Raphinha has opened up on how challenging the first few months of his Barcelona career have been after his departure from Leeds United.
Leeds sold Raphinha to Barcelona in the summer after receiving plenty of interest in the winger. Ultimately, it was an opportunity for the Brazilian that the Premier League side could not stand in the way of.
Raphinha went on to score twice in pre-season for his new employers, looking like he would cope well with the step up in quality.
But since the competitive action began, it has been a different story. He has only managed to score once from his first 17 appearances in all competitions for the club.
As a result, he hasn’t started a La Liga match since El Clasico on October 16. Only half of his 12 La Liga appearances to date have come from the first minute.
It is now up to Barcelona boss Xavi to work out how to get the best out of a man who scored 17 goals from 67 games for Leeds.
Raphinha himself knows that things are going to have to get better. Indeed, the 25-year-old has made a confession about his recent struggles.
He told Cadena Ser‘s Carrusel Canalla: “For me, on an individual level, it’s been difficult. I’m a forward and I like to score.
“I’ve scored one official goal all season and that touches you a bit. I’m adapting, my teammates are helping me. I’m working so that this adaptation as quickly as possible.”
This is, after all, Raphinha’s first experience of playing in Spain. That said, he adapted well to new challenges in Portugal, France and England earlier in his career.
Particularly, Raphinha became efficient under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds. He scored 15 goals from 56 games playing for the revered Argentine coach.
Now, though, he is having to try and win Xavi over instead.
Raphinha rejects similarities between Bielsa and Xavi
Asked if there are any similarities between the two coaches, Raphinha issued a denial – although not in a disrespectful way.
He replied: “No one has anything from anyone. People are different, each one has their way of working.
“As I am not the same as anyone, neither are Xavi and Bielsa.”
Raphinha must now adapt further to Xavi’s methods in order to make a success of himself at Barcelona.
Given his natural ability, he has a decent chance of doing so. Furthermore, with a contract until 2027 in Catalonia, time is on his side.
However, he may have a point to prove, backing up that he made the right decision in the summer. As things stand, he has a lot more to show on the pitch before any judgements can be made.