As a result of Leeds United’s agreement to sell Raphinha to Barcelona for £49 million, the club will begin the upcoming campaign without its top player.
However, despite his choice to quit the club after only two seasons, the Brazil winger continues to hold an iconic reputation at Elland Road.
Luis Sinisterra, a winger for Feyenoord, has been brought in to replace him after Jesse Marsch’s team decided that losing him would be a significant blow. He possesses a wide array of skills and contributes significantly to his team’s success.
To what extent has Raphinha been a significant player for Leeds, and what will he bring to the table with his next club?
Since Raphinha is no longer with the club, Leeds will need to find another scorer to replace him.
United paid Rennes £17 million for his services after the French club was promoted to the Premier League in 2020. During his two seasons at Leeds, he was involved in 28 percent of the team’s league goals, which was more than any of his other teammates.
Raphinha led his side in both goal scoring (17), which was second best at the club behind only Patrick Bamford’s 19 goals, and assist production (12), which was the most of any of his teammates.
“The guy was out-of-your-seat box-office,” claimed Adam Pope, who covers the club for BBC Radio Leeds. “The guy was ‘out-of-your-seat’ box-office.”
“If he wasn’t ending Gary Cahill’s career with a spinning backheeled nutmeg, he was dropping his shoulder, leaving defenders in his wake or goalkeepers transfixed as the ice coursed through his veins on a stuttering run-up before inevitably converting a penalty. If he wasn’t doing that, he was dropping his shoulder, leaving defenders in his wake or goalkeepers transfixed as the ice coursed through his
I believe that he has been one of the finest additions to the Premier League, let alone Leeds United, in this century. I cannot say that about many other players.
In the Premier League, seven of Raphinha’s goals came from outside the penalty area. During those two seasons, only James Ward-Prowse of Southampton managed to score more goals than he did (nine total).
Only three other players, Allan Saint-Maximin of Newcastle, Adama Traore of Wolves, and Wilfried Zaha of Crystal Palace went on more runs than Raphinha’s 286, although seven other players had more successful dribbles than his 118.
During those two years, Raphinha was responsible for creating 129 opportunities for his teammates to score in the league.
According to Pope, “His desire to win was ravenous, yet he was prone to outbursts of petulance,” which often infuriated supporters. “His desire to win was insatiable.”
“As a result of Bamford’s injury, the club counted on him to be the leading scorer with 11 goals during the previous season, and it is indisputable that he was an indispensable factor in the club’s ability to remain in business. In a season that came down to the wire for the Whites’ continued existence, seven of them contributed to the team’s garnering of 15 points.
“The most that any supporter could realistically hope for was for Raphinha to remain with the team until after the World Cup was over.
“It will be up to Colombian international Sinisterra to conjure the magic that Raphinha brings to the Nou Camp. In the same way that RB Leipzig midfielder Tyler Adams is perceived to have the unenviable task of filling the boots of local hero Kalvin Phillips, who is now at Manchester City, it will fall to Sinisterra to conjure the magic that Raphinha brings to the Nou Camp.
“What he takes with him is a club in the Premier League and the iconic image of his tattooed body in a deified pose celebrating amidst the Leeds fans in the away end at Brentford on a dramatic final day knowing that when it mattered he delivered. He also leaves behind the knowledge that he was able to deliver when it mattered most. Not a terrible return for an investment of 17 million pounds in Rennes!”