Midfielder Ramires said he felt much calmer helping Chelsea to a 2-1 win over Benfica in a tense Europa League final than he had watching last year’s Champions League victory from the stands.
The Brazil international, a tireless runner, told Reuters in an interview that Wednesday night’s victory at the Amsterdam Arena provided a blessed relief after he was forced out of the 2012 penalty shootout triumph over Bayern Munich through suspension.
“I have been compensated,” Ramires said. “It’s much better to be on the pitch where you know you can help your teammates and have an impact.
“When you watch from the sidelines you are just terribly nervous and anxious.”
Ramires, who joined Chelsea from Benfica in 2010, said Wednesday’s victory was tinged with sympathy for his former colleagues.
“I feel badly for them. We’ve played and beaten them twice since I’ve been at Chelsea and it’s always tough,” he said, referring to last year’s Champions League quarterfinal win over the Lisbon team.
“They played so well on Wednesday especially in the first half. They closed me down and it was difficult to find space.”
Benfica now have the unenviable record of losing seven European finals in a row since their glory days of the 1960s.
Ramires’s fellow Brazilian Oscar featured in his maiden European final on Wednesday but said he intended it to be the first of many.
The 21-year-old playmaker joined Chelsea from Internacional in July and contributed five goals in the Champions League before the holders went out of the competition and were forced to drop down to the second-tier Europa League.
“I’m thrilled to win my first European trophy,” Oscar told. “Now I want to win lots more.”