Raphinha confirms Chelsea rejection, explaining why desire for Barcelona transfer was far ‘stronger’

Raphinha training with Brazil before World Cup - South American Qualifiers - Brazil Training - Toca Da Raposa 2, Belo Horizonte

Raphinha has reiterated why he rejected the chance to join Chelsea this summer, having left Leeds United for Barcelona instead.

Barcelona signed Raphinha from Leeds United in July on a five-year contract. It brought an end to two productive seasons in the Premier League for the Brazil international, who had caught the attention of several clubs thanks to his form in West Yorkshire.

Chelsea were one of the leading contenders to offer Raphinha the next step in his career. They could have kept him in the Premier League, while offering him a step up to Champions League level.

The Blues even had a bid accepted by Leeds for the winger, reports revealed in late June. However, by that point, Raphinha was becoming increasingly tempted by the idea of signing for La Liga giants Barcelona instead.

Ultimately, the club from Catalonia won the race for Raphinha. Leeds also accepted their offer and the 25-year-old duly made his choice.

Since signing for Barcelona, Raphinha has played four times in La Liga. He has already got off the mark for his new club, scoring once and providing an assist.

Barcelona are unbeaten from their opening four fixtures in the Spanish top flight. In contrast, things have not been so good for Chelsea, who recently sacked head coach Thomas Tuchel and replaced him with Graham Potter.

The London-based outfit may be wondering if the addition of Raphinha might have boosted their fortunes in the formative weeks of the season.

But it has become clear that a switch to Stamford Bridge was never on Raphinha’s mind once the option to join Barcelona became available.

Chelsea missed out due to Raphinha dream

He told La Vanguardia: “Rejecting an offer from Chelsea? Yes, because my dream was to wear the Barca shirt.

“I followed them since I was young, since Ronaldinho arrived. I wanted to be a part of it. The desire was stronger than any other proposal, no matter how powerful it was financially.

“I knew that I might have some difficulties to come and to be registered. But I was also aware of the effort the club was making.

“So I decided to trust and adapt to the economic conditions that existed.

“I was born in La Restinga, a very poor neighbourhood in Porto Alegre. I had a very poor childhood, so to speak.

“But my family taught me that humility and values ​​are much more important than material things and that has saved me on many occasions.”

Praise for fellow signing Lewandowski

Raphinha was one of several signings Barcelona managed to make in the summer, despite some financial constraints.

One of the other new arrivals he is excited to be on the same side as is Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker is showing similar form in front of goal as he did during his impressive stint with Bayern Munich.

Raphinha said of Lewandowski: “He’s a great footballer. We all already knew.

“But when you are with him you see that he’s much more than a leader.

“We also have the talent of [Ousmane] Dembele, Ansu Fati, Ferran Torres, Memphis [Depay]… They all have immense quality.”

Coincidentally, Chelsea ended up depriving Barcelona of one of their other attackers late in the transfer window. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang signed to reunite with Tuchel, but is now working under a different regime with the German’s replacement, Potter.

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