Leeds United target Barcelona Raphinha opens up on importance of World Cup in transfer decision


The winger, speaking at a press conference ahead of Brazil’s friendly against Japan on Monday, opened up about the possibility of leaving Elland Road this summer. Barcelona have made no secret of their desire to sign him and given his close relationship with the player’s agent Deco, he would appear to be in a prime position to do so. But the Catalan giants’ financial situation could significantly muddy the waters, with many reports that they have to sell players before they can buy or even register new ones.

Leeds, having secured Premier League status for another season, have no release clause to worry about and can set what they believe to be a fair price. With Barcelona far from alone among Raphinha’s Champions League community admirers, it’s likely Los Blancos could impose a £60m price tag on the 25-year-old, due not only to the two years remaining on his contract, but also the 17 goals and 12 assists he provided as he established himself as a Premier League player over the past two seasons. He has also become an international regular at Leeds, winning all eight of his Brazil caps since the start of last season.

Becoming a key part of Tite’s attack ticked off the first of Raphinha’s international dreams, but another – the World Cup in Qatar – looms on the horizon. The November tournament, which he helped Brazil qualify for with three goals and two assists, will inevitably play a part in his thinking as he ponders his future this summer.

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He’s just not ready to think about it yet.

“If I say it doesn’t matter, I would be lying, knowing that there are less than six months left for the Cup, you have to be active in the clubs, it weighs on the decision, but I have confidence in my potential , “ he said, as Globo reports.“If it’s to stay or go, I’ll do my best, find my place and try to be good for the World Cup.”

When asked what the future holds, a smiling Raphinha replied: “Next game, against Japan.

“Then I go on vacation. I have a contract with Leeds until 2024, my future is in the hands of Deco and Leeds, I am thinking of the national team, the game and also my vacation, we need I have a contract with Leeds and this problem is solved by my manager, when something goes well, he sends [it to] me.”

BIG DECISION – Leeds United winger Raphinha admits the World Cup will be on his mind when deciding his future with Barcelona keen on his services. Photo: Getty

Raphinha played 78 minutes of the midweek friendly win over South Korea, hitting the post and getting into plenty of good positions unable to contribute to the 5-1 scoreline. He will hope to be back in the starting XI on Monday in Tokyo as he tries to cement his place in a World Cup year.

His rapid adaptation to international football is something he pays tribute to his teammates and the relationships they have forged on and off the pitch.

“No matter how little time we’ve been together, each knows the other well in their characteristics,” he said.

“Ney can understand my style, Vini’s style, Paquetá understands Ney’s and so on, we understand each other there. Obviously, because we know each other from what we see on television, in training and from what we see in matches. As much as it’s a short amount of work, we’ve managed to contribute with each other.

“As the [coach] said, fast legs Vini and I can deliver dribbling, one on one, Neymar and Paquetá contribute with technique, we contribute with speed, dribbling, goals. We scored a lot of goals, I hope we will continue.

“I have to thank my teammates and the staff of the national team, who told me from the start to make myself comfortable. I try to get along with everyone, I’m fun, happy, like all Brazilians, I like to joke, to play, it helps to adapt.”

Whatever the future holds at club level for a player who has made himself a favorite of Yorkshire fans, chances are his style of play will win him admirers around the world if he were to feature in Brazil’s famous yellow jersey in Group G. of the World Cup later this year. They will face Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon to qualify for the Round of 16 and Raphinha believes they should be considered the favorites to go all the way.

“In my mind, Brazil are the favorites in all competitions, whether it’s the World Cup, the Copa America, the Qualifiers, any competition,” he said.

“I think we are doing a good job, the numbers are there. Obviously Brazil are also favorites in the World Cup.”


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