Back in January 2016, Champions League-winning Chelsea midfielder Ramires, seeing the writing on the wall under interim head coach Guus Hiddink, joined Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning for a club record £25 million fee.
Two and a half years later, he is set to move back to Europe.
According to newspapers O Jogo and A Bola (“The Game” and “The Ball” in Portuguese, respectively), Ramires will be joining Benfica before the end of the month.
Benfica were the club who signed Ramires from Brazil in the first place, in 2009, and now they look set to give him a second pathway back to Europe almost a decade later. Reportedly, Ramires will sign an 18-month-long loan deal, coincident with the expiration of his contact at Jiangsu.
Ramires has not had the best of times since leaving Chelsea. He saw red on his debut, and while he made 71 appearances in the previous two seasons, he wasn’t even registered this season for league play by Jiangsu after a change in regulations reduced the number of foreign players allowed in the squad to just four. He’s made just one appearance, in the domestic cup competition.
Ramires is expected to arrive in Portugal today (Tuesday) to have a medical and put pen to paper on a €3 million per-year contract — that doesn’t fully cover his earnings, the difference in which will be paid by the parent club.
In any case, welcome back to Europe, Rami. Maybe we’ll meet in the Europa League?