Chelsea’s Ramires admits friendship with Spurs ace ‘put aside’ on Sunday

Tottenham Hotspur’s Paulinho and Chelsea’s Ramires are very close off the pitch.

Chelsea midfielder Ramires has told reporters for the Daily Star that his friendship with Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Paulinho will be put firmly on hold on Sunday.

The duo are part of a sizeable Brazilian contingent in London, with the Blues currently boasting four Samba stars in total and West Ham United, Spurs and Arsenal containing one apiece.

Ramires and Paulinho have faced each other on occasions in heated London derbies, however Sunday’s League Cup final at Wembley is undoubtedly on another level and tensions are bubbling.

Speaking ahead of the event, Ramires has conceded that his friendship with the Spurs ace has already been put to one side – revealing that there will be no good luck messages beforehand.

"Paulinho and me are very good friends off the pitch and I've played against him several times before but we will have to see if we are both going to be playing in this final,” the Blues’ midfielder explained.

"We both know it's a big, big game but on the pitch there are no friends. Then life goes on and my friendship with Paulinho will go on as well I'm sure.

"But there will be no text or call between us before Sunday. There is already enough stuff going around. I know he's not going to text or call me either and I definitely prefer it that way."

Are the duo likely to face-off at Wembley?

The suspension to Blues midfielder Nemanja Matic is a big blow to Jose Mourinho’s side and has sparked much speculation as to who will replace him.

The obvious choice would be Ramires and, owing to Jon Obi Mikel’s fitness issues, the former Benfica man will be extremely unfortunate if he doesn’t get the nod.

Paulinho, however, has barely featured this season – starting just once in the Premier League and a handful of times in the Europa League.

With Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb first-teamers under boss Mauricio Pochettino and expected to start on Sunday, the 26-year-old will likely have to settle for a place on the bench.

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