Raphinha move to Leeds United followed recent Brazilian trend - Pundit
Former Leeds United star Raphinha now finds himself at Barcelona, and Brazilian legend Kaka believes his career path follows a recent trend.
Raphinha joined Leeds from Rennes in 2020 for £17million [BBC] – a move that turned out to be a bargain for the Whites.
The Brazilian winger became one of the first names on the Leeds teamsheet during his two years at Elland Road, helping Leeds to ninth in the Premier League in his first season before helping the club narrowly avoid relegation in his final season in Yorkshire.
He then made a £55million switch to Barcelona [Sky Sports], where he has endured a rough start at the club under Xavi. Brazilian legend Kaka believes Raphinha using Leeds as a stepping stone to a “big club” is a trend he is seeing more and more from his compatriots.
“Right now, in Brazil, it changes a little bit because most of the players before we use it to go to the first team at the age of 17 or 18. Then, for at least three years in the first team, then move to Europe. This was the pathway,” Kaka told BeIN Sport, as quoted by Yorkshire Evening Post.
“Today, with the other markets, a lot of things change. A lot of players are going out at 15 or 16, so a lot of them are growing outside of the country. It changed a little bit. At the age of 17 or 18, it’s really hard to understand what’s going to happen. Between 18 and 23, I think this is a key age to move to Europe and to understand if this guy going to do that.
“We are seeing now, a lot of Brazilians going to another club, before going to a big club. So, Raphinha was playing in Leeds. Then he went to Barcelona. Antony was at Ajax, then he went to Manchester United.”
Stepping stone club
It stings a bit to suggest that Leeds could be used as a stepping-stone club for star players, but it’d also be naive to suggest that there aren’t more attractive clubs out there for players to join.
Ever since Raphinha burst onto the scene at Elland Road many fans conceded that he wouldn’t be sticking around for long. But Leeds have lofty ambitions that include one day playing in European competition – if those dreams are ever going to materialise then change is needed.
The club can’t afford to let all their star players simply leave the moment a European powerhouse comes calling. Kalvin Phillips and Raphinha both downed tools and left in the summer, and the moment a Leeds player hits some good form more rumours start swirling.
But with the 49ers takeover looming and Leeds wanting to evolve into a top-half club, then the club eventually has to try to keep hold of some star players.
Otherwise Leeds will gain a reputation as a selling club, and more and more players will only see a short-term future at Elland Road.