Raphinha has reflected on the injury that kept him out for a length of time towards the end of last season, revealing he feared his leg would have to be amputated.
Proving to be a smart signing, Raphinha enjoyed a positive debut season in the Premier League in 2020-21. The winger made 36 appearances and scored seven goals in all competitions. But he feared it could have come to a negative conclusion after an injury in April.
Raphinha was forced off in stoppage time of Leeds’ win over Manchester City after a collision with compatriot Fernandinho.
He has now revealed the extent of his suffering the subsequent days and the fears he had of its dramatic consequences for his career.
Speaking to the Players’ Tribune, Raphinha said: “He (Fernandinho) hit my thigh hard.
“I’m still used to the várzea (Brazilian street football), where you put ice on it and carry on. No blood, no foul, man! You have to break your leg to get any sympathy there!
“So I told Marcelo (Bielsa), ‘Don’t worry, in two or three days I’ll be fine.’
“But when I came home and removed the bandage, my left leg was swelling. It was twice as thick as the right. My blood pressure dropped.
“I called a doctor, who took me to the hospital. The pain was so bad that I had to be given anaesthesia. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even get into the car.”
The 24-year-old continued: “Apparently I had something called an internal haematoma. The doctors said I needed surgery to remove all the blood. I had never had surgery before.
“They also said I would miss the rest of the season, though sometimes it felt as if I was going to lose my leg. Thank God, they never found a blood clot, as they had feared.
“I stayed there overnight on painkillers and medicines. The next morning I went home, and after three days I could put the crutches aside.
“But then the pain returned. I had to have even more blood removed from the leg. I went to the hospital four times and the doctors drained nearly 100 millilitres.”
Fortunately, the injury was not as bad as Raphinha feared and he was able to return before the end of the season.
He added: “I had a target. I was going to play the final game of the season, the one where we would have fans at Elland Road.
“Luckily, I returned sooner than expected and even got a few minutes against Spurs. I played with a lot of pain. But in that final game, it was worth it.”
Raphinha grateful for Leeds support
Raphinha has since been able to commence the new season with Leeds, which he has enjoyed thanks to the return of fans.
Leeds are yet to win in the Premier League this season, but got back on track with victory in the EFL Cup in midweek. But it was in the draw with Everton, which was Leeds’ first home game of the season, that Raphinha felt the passion that drew him to England.
He added: “To all you Leeds fans, I want to say that even then I felt your love and affection. Honestly, I cannot put into words how grateful I am for the way you welcomed me to the club.
“As for the game against Everton last weekend, well, it was worth the wait. That noise, man – it was just like I remembered it. It was everything I hoped it would be.
“It was very difficult for me to arrive to empty stadiums, because the fans were such a huge part of what made me want the Prem. That noise, man. I still remember it.”