as the Italian completed a league and cup double in his first year at the helm.

The former AC Milan manager has seen Joe Cole, Deco, Juliano Belletti and Ricardo Carvalho leave the club this summer, with £6million midfielder Yossi Benayoun the only confirmed arrival so far.

To make matters worse, the Blues have endured a poor pre-season, losing four matches on the bounce including a 3-1 defeat at the hands of main rivals Manchester United in the Community Shield last week. Nevertheless, Ancelotti is determined to build on last year's success - although he does admit that winning the title will be tougher than last time around.

"We are ready to defend the title. We have fantastic motivation to win again," the 51-year-old continued.

"I said last year when we won the Premier League and the FA Cup that we had the possibility to open a cycle and we want to do it. The other teams will work harder to beat us but we are ready to fight and we are ready, if possible, to improve our quality, personality and courage.

"The other teams are improving very quickly. Last week's match against Manchester showed that. They played well, better than last year and this means that they are doing better and for this reason we have to have a step up if we want to win."


From Belfast Telegraph