Barcelona fought tooth and nail in the summer transfer window to clinch the signing of Raphinha from Leeds United. The Catalans faced stiff competition from Premier League bigwigs Chelsea but ultimately prevailed in the transfer battle.
Since arriving at Spotify Camp Nou, the 25-year-old winger has shown glimpses of his quality but has been unable to deliver top-class displays on a consistent basis.
It even led to his playing minutes getting affected in recent weeks. Indeed, Raphinha did not start any of Barcelona’s last five league games and has, in total, featured from the kickoff in only six of their eight La Liga encounters.
With the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres all available at Xavi’s disposal, the competition for places in the starting XI is intense at Barcelona.
And while Raphinha acknowledges that, the winger said he will not give up fighting for a regular place in the lineup in a recent interview with Globoesporte (h/t SPORT).
“I want to play every minute, every game. I like to play and participate all the time. I’m very competitive and I will fight. I never accept losing,” Raphinha said.
The former Leeds United winger spoke about his reduced minutes in the lead-up to the World Cup, admitting that he was concerned it might affect his chances of making Brazil’s World Cup squad.
“Any player in my position would be afraid of that risk, as I wasn’t playing much,” Raphinha stated. But, in the end, he was included in the 26-man Selecao squad by Tite, along with two former Barcelona stars in Neymar and Dani Alves.
Raphinha also spoke about the disappointment that the club faced in the UEFA Champions League this season, having crashed out of the competition at the group stages itself.
While he admitted it was far from ideal, the Brazilian chose to look at the positives in terms of how the team was performing in La Liga.
We were eliminated from the Champions League, but we are having a great season in La Liga. We are going through a complicated period, but it all depends on us. It’s in our hands to be able to turn this situation around,” he explained.
On the pressure that comes along with the expectations at a club like Barcelona, the winger said: “When you play for a big club like Barça, you have to have in your head the maximum demands. That’s normal. The fans want to win all the championships, and we also have to want to win everything.”
And despite the Champions League elimination, Raphinha insisted that the team was heading in the right direction under Xavi, saying: “I think we’re doing a great job.”
Reflecting on his own form and slow start to life at Spotify Camp Nou, Raphinha admitted that he is still adapting and getting used to his new surroundings and teammates.