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Friday, July 23, 2010
Benfica star Ramires chooses Chelsea over Man City

Harry Harris, Football Correspondent

Benfica midfielder Ramires will join Chelsea next week in a 20 million deal, according to ESPNsoccernet sources.

Carlo Ancelotti wants the defensive midfield player having lost two experienced stars this summer in Joe Cole and Michael Ballack. Deco is expected to follow with only Liverpool's Yossi Benayoun coming in so far.

Ramires is now heading for Stamford Bridge with the deal virtually done and expected to be finalised in the next few days.

Ramires, 23, was one of the big successes of Brazil's World Cup campaign as they reached the quarter-finals in South Africa. Dunga, who was ousted as coach after the country's exit, stressed that Ramires was badly missed after suspension ruled him out of the 2-1 defeat by Netherlands.

Ramires is also wanted by Manchester City, who are ready to outbid Chelsea, but a source said: "He has opted to go to Chelsea, and the deal can be done in the next couple of days, certainly by next week."

Benfica president Luis Filipe Vieira has met with intermediaries representing both Chelsea and Manchester City, but the player has chosen to move to the reigning Premier League champions. Bayern Munich and Barcelona have also been linked with the player but the two English clubs have the financial resources to make the deal happen.

Ramires said recently: "My agent has told me that a number of clubs are interested in signing me, but this didn't surprise me. We all know that the World Cup is the perfect stage to prove your worth.

"One good game could be enough to attract the interest of a big club. I don't know the names of the clubs that are after me, but it would be a dream for me to play for a big club such as Barcelona, Real Madrid or Chelsea."

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