Impossible not to pay attention to this scene. On February 16, FC Barcelona and Manchester United stood in respect during a breathless first leg of the Europa League (2-2) when Raphinha had the bad surprise to see his number 22 appear in red on the panel brandished by the fourth referee. And when giving way to Ferran Torres (83rd), the former Rennais did not hide his dissatisfaction, even seeming to utter unkind words towards his coach.
The starting point of a crazy controversy in Catalonia? Absolutely not. “I see these reactions in a very positive way, it seems perfect to me. I always tell them to get angry with the coach, they can insult me if they want”, defused Xavi the same evening. As for the player, he was quick to apologize, regretting a “error”. Simple hypothesis: if the Brazilian seemed so annoyed to leave the field, it was perhaps because he was having the best game of a rather frustrating season so far.
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Often used, rarely goalscorer
Go back. On July 15, Barça formalized the arrival of Raphinha, snatched from Leeds United against a check for 58 million and for a contract running until 2027. The Auriverde quickly found his place in the rotation set up by the Catalan technician. Since the start of the year, he has only missed one La Liga match. But he only started thirteen as a starter, and only played one in its entirety, in early September, at Sevilla FC (0-3).
Raphinha (FC Barcelona)
Credit: Getty Images
The fault, of course, with a very raised competition in the offensive sector. In particular on the right wing, where Ousmane Dembélé regularly took his ease. The fault, too, with the often mixed performances of the native of Porto Alegre, too messy despite his great technical ease and, above all, not efficient enough. Because if he distinguished himself by delivering decisive passes to his friends (9, all competitions combined), the Auriverde on the other hand frequently lacked precision in front of goal (5 achievements in the league, 8 in all and for all) . Obviously insufficient, from such an expensive rookie and in a club of the standing of FC Barcelona.
I often came home thinking it could have been better
The player who worked for Sporting Portugal is aware of his shortcomings, he who admitted at a press conference that his sense of goal could “penalize”. “This season I have often come home thinking it could have gone better, whatever the outcome”, he even confessed on Catalunya Radio. Not enough, however, to call into question the confidence granted by Xavi. “He is improving in terms of finishing and also gaining confidence in his one-on-one duels. So despite the criticism, I have no doubts about Raphinha’s success at Barcelona.”insisted the Blaugrana coach.
Raphinha (FC Barcelona), scorer against Valencia.
Credit: Getty Images
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