Although Rafinha’s return to form is coming far too late for Russia 2018, the Inter midfielder may well play a part in Tite’s future plans
Rafinha is rediscovering his best form as the Brazilian continues to impress during his loan spell with Italian giants Internazionale, following a series of injuries that haunted him during his days at Barcelona. The Serie A side has the option to permanently purchase his services for around $40 million, but are yet to take the final decision. It would be a wise move for all parties if a deal was reached.
Rafinha has been known for years as the less-talented brother in the Alcantara family, with Thiago having reached stardom at Bayern Munich and with Spain’s national team. Meanwhile, the Inter-man struggled with injuries and shortage of game time at the Camp Nou. But a move to Italy has allowed him to regain his confidence and show the world just why he was so promising in the early stages of his career, before everything went wrong.
Luciano Spalletti is known to be an extremely pragmatic manager, which generated doubts as to whether a skinny, small player like Rafinha would fit into his tactical scheme, but so far so good for the young Brazilian who has managed to cement himself as the creative force in Inter’s midfield, operating in the traditional trequartista role, linking the midfield with the attack and providing constant support to Argentinian star Mauro Icardi. With two assists in his last two league games, Rafinha has displayed his impressive technique and passing range in the best way possible, winning the hearts of the Nerazzurri fans.
Back in 2016, Rafinha had played a role in helping his country claim Olympic gold for the same time in history, as they beat Germany in the final in Rio de Janeiro, with the midfielder having scored a decisive penalty in the shootout. He who once represented the youth categories of Spain’s national team has, unlike his brother, made it clear that his dream was to switch back to the Brazilian national team, and defend the colors of the same side which his father Mazinho, had played an integral part in, while winning the World Cup in the US in 1994.
Ever since Tite took charge nearly two-years-ago, Rafinha has never been called up by his country, but this was mainly down to the fact that he was either injured or not getting enough minutes with Barcelona. His loan move to Inter has proven to be successful so far, albeit, a bit late with the manager having seemingly already made his mind up about his midfield options for Russia.
If Rafinha keeps it up over the next few months, the midfielder could well break into the Seleção’s squad for the 2019 Copa América edition, which Brazil is set to host. Until then, the player needs to try to extend his stay at Inter or in the worst case scenario, leave Barcelona to another top-flight side, willing to give him the minutes that he needs, and deserves, in order to retain the level of performance that matches his talent.