Football Player: who is Raphinha?

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Inspired by family friend Ronaldinho, Raphinha moved to Europe and lit up the continent with his Brazilian flair. He currently plays in the Premier League with Leeds United.

Leeds United winger Raphinha has lit up the Premier League since joining Marcelo Bielsa's side in 2020. He started his career in his native Brazil with top-flight club Avai FC and his also for Sporting CP and Rennes.

He was born in Porto Alegre and grew up in the same area as Brazil icon Ronaldinho, who is a family friend. Raphinha made his Brazil national team debut in 2021, playing a crucial part in a 3-1 comeback win against Venezuela.

Raphinha Early Rejection and Move to Europe

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As a child, Raphinha dreamed of playing for Internacional, one of the biggest clubs in Porto Alegre. However, Raphinha was rejected by the team three times for being too skinny.

He did not let this rejection deter him though, and despite a seven-hour journey away from home, Raphinha was signed by Avai FC, who played in the Brazilian Serie A at the time.

Despite being viewed as a special - and valuable - talent, the club were forced to Raphinha due to ongoing financial restraints.

In 2016, with the help of a new agent, former Portugal international Deco, he moved to Europe to sign for Vitoria Guimaraes' B team.

Raphinha European Journey with Sporting and Rennes

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The Brazilian star quickly settled and became a regular for Vitoria B, playing in Liga Portugal 2. In the 2015/16 season, he played 16 games and scored five goals.

After a brief introduction in his debut season in Portugal, he was promoted to Vitoria Guimaraes' first team the following campaign.

Raphinha made his full debut for the club in August 2016 in a league fixture, and wasted no time in cementing his place in the squad, also featuring in their Europa League campaign.

The left-footed winger excelled during his debut campaign, scoring 18 goals in 43 games in all competitions. He also won the club's Breakthrough Player of the Year in 2017.

His performances earned him a transfer to Portuguese giants Sporting CP, where he made his debut in a Europa League match.

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Raphinha enjoyed great success playing alongside Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes - who he now considers a good friend.

Raphinha made 37 competitive appearances for the green and whites, scoring nine times and assisting five.

After impressing for Sporting, French club Rennes lured the skillful Brazilian to the club for a fee believed to be €21million.

A then club-record signing, Raphinha did not disappoint in his time in the north-west of France. In his first full season, he made 36 appearances and netted eight times.

His standout performances helped Rennes to a third-placed finish in Ligue 1 and qualification for the UEFA Champions League.

Raphinha Plays for Leeds United, England

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In October 2020, Raphinha moved to England to join Leeds United on a four-year deal, his signature again demanding a fee of around €20million.

Signed by Marcelo Bielsa, Raphinha immediately became an integral part of the Argentinian's line-up. Bielsa encouraged a pressing style of play when out of possession and a fast, free-flowing approach when going forward, something Raphinha adapted to with ease.

Raphinha became a fan favourite at Elland Road with his performances helping Leeds to a top-half finish in their first season in the Premier League since 2004. He contributed six goals and was often the focal point of Bielsa's side.

The playmaker maintained his form into 2021/22, scoring a Goal of the Month contender against Everton in the opening month of the season.

Raphinha Plays for Brazil Notional Team

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Raphinha was called up to the Brazilian national team for the first time in August 2021. He went on to make his debut in the famous yellow jersey in October against Venezuela.

He took his opportunity with both hands by assisting twice and winning a penalty to help his side recover from a goal down to win 3-1. This was all achieved after coming on as a half-time substitute.

Raphinha Personal Life

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Raphinha was born in Porto Alegre and had a humble upbringing in a favela outside of the city centre.

Raised by his father who was a jobbing musician, Raphinha's family had close ties to Ronaldinho, and he even attended his birthday party aged seven.

Raphinha also has a close friendship with Manchester United midfielder Bruno Fernandes, who he says has been a huge help to him throughout his career, including recommending he moved to Leeds United.

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Date: 12/7/2022

Location: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

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