Brazil coach Dunga sprung a surprise in calling up midfielder Ramires dos Santos Nascimento, but A Seleção supremo’s faith in Benfica’s young star has been more than repaid. From his first steps in professional football with Cruzeiro, to his elevation to the national team, Ramires’ progress off the field has been as spectacular as his hard-running style on it.
In spite of his apparently fragile frame, Ramires’ pace and versatility have made him a vital cog in the Brazilian machine. The 2010 version of A Canarinha places as much importance on patience and possession as on flair and flamboyance, and the young midfielder fits perfectly into Dunga’s counter-attacking blueprint.
Indeed, the coach’s plans, with Ramires at the heart of it all, have paid rich dividends in terms of results. Brazil are once again on course to be a major presence at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The young Brazilian played in five of his country’s matches at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, finishing on the winning side on each occasion. He also played in four games in Brazil’s bronze medal-winning campaign at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing, again ending up victorious on each occasion. He sat out the team’s only defeat, when they lost the semi-final to Argentina. In qualifying for South Africa 2010, he made five appearances, of which the South American giants won three, drew one and lost one, giving Ramires an impressive tally of 12 wins in 14 games for his country.
His success with the national team secured a move across the Atlantic, with Ramires leaving Cruzeiro to play for Portuguese club Benfica. He immediately settled into his new surroundings in Lisbon, and hit it off with Benfica’s passionate supporters.
As the player himself admitted in an interview with FIFA.com: “At Benfica I’m playing a more right-sided role, with both attacking and defensive responsibilities, similar to where I’ve played for the national team.” In keeping with his career so far, we can expect Brazil’s latest midfield discovery to make an instant impact in South Africa.