Raphinha’s first two games for Brazil were a reason for the local media to turn the spotlight on him. The Leeds United star hadn’t been very well known in his own country, and following a couple of appearances for the national team, many people were surprised with his quality.
Speaking of him in a press conference yesterday, even Liverpool midfielder Fabinho was asked about his teammate. He labelled the winger the ‘best player’ at Leeds United, and recalled that he’d been linked to the Reds in the summer.
So today, outlet Globo Esporte featured a big and interesting interview with Deco, the former Barcelona and Chelsea player who’s now an agent and takes care of Raphinha’s career.
The representative told his entire story with the Whites’ star, talking a lot about his time at Elland Road and recalling the time they decided to make that move.
“Leeds’ option was good, a solid club with a good coach. Leeds really believed in Raphinha and they signed him. During this entire period, we try to advise on the options we have, but in the end, the player builds his career as opportunities arise,” Deco told Globo Esporte.
Deco couldn’t avoid being asked about Raphinha’s future, and despite claiming the player is happy at Leeds, he can’t hide that a transfer is on the cards for the future.
“Raphinha has a market, and Leeds have high expectations, it was never a project in a hurry. He has ambitions to play at a higher level despite Leeds being in the Premier League. But this is not the time and his focus, things will happen naturally.
“Raphinha is happy at Leeds and for sure the time will come to take the biggest leap in his career, to take a step forward. He has a three-year contract, but it’s not the contract that defines the length of stay or prevents a transfer. Leeds are aware, they’ll want to make an important sale, and Raphinha will end up growing in his career.”
Globo Esporte mentioned that Raphinha had been linked to the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United in the summer, and Deco confirmed that the Anfield side have given some special attention on him.
“Raphinha became an important player in the Premier League, the club knows he has grown and things will happen naturally. He is young, he has many challenges ahead, there are certainly several clubs that like him, and Liverpool do like him, there were approaches, but nothing official. Leeds wanted to keep him for another season.”
The winger did very well in his first two games for Brazil, being used in the second half of the matches against Venezuela and Colombia. According to local reports, those performances gave him the chance to start against Uruguay tonight.
When asked if Raphinha’s plan is really to stay in the Premier League, Deco couldn’t confirm that.
“This is too hard. Every player has their dreams, their ambitions, children’s dreams, a number of things. But you can only make dreams come true on a daily basis. It’s important for the national team to give this prestige, playing for the national team gives prestige, but the day-to-day is fundamental, and he’s done it well at Leeds. Raphinha will play at the highest level for many years, I don’t know if in the Premier forever, but it’ll definitely be in the options.”