Leeds star Raphinha has shrugged off the adulation being piled his way – but has spoken out about he has adapted to life in the Premier League.
Leeds moved in to the top half of the table with a 3-0 win over Southampton at Elland Road on Tuesday. The Whites struck three times after the break to earn their first win in three games.
Mesmeric Brazilian Raphinha was once again named Man of the Match. He capped their win with the third goal, bending home a fine free-kick. He now has five goals and five assists from his 20 Premier League appearances for Leeds. Little wonder some of the biggest clubs in world football are taking note.
Raphinha, quickly becoming a fan favourite and a star player at Elland Road, is delighted to have settled into Marcelo Bielsa’s side so swiftly.
Speaking about his success since his £17m move from Rennes, Raphinha is happy to have found top form so soon.
“The Premier League is an extremely complicated, disputed and tough league,” he told Globo Esporte.
“The games are intense and balanced. I am very happy with my quick adaptation, after all, it is my first season.”
Asked what pleased him the most, Raphinha clearly gets what it means to be Leeds and the club’s ‘side before self’ mantra.
“I am pleased to be able to help the team in this return to the competition after so many years. The most important thing is that we are running a very regular campaign.”
Raphinha shirt tribute explained
In scoring his goal on Tuesday night, Raphinha pulled up his shirt to show a tribute to Ronaldinho’s mother, Dona Miguelina Eloi Assis dos Santos. She sadly died aged 71 at the weekend from coronavirus.
The tribute read: “A lot of strength for the Assis Moreira family. Rest in peace, Dona Miguelina.”
Speaking to Globo Esporte through his advisor, Raphinha described his sadness at the loss of a family friend.
“Today was a very special game for me,” he said.
“I entered the field with immense sadness for the departure of Dona Miguelina. Anyone who knows us knows that our families have always been very close and I was very fond of her. In addition to being a very dear person, she was the mother of my greatest idol. I just hope she is at peace and resting. I dedicate this goal to the whole family. We will always be together.”