EPL

Raphinha out to follow in Ronaldinho and Neymar's footsteps after Barcelona move

By Sports Desk July 14, 2022

Brazil international Raphinha hopes to follow fellow Selecao stars Ronaldinho and Neymar in enshrining his name into Barcelona history after agreeing his long-awaited transfer this week.

The Blaugrana confirmed an agreement had finally been struck with Leeds United for the winger, pending a medical, to complete one of the window's more protracted sagas, in a deal reportedly worth up to €67million (£56.57m).

Raphinha had preferred a move to Camp Nou since before the transfer window opened, but higher bids from Premier League clubs, including Chelsea, stalled a switch, particularly with Barcelona's financial struggles.

Barca have played host to some of the greatest names in Brazilian football over the years, including World Cup winner Ronaldinho, and Neymar, who became the most-expensive player in history when he left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Both stars left an indelible mark upon the fabric of the club, and now Raphinha is determined to follow in their footsteps.

"I saw Ronaldinho come here and achieve so much and after that Neymar as well," he told Barca TV.

"For me as a Brazilian to come here, it’s an honour. I hope to reach the same objectives that those two players achieved.

"This is a dream come true for me, not just for me also my friends and family.

"They’ve seen me playing since I was a kid. They knew this was a dream of mine to come here. All I can do now is give my best and try to help Barca be what it’s always been."

Originally arriving at Leeds from Rennes following the former's promotion to the Premier League, Raphinha became a standout performer for Marcelo Bielsa, and then Jesse Marsch, over his two seasons at Elland Road.

With 17 goals in 67 appearances for Leeds, the Brazilian says fans can expect him to showcase that drive at Camp Nou too.

"What I can say about myself is that I'm very excited to win," he added. "I like to win, any time I lose it's very difficult to accept.

"So, you can expect a player who will always be fighting, always try to win, in training sessions as well. I will fight to become a better player."

Related items

  • Luis Enrique frustrated by 'worst' half of Spain reign in Switzerland defeat Luis Enrique frustrated by 'worst' half of Spain reign in Switzerland defeat

    Luis Enrique believes Spain's performance in the first half of Saturday's defeat to Switzerland was their worst 45 minutes of his reign.

    Spain slumped to a disappointing 2-1 loss in Zaragoza that leaves them trailing Portugal by two points in Nations League Group A2 heading into the last game.

    That final group match is on Tuesday as Spain prepare to face the leaders in Braga, with Fernando Santos' side 4-0 winners over the Czech Republic on Saturday.

    La Roja did not muster a single shot on target until Jordi Alba's 55th-minute equaliser at La Romareda, and Luis Enrique could not hide his disappointment at the showing.

    "Losing is always something that hurts. It has been a pity, but we must value Switzerland, who from the beginning caused us many difficulties," the coach said.

    "In the first half, it was the worst of my time as coach. [Then] we have badly defended the corner of their second goal.

    "In the second half we improved. We have tried until the end. The key game is Portugal. We will go to Braga to win."

    The manner of Saturday's loss clearly perturbed Luis Enrique, understandable given the World Cup starts in less than two months.

    Yet, he is refusing to blow it out of proportion, adamant he does not need to re-evaluate his faith in the squad just because of one result.

    Asked if the game generated doubts in relation to Qatar 2022, Luis Enrique replied: "No doubts.

    "Obviously it's better to go to Qatar on a winning streak, but I have full confidence in the team. I have seen many players in the first half who have been more imprecise than ever, but the opponents are good, they know how they play.

    "But everything doesn't always go well, when you don't have a good day, this happens.

    "A victory against Portugal would be the perfect way to reach the World Cup. We have drawn three times with them and now we will go there to win."

    Portugal only need a draw on Tuesday to seal their place in the Nations League Finals for the second time.

  • 'Without a doubt' - Southgate adamant he is still right man for England 'Without a doubt' - Southgate adamant he is still right man for England

    England manager Gareth Southgate is adamant he is the right man to lead the team into the World Cup despite a woeful run of form.

    Defeat to Italy on Friday condemned the Three Lions to relegation in the Nations League, extending the winless streak to five matches in the process.

    Southgate was jeered by England's travelling supporters at San Siro but, despite being under the most pressure he has been in his six-year stint in charge, believes he remains the best choice to take the team to Qatar.

    "Without a doubt. We're playing and have been playing some top-level sides and we will be better for that," he said.

    "And the younger players, in particular, that have been in these games will have learned a lot from them.

    "In the past we've had runs of friendlies or whatever the matches are and then we've gone into tournaments and that's the first time we've hit high-level opposition and it's hit us in the face quite often.

    "Now we know the level, now we know what we've got to improve and we'll be better placed for that by having had the quality of matches that we've had."

    Southgate's views were echoed by England captain Harry Kane, who is confident the Three Lions will be back to their best in time for the start of the tournament in November.

    "I believe we are going to be judged on how we perform out in Qatar. We're just in one of those moments where it's not quite going our way. We're confident we can turn that around," he stated.

    "We have one more game on Monday to try to get some good feelings back. Ultimately, once we get to the World Cup, we will be ready for that first game and be fully focused on that.

    "I don't think our confidence has been dented, but you want to win games. We are all experienced enough, with our clubs especially we have been through those moments when things haven't been going so well. It's about bouncing back."

  • Dalot fires warning to Spain after Portugal go top of Nations League group Dalot fires warning to Spain after Portugal go top of Nations League group

    Diogo Dalot insists Portugal's approach in their final Nations League Group A2 game against Spain will not be any different after rising to the top of the table.

    A comfortable 4-0 victory over the Czech Republic in Prague, where the Manchester United full-back scored a brace, came alongside a surprising 2-1 defeat for Spain against Switzerland.

    Those results set up a decisive match between Portugal and Spain on Tuesday in Braga, where the hosts know avoiding defeat will secure a spot in next year's Finals tournament.

    Despite now finding themselves in pole position, Dalot says the outlook ahead of the game has not changed.

    "Our thinking will be the same, whether Spain had won or our result [had been different]. We're going to Braga to win," he said.

    "It's going to be a very complicated game and we have to do our [work] to be able to be in the next phase."

    Dalot was also pleased with the overall performance from the squad, believing it to be evidence of their strength ahead of the World Cup later this year.

    "The most important thing was the good game we played collectively. I think we could still have done a little better after the third goal, taking it easy and more ball," he added.

    "We had some scares there that could have given them a goal, but we kept our cool. Defensively we were also very good and I think the result speaks for itself. We played a great game, and we deserved this win.

    "This is the result of the work we have been doing. We have a lot of quality. This is a strong [moment] for us. The World Cup is coming, it's a competition where we always want to be."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.