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30 stats for Messi's 30th birthday


Ramires defends Chelsea style

Brazil midfielder Ramires has hit out at critics of Chelsea's style in winning the Champions League, insisting that the Blues only attempted such a style against Barcelona.

Ramires, 25, who missed the final through suspension, was crucial to Chelsea's success, turning in a string of outstanding performances as Chelsea claimed their maiden European Cup triumph.

The topic has been big news in Brazil this week, with Corinthians advancing to the final of the Copa Libertadores with a similarly pragmatic approach. However, the set-up has attracted some criticism in Brazil, with the likes of Tostao particularly vocal.

Ramires, though, defended his side's approach to Radio Estadao ESPN: "This anti-football is not Chelsea's style; we only played that way in those games against Barcelona. When we played against Napoli, we needed to score a goal and we did it, when almost nobody believed we would. If we tried to play as equals against Barcelona, we would have conceded five or six goals.

"We watched some videos of Barcelona and decided for that strategy. We knew we could beat them on counter-attack and we were happy to achieve that. If you don't play that way, you can't beat them.

"It's not only Chelsea that plays that way against Barcelona. We watched that game where Real Madrid beat them 2-1, playing the same way we did. Barcelona move the ball around a lot, tiring opponents that have to run after the ball. In our case, we scored that goal and then we took a defensive stance. If we always win playing that way, I'll choose to win."


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