Raphinha reveals he turned down Chelsea after Brazil team-mate Neymar told him he ‘won’t regret’ joining Barcelona… with the ex-Leeds forward admitting he couldn’t turn down ‘dream’ move to the Nou Camp
- Raphinha, 25, reveals he spoke to Neymar before joining Barcelona this summer
- The tricky winger joined Barca for £56million after turning down a Chelsea move
- The ex-Leeds man’s father was a friend of Ronaldinho, who Raphinha idolised
Barcelona’s summer signing Raphinha has opened up on the reason behind his move to the Catalan giants.
The Brazilian forward had no shortage of options, after another strong season at Leeds, but revealed that a conversation with his compatriot Neymar led him to choose Barca over Premier League giants Chelsea.
Raphinha had been one of Chelsea’s primary transfer targets in a summer that saw them splash a league-record spend of more than £270million, but the former Leeds winger instead moved to the Nou Camp in a £56m switch.
Raphinha (right) spoke with Brazil team-mate Neymar before deciding to join Barcelona
The 25-year-old explained how Neymar’s words helped him make the decision, but also suggested the move was a foregone conclusion in his mind due to his own love for the club.
Raphinha has a goal and an assist since his £56million switch
Raphinha explained: ‘I talked to Neymar about a move and he told me that if I get to Barcelona then I won’t regret and he was right.
‘I rejected Chelsea because my dream was to wear the Barcelona shirt.’
And he also admitted he was shocked by the positive reception he was given by the Blaugrana fans, saying: ‘What surprised me in the club? Without a doubt the warm welcome of the fans, the coaching staff and the players, everyone is good and looking to help the new players.’
Although Raphinha only joined Barca this summer, he actually has quite a long-standing affiliation with the club due to a surprise relative.
When Raphinha was a child, his father, Rafael, was reportedly part of a band named Samba Tri in Porto Alegre in Brazil, the hometown of one of the football-crazy nation’s greatest exports – Ronaldinho, who befriended Rafael.
The 25-year-old revealed he rejected Chelsea as it was his dream to play for the Nou Camp side
As a result of the pair’s friendship, Raphinha reportedly began accompanying his dad to barbecues at Ronaldinho’s house in Porto Alegre during the off-season, and formed a strong bond with his father’s friend, who naturally became a role model.
So although Chelsea fans will undoubtedly feel aggrieved at the snub, it is perhaps more understandable why a young Brazilian would choose the club represented by not one, but two of his nation’s greatest ever players.
And it would seem that the player is a good fit for Xavi’s Barcelona, having scored and assisted once each in his four games so far at the club.
Barcelona legend Ronaldinho was idolised by Raphinha when growing up in Brazil
Ronaldinho was a friend of Raphinha (left) and his family, especially his father (bottom centre)
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