ESPN Brasil at the weekend featured an interview with Leeds United star Raphinha, who talked a little about the tough path he had at the start of his career.

Even though the 24-year-old now has a physique which makes him able to play in the Premier League, he claims to have struggled with his size at first, as he was rejected by many clubs for not being strong enough.

“I had a trial at Internacional’s academy. They told my father that I was too small, too thin, and that wasn’t what they were looking for,” Raphinha told ESPN Brasil.

“I think I spent a year at Grêmio. And in the end, I ended up being released for my size, my strength. Then I went to Porto Alegre and in the end I ended up being dismissed also because of my size and my weight.”

The player also talked about the financial issues he had at that time, and that’s the main reason for him to be thankful for what he has today at Leeds United.

“Having to train at clubs with only the money for the transportation counted. I’ve been through times when I sometimes left training and I was very hungry, I ended up asking the people on the street for something, for money, or to pay for a snack so I could eat.

“So I already went through some difficulties so nowadays I see where I am, seeing what I went through, I’m very proud of never having given up football. Football today provides me with things that I have always sought not only for myself, but for my whole family.”

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“I always tried to do my best to one day get here. And finally, to show my potential, to show that football is not just about size and strength. Football is also a lot of intelligence and quality. And today I can say that I made a big dream come true, which is to be playing in this league.”

Raphinha has been the subject of several headlines recently. On Saturday, reports from the Brazilian media said Manchester United made an approach for his signing, and Leeds would have an ‘internal meeting’ to discuss his future.

The winger also spoke to Sky Sports at the weekend, explaining he’s happy at Elland Road and is grateful for the development he’s been having at the club.

With Leeds United spending over €18m on his signing from Rennes last summer, ESPN Brasil’s story says he should now be worth ‘three times more’.