Raphinha, squared: the resurgence of the Brazilian

I had it prepared. And he had told Natalia Rodrigues, his wife, if he scored a goal in Paris he wanted to celebrate it Neymar, one of his football references, one of those players he wanted to imitate when he was a child. But then, seeing the face of Ronaldinho on the scoreboard of the Parc des Princes, to his other idol, he thought it must be his night. And it was.

It was, without a doubt. the best night at Barça Raphinha, a unique Brazilian. By scoring two goals in the victory (2-3) he was able to please both. In the first, which he scored with his right foot, he stuck out his ‘Neymarian’ tongue, right in front of the PSG ultras, who had denigrated his idol so much. In the second, with the outside of his left boot, full of precision and delicacy after a magical pass from Pedri, he danced next to the corner flag as if he were ‘Ronnie’.

Raphinha, before PSG. / .

“I was warming up and I saw on the screen that Ronaldinho was on the field and I went to look for him to greet him,” Raphinha revealed in an interview with Brazil’s TNT while holding the PSG-Barça best player trophy in his left hand. “Nice, huh?” the Blaugrana asked himself, knowing the answer himself. “It was missing from my collection, some are missing. But I’ve been looking for this for a long time,” he said later.

The hug with Ronaldinho in Paris

And he got his way in Paris, city ​​where Ronaldinho, his first football reference, He opened the door to Europe through France before activating the ‘virtuous circle’ with Laporta in his first mandate. “He is a person for whom I have enormous affection because of the proximity he has with people. That’s why, as soon as he came out, I gave him a hug,” confessed the former Leeds winger. remodeled and rebuilt by the obsession of Marcelo Bielsa, for whom Barça paid almost 58 million euros plus seven in variables (summer 2022), becoming Laporta’s most expensive signing in his second term. It was when Raphinha was being represented by Deco. And now Deco is the sporting director of Barça.

In Paris, the city where Neymar was never happy, regretting from day 1 when he arrived for allowing PSG to execute that clause of 222 million euros (summer 2017), Raphinha reached his particular paradise. “I had good nights, but because of the importance of this match it was the best night of my career. Neymar’s celebration? I had already warned my wife that if he scored here that’s how I would do it. And it was a tribute to him,” he revealed the forward, who had not scored a single goal in the Champions League.

The date with Paris SG arrived and they achieved two just when Europe was only looking at The sword of Lamine Yamal, that 16-year-old teenager who took away his place on the right wing. There, as a right winger, the Brazilian played in his first season, with more than acceptable numbers, participating in 22 goals for Barça: 10 goals and 12 assists in 50 games. Now, he has eight goals and 10 assists in 30 games.

“Rafa is what we saw the other day. He is one of the best at attacking space. One of the best in the world. He is an intense footballer, who goes deep, who creates danger on the wing and inside”


— Barça coach

Expelled from his corner he also had no place on the left because João Félix was the starter at the beginning of a season where Raphinha was not essential. But Xavi, the most creative Xavi since he announced his departure in January, created a new space, both tactically and physically, in his Barça to exploit something that only the Brazilian has. He placed it in the upper left part of the square.

UEFA Champions League – PSG vs FC Barcelona. / YOAN VALAT

“He is one of the best at attacking space. One of the best in the world,” Xavi said this Friday, praising the striker’s ability to scan empty landscapes behind the defense. This is how, for example, it came to 2-2 at the Parc des Princes after a treat from Pedri. “Rafa is what we saw the other day. He is an intense footballer, who goes deep, who generates danger on the wing and inside,” he added. That is, Raphinha squared.

“The funny thing is that in training two days before I made that move and Pedri didn’t pass the ball to me. And then I went to tell him why and Pedri answered me: ‘Don’t worry, not in training, but in training.’ game I will give you a ball like that”


— Barça forward

A ductile and chameleonic forward, perhaps not very precise (he does everything at maximum speed, without the pause that the play sometimes requires), but who always leaves his mark on the games. Mbappe was not even seen (three shots, zero on goal). And he, on the other hand, exposed the weak Parisian defense, with six shots (four on goal, two goals and two blocked) that speak of hyperactivity.

Koundé and Pedri, who assisted Raphinha, after Barça’s 2-2 win against PSG at the Parc des Princes. / Mohammed Badra / Efe

But that second goal had an intra-history. “The funny thing is that in training two days before I made that move and Pedri didn’t pass the ball to me,” the Brazilian revealed. “And then I went to tell him why and Pedri answered me: ‘Don’t worry, in the I haven’t done it in training, but in the game I will give you a ball like that.” Said and done. Majestic pass, “hat goal”, as Luis Enrique later described it, and Neymar and Ronaldinho were both happy. Each one with their own particular celebration of Raphinha, that Brazilian who doesn’t dribble like them. Nor does he have his fantasy. But he is looking for his space and Xavi’s ‘square’ has given it to him.

2024-04-13 05:19:52
#Raphinha #squared #resurgence #Brazilian


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