Ramires confirms he wants to stay at Chelsea

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Ramires has expressed his delight at making his 200th appearance for Chelsea and also confirmed his desire to remain at the club for many years to come.

The Brazilian midfielder - who reached the aforementioned milestone after starting in the Blues' 1-1 draw against reigning champions Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday - was subject to a large amount of transfer speculation this summer and at once staged looked like he would likely be afforded the opportunity to swap London for Madrid with Real frequently said to be plotting a £25 million bid for his services.

Such a move never materialised, however, and Ramires remained at Stamford Bridge despite competition for places in Jose Mourinho's midfield being significantly increased by the arrival of former Arsenal favourite Cesc Fabregas from Barcelona.

Missing out on a potential transfer to La Liga - if indeed it was ever a realistic possibility - does not seem to have phased Ramires, who claims he wants to stay at Chelsea for a long time.

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Future plans

"I am very proud to have completed these 200 games for Chelsea," the 27-year-old - who first moved to English football from Benfica back in 2010 - was quoted by the Daily Express.

"It’s a huge honour to be one of the players in the current squad that have worn the shirt the most times.

“I hope to be at Chelsea for much longer and to achieve other important milestones in the future of the club.”

Having suffered through the humiliation of Brazil's dire World Cup exit at the hands of eventual champions Germany in July, Ramires has featured in four of Chelsea's five Premier League games so far this season and even registered on the scoresheet during last month's thrilling 6-3 win over Everton at Goodison Park.

Confined to the substitute's bench for 45 minutes of the 4-2 win over Swansea last weekend, Ramires was restored to the starting lineup for Sunday's daunting trip to Manchester and was eventually replaced by goalscorer Andre Schurrle shortly past the hour mark.

Title favourites?

Following Chelsea's draw with City, Mourinho's men have now opened up a three-point lead over Southampton and Aston Villa at the summit of the top-flight.

Providing they can keep the likes of Fabregas, Eden Hazard and Diego Costa fit and firing for the gruelling schedule to come, then it would take a very brave man indeed to bet against them securing their first title since 2010 and third overall under the guidance of Mourinho.

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