• Champions League

Ramires desperate for final homecoming

ESPN staff
April 30, 2014
Chelsea and Atletico set for battle to set up Real final

Ramires says he is desperate to play in the Champions League final at his "home" ground as he tries to make up for lost time.

The midfielder sat out of the win over Bayern Munich in 2012 having picked up a suspension following a yellow card in the semi-final against Barcelona.

And with this year's final being held at the Estadio da Luz, the ground of his former club Benfica, Ramires has multiple motivations to get past Atletico Madrid on Wednesday.

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"I missed the last final, when we won it, but now it's a completely different situation," he told the club's official website. "If we beat Atletico and get through I can play, so I will give everything I have to help my team win the match.

"I have good memories of the stadium and, if we get through, it will be a dream for me to play the Champions League final at the Estadio da Luz, which is like another home to me.

"My career in European football started at Benfica so I want to win tonight so I can go back there and play in a massive game. It's the same for [fellow former Benfica player] David Luiz, we desperately want to go back there for the final."

Chelsea go into the match knowing a score-draw will see their opponents progress on the away goals rule after the first leg finished 0-0. But Ramires admits that morale in the squad is high following the Premier League victory at title rivals Liverpool on Sunday.

"We are going into the game confident and it's good that we're playing at home, in front of our fans," he added.

"It's a big game and we need to play well to make sure we win the match and get through to the final. If you go out on to the pitch thinking a draw is enough it can be very dangerous, so it might be a good thing that we need to win the game."

Captain John Terry is another player trying to make up for lost time after missing the 2012 final, but he says that victory over Bayern meant a great deal to him and his team-mates as Chelsea broke their duck in Europe's premier club competition.

Terry was widely ridiculed for pulling on his kit to join in the post-match celebrations, but can now laugh at himself.

"It did mean a lot to me that night, playing or not playing," Terry said. "I felt I contributed. So did other players who didn't get as much stick as me.

"Throughout that campaign, I had surgery on my knee before the Napoli game and came back really quickly, scored a goal and played a part. I did have a big part to play in the dressing room and on the field of play as well.

"Those winning moments live with you, those moments when you get your hands on the trophy, particularly when you're in a difficult period personally and professionally. Those memories tend to spur you on."

Terry, 33, also revealed talks over his Chelsea future are ongoing but confirmed he wants to end his career at Stamford Bridge.

Terry, who made his Chelsea debut in 1998, is out of contract at the end of the season and has yet to reach an agreement over an extension.

"Clearly, I want to stay for the rest of my footballing days," he added. "At the minute we're in talks and it's ongoing. I'm hoping it gets done. It's down to the club. They know I want to stay."

John Terry was mocked for joining in celebrations wearing his full kit despite not playing © PA Photos
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