The Brazilian coach, Tite has announced the squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers next month. As usual, Tite’s team is not without debate because the inclusion of Danilo, Alex Sandro, Fred, Everton Rebeiro, Roberto Firmino, or Gabriel Jesus hardly makes sense. But at least sanity prevailed in the case of Bruno Guimares, Arana, and Matheus Cunha whereas; the likes of Gabriel Martinelli and Antony also deserved a call.
Leeds United winger Raphinha has been called up to Brazil's squad for the first time 🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/2tXYhc7963
— Goal (@goal) August 13, 2021
Again, after a lot of criticisms, finally, Tite has decided to include Leeds United and Brazilian winger Raphinha in the squad.
“We’ve been following Raphinha for a long time since Leeds were promoted to the top tier,” Tite said. “He has a real talent for dribbling. He scores important goals, decisive goals and we analyze that kind of thing a lot. He brings us pace and skill.”
Raphinha was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil and he is of partial Italian descent.
He started his career at Brazilian football side Avai of the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A in 2014.
In 2016, Raphinha signed for Portuguese side Vitoria Guimaraes.
He made his debut for the Vimaranenses against Pacos de Ferreira where he scored his first goal for the club on C.S. Marítimo. He made his first appearance in the 2017–18 UEFA Europa League against Red Bull Salzburg.
He won the Vitória Guimaraes Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2017.
— Leeds United (@LUFC) August 13, 2021
He scored 18 goals during 43 games (in all competitions) during the 2017–18 Primeira Liga season for Vitoria Guimaraes.
In 2018, he transferred to the Portuguese club Sporting CP until 2022.
He made his debut against Moreirense and scored his first goal for the club against FK Qarabag in the 2–0 victory in the 2018–19 UEFA Europa League.
Raphinha was part of the side that won the 2018–19 Taca da Liga, Raphinha also won the 2018–19 Taca de Portugal scoring a penalty in the penalty shootout victory against Porto.
He signed for French club Rennes in 2019, with a transfer fee of around €21 million – the club’s record signing.
Raphinha scored and gained an assist in his final game for the club during the 2020–21 Ligue 1 fixture against Reims in a 2–2 draw in 2020.
Biggest positive of this call up is seeing Raphinha for me.
Finally have a left footed winger, great creator, which can help take some of the burden off of Neymar. https://t.co/ZGeIxtX9AW
— 𝗕𝗿𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗹 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) August 13, 2021
He scored eight goals and gained seven assists during his time at the club, where he helped Rennes to a third-place finish and qualify for the 2020–21 UEFA Champions League during the 2019–20 Ligue 1 season.
A few months later in 2020, Raphinha joined Leeds United on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee reported to be in the region of £17 million, or about €20 million.
It’s sad how the Brazilian media has pushed more propaganda about Hulk being called up than Raphinha 🤣
— 𝗕𝗿𝗮𝘀𝗶𝗹 𝗙𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 🇧🇷 (@BrasilEdition) August 13, 2021
He made his debut as a second-half substitute in a 1–0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers. His full debut was at home to Arsenal. Raphinha scored his first Leeds goal in a 1–0 away win over Everton. His winning goal secured Leeds’ first ever Premier League win at Goodison Park and their first league win at Everton since 1990.
Raphinha had told FourFourTwo on how his move to Leeds came about:
“The board said, ‘We’ve accepted an offer from Leeds, so now it’s your call: do you want to leave or stay?’
“If I wanted to leave, there was a private flight waiting for me to go to England and undergo a medical before signing the contract.”
“Well, if I said it was a simple decision I’d be lying. It was definitely a tough decision. And I had 20 minutes to give my answer! Pretty complicated, right?”
“On the one hand, I’d just helped Rennes reach the Champions League for the first time in their history, and it would have been brilliant to take part in that unique campaign.”
“There’s no professional player who doesn’t think about representing the Seleção. It’s one of my dreams, of course, but I have no control if that’s going to happen or not.
“If it did eventually happen, I’d be over the moon" — Raphinha to FourFourTwo in April
Today he earned it. pic.twitter.com/lqjpZycmeQ
— Joe Donnohue (@JoeDonnohue) August 13, 2021
“On the other hand, I had the offer from a traditional, huge club like Leeds, who were also enjoying great momentum having returned to the Premier League.”
“Believe it or not, English football has always been my number one target. As long ago as I can remember, when I started watching football on TV, the Premier League was there.”
“I enjoy watching English games because it’s a special league full of tradition, great clubs, managers and players. It’s also competitive, as there are so many top-quality teams.”
“My desire to play for an English club was my first thought before signing for Leeds, so you can imagine how pleased I am now wearing their shirt in the Premier League.”
Raphinha is an asset for Marcelo Bielsa in Leeds.
The tall winger is predominantly left-footed and operates as an inverted winger from the right in a 4-1-4-1 formation.
Along with unparallel abilities and skills under his belt, Raphinha is also adapted to play the demanding style of high pressing football required by Bielsa, constantly running his socks off for the team and providing cover for his partners on the right flank.
Fun Fact Patrick Bamford (25), Jack Harrison (16) and Raphinha (15) were all involved individually in more league goals than Neymar (14) last season.
It goes massively under the radar just how good our current front 3 is individually and collectively imo pic.twitter.com/6Qdjb2yfn4
— Oscar (@OscarMarrio) August 12, 2021
The Brazilian has also struck up a great relationship on the pitch with his colleagues with the intent to create mayhem. Raphinha shows great tactical acumen and understanding to Bielsa’s playing style, which emphasizes more on attacking display.
Footy Scout reports, “Raphinha possesses a low center of gravity, due to his size and it allows him to dribble at speed effectively, beating opponents with ease. The winger is blessed with pace and flair, add both together and you have a defensive headache coming up against him.”
— EVERYTHINGLUFC (@everythinglufc_) August 5, 2021
“The agility in which he maneuvers the ball from left to right is very entertaining as well as unpredictable for defenders to defend. He ranks amongst the league’s most successful dribblers with 2.10 Successful Dribbles per90, ranking him as a better dribbler than the likes of Adama Traore and Aubameyang. The winger’s dribbling abilities enable him to carry the ball to the penalty area efficiently as well, as he ranks first for carries into the penalty area for Leeds with 26 this season.”
“To play in Bielsa’s system, every player must be committed and work hard for the team be it in the offense or defense. Raphinha has shown that as gifted as he is in the attacking phases of the game, he does not forget his defensive responsibilities on the pitch. Alongside his teammates, he possesses a great work ethic that sees him running his socks off from start to finish, not presenting opponents a moment of respite.”
The time has come to shine for the Selecao and for which Tite needs to be bolder enough and invest faith in such versatile customers rather than wasting time on those who have consistently frustrated.
With the World Cup coming up, it is better to try and test with players like Raphinha, whose energetic presence would help to galvanize Brazil.