If anyone thought the football revolution in China would prove just a flash in the pan, they have been sadly mistaken.
The influx of major investment has brought some of the biggest stars from around the world to Asia over the last few years and while the money keeps rolling in, the sport will only continue to grow in the country.
But unfortunately for the players bold enough to have made the move to China, many have been tarnished by the same label – ‘money-grabbing mercenaries’.
Unlike the MLS, which tends to attract those who might be slightly past their best, the Chinese Super League has been able to entice players still in their peak years – including a few from the Premier League.
Ramires, who surprisingly left Chelsea for Jiangsu Suning back in January, has tried to defend his motives behind the move.
The 29-year-old’s £25 million deal broke the Chinese transfer record – albeit for just a few days – and he has hit back at claims he only moved for the money, taking a dig at ex-Chelsea boss Guus Hiddink in the process.
“I see a lot of people saying that I came to China just for the money, but that’s not true,” Ramires revealed, in an interview with Goal.
“If you look at the situation I was going through at Chelsea at the time of the transfer you will see that I was [Guus] Hiddink’s last option in my position and this was frustrating me a lot.
“The situation was only getting worse and at that moment came the interest of the Chinese club.”
The Brazil international made over 250 appearances during his six-year spell at Stamford Bridge and despite falling out of favour, Ramires could have easily joined another top club in Europe if he had wanted to.
But once he saw Jiangsu’s offer, there was no turning back.
Ramires added: “Jiangsu introduced me to a long-term project where I would be a key player, they offered me everything I could think of and more, and I decided together with my agent and family that this would be the best decision.
“The money issue weighed on the decision, I put it on the scale that I am already 29 years old and that an irrefutable opportunity like this may never come again. But the way things were happening at Chelsea was the main reason.”
“In relation to the Brazilian national team, I do not think I gave up on my country, so much so that some Brazilians who are playing in China are constantly called up. I think it depends more on the evaluation of the coach of the Selecao than on where you play,” he continued.
“It has always been a pleasure and a great pride for me to defend Brazil and I still have this desire to be called back. I see myself in total condition to help and I will try to continue doing a good job for that to happen.”