• Europa League

Benfica foes, not friends, for Ramires and Luiz

ESPN staff
May 14, 2013

Chelsea midfielder Ramires says he is ready to leave the niceties behind when the Blues face his former side Benfica in the Europa League final on Wednesday.

Ramires, 26, spent a season at Benfica before moving to Stamford Bridge in 2010 and admits he still has some close ties at the club, although that will not stand in the way of his pursuit to earn Chelsea a second successive European trophy.

"I have a lot of affection for Benfica when they are playing in their own competitions, but on the pitch I am a Chelsea player and I don't want to think about Benfica or anybody else," Ramires said.

"Before the game you talk to everybody and joke with your friends, you wish them well because they are your opponents, but once you start playing your mind is only on winning the game, you don't remember anything else.

"In this final I will be doing everything I can for Chelsea to win, and it's easy to separate these feelings. Whoever is in your way, it doesn't matter."'

The Brazil international has warned his team-mates not to take the Portuguese side lightly, with Jorge Jesus' charges having a successful run in Europe and in the league this season.

"Of course I still have friends like Luisao, Maxi Pereira, Oscar Cardozo and Pablo Aimar," he said. "They're very good players and what I can tell you is they are a very good team, well organised and dangerous. They score goals, don't have a doubt about that.

"In a game like this you have to keep attention on all the 11 players. If you focus on one player who might give you trouble, one of the others could do something special and leave you in a difficult situation.

"No player wins anything alone, so we have to be at our best throughout the team. We must give them plenty of respect, which they deserve because a lot of them are internationals and they have been playing together a long time."

Chelsea's David Luiz spent four seasons at Benfica, but insists he will not be overawed by a reunion with his former club.

"When you win something and you finish you are hungry again," Luiz said. "So last year I ate beef, now I have chicken but I'm still really hungry and want to win more titles.

"It will be a difficult game. A special day for me, a special day for my team-mates. The emotion is a good emotion but when it is time to start the game I forget everything and I want to win, I play for Chelsea."

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