The Leeds United talisman has become a star since his move to the Premier League last summer, with his form leading to links with the likes of Liverpool and Manchester United
Raphinha’s stock continues to rise after seeing his stunning Leeds United form transition seamlessly onto the international stage with Brazil.
A £17million signing from Rennes in the summer of 2020, the 24-year-old proved to be one of the signings of the season, scoring six times and creating nine more in the Premier League alone.
And with two goals in his first four games for the national side, Raphinha continues to be touted as a potential target for the title challengers in England.
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But ahead of the Selecao’s World Cup qualifying clash with rivals Argentina, he has heaped praise on the man that brought him to English football, Marcelo Bielsa.
“From my first days at the club, I already saw how special Bielsa was,” Raphinha told Spanish news outlet AS. “He’s a guy who works a lot, who knows a lot about football.
“He’s the typical professional who dedicates 100% of his time to the institution that he represents and we are very lucky that he’s our coach.
“He knows how to get the most out of each one of us. This makes us raise our level.”
Asked specifically about his aspirations to play in the Champions League, Raphinha hinted he was in it for the long haul with Leeds, adding: “Of course. I’m very happy at Leeds and hopefully we can play in the Champions League.”
“Leeds’ option was good, a solid club with a good coach,” Deco told Globo Esporte via Sport Witness . “Leeds really believed in Raphinha and they signed him.
“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.”
Liverpool midfielder recently spoke of his admiration for the Leeds magician and admitted he was aware of speculation linking his compatriot with a move to Anfield.
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And Deco has confirmed that while an official offer was never lodged, there was definite interest from Jurgen Klopp’s side.
“Raphinha became an important player in the Premier League, the club knows he has grown and things will happen naturally,” Deco added.
“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.”