Ramires: Stand up to the big boys

'Size doesn't matter' insists Chelsea and Brazil's slimline speedster, as he shares his on and off-field tips with FourFourTwo on how to face up to those midfield giants

Hit ’em hard

“When I first came to England I used to fall more often and I noticed that the fans were not happy. But I wasn’t diving; I just wasn’t used to the physical nature of the English game. As you can see I’m not really strong, so I always have to hit hard – but fair – otherwise I’ll get hurt. I try to do it straight away, to intimidate the opponent. But I know it doesn’t really work. It’s like starting a fight: if you hit, the other will hit back, and it goes like this until the end of the game. But it does show them you won’t run from a battle.”

Set the tone with a big tackle

More after the break

Don’t get too close

“As I’m not so strong, if I receive the ball with an opponent on my back I try to pass as soon as possible. I try to avoid playing with my back to goal as much as I can, as it’s better to face an opponent front-on. If I’m supposed to mark a player who’s much stronger than me, I know that I can’t get too close and try to use my arms, otherwise I’ll be run over by him. So I try to give them a bit more space and wait for the right moment to pounce. I can’t compete against them in strength, so I use my agility instead.”

Don’t get too close or you may get overpowered

Eat right and rest up

“Nutrition and recovery are both important to feeling strong. Before the match I always eat spaghetti, mash, chicken or fish, and the day before and on the day of the match, I only drink water. It’s been like this for a long time and some guys make fun of me because of this, but it has always worked and I feel confident with it, so why should I change my diet? After training, I go straight home to take a rest, have a sit down and play video games. This is something that’s really important to me, and it’s essential I sleep eight hours a day.”

Nutrition: the great equaliser

The Ramires leg workout

“I only work on my legs, and I now weigh 70kg – 5kg more than I did four years ago,” says the midfielder as he reveals his gym plan

Leg press

Start in a seated position on the leg-press machine, bringing your knees up to your chest, pressing your feet against the base platform, creating a 90-degree angle. Keep your back straight and slowly extend your legs without locking your knees at the top of the movement, pushing through your heels. Lower the weight until you return to the start position and repeat.
Reps: 10 Sets: 3

Calf raise

Place your shoulders under the pads and position your toes forward, with the balls of your feet on top of the calf block and your heels hanging off the edge. Pushing off the balls of your feet, pull your heels up until you’re on your toes. Hold, before slowly lowering back to the start position and repeating.
Reps: 10 Sets: 3

Leg curl

Lie face-down on a leg-curl machine with your feet hanging off the back of the bench. Hook your feet under the roller pads and keep your knees straight. Slowly raise your feet up until your knees are almost fully bent. Return to starting position and repeat.
Reps: 10 Sets: 3

For more training tips see:
Michael Carrick: Protecting the back four
Aaron Ramsey: Overrun the opposition
Marco Verratti: How to be a deep-lying playmaker
Shield the ball like Philipp Lahm
Lucas Leiva: The spoiler

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