Neymar ‘convinced’ Barcelona's signing Raphinha to join them over the summer and snub Chelsea.
After a glowing two years at Leeds, the 25-year-old was targetted by a number of top sides, including the likes of Barca, the Blues, and even Arsenal.
And now Raphinha has opened up about how compatriot Neymar led him to choose the Lia Liga giants over Premier League side Chelsea.
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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.”
Neymar and the playmaker both represent for the Brazil national team and it appears his words took some effect on Raphinha’s choice.
Raphinha also conceded he could not believe the positive reception he had upon his unveiling: “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.”
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Raphinha had been one of Chelsea's main transfer targets over the summer window, but he ended up making the switch to Barcelona with £56million going to Leeds.
The ace actually had a connection to the Catalan side even before his move. His father Rafael was reportedly part of a band named Samba Tri in Porto Alegre in Brazil, and his musician exploits led him to befriend Barca legend, Ronaldinho.
As a result of the friendship, Raphinha forged a bond with his father's friend and former superstar. Not only this, but Raphinha’s agent is Deco – the former player whose best years came at the Nou Camp.
Last month, Leeds majority owner Andrea Radrizzani spoke about the attacker’s move to Barcelona. Leeds had already reached an agreement with Chelsea but it fell through, with the player wanting to push through his dream move.
Radrizzani told The Athletic: “We had interest from Tottenham, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Barcelona. The best deal was with Chelsea, but in the end, the deal with Barcelona is pretty much the same as the one we structured with Chelsea.
“It took time, it was hard, we had to manage well and as I said I would rather not sell but I didn’t have a choice.”
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