Barcelona splashed out over €60 million to bring Brazilian forward Raphinha to the Camp Nou in the summer transfer window but are yet to see the new signing consistently impress.
Indeed the former Leeds United man has managed two assists in 15 appearances for his new club, and his lack of end-product has led to Xavi leaving him out of his starting XI in recent weeks.
Barcelona are “completely baffled” by Raphinha’s failure to impress in matches, according to Javier Miguel at Diario AS. The Brazilian’s “first days at the club were spectacular” and “his intensity was applauded” by the coaching staff.
Raphinha was monitored on the pitch were his “GPS vest did not stop giving positive data” and he shone in pre-season with a goal to beat Real Madrid in a Clasico in the United States.
However, it has been a different story since the season started. Raphinha is no longer guaranteed a starting spot and Barca feel the new signing “seems mired in a rampant identity crisis.”
Yet on the training ground Raphinha “remains unbeatable” which has left Barca “completely baffled” by his struggles. Barca are worried by the discrepancy even though they still believe “the player’s potential is immense.”
Barcelona retain “absolute trust” in Raphinha but need to find a way to get the most out of the new signing. The club have made changes recently, deploying Raphinha on the right flank only and adding an extra midfielder for more control.
Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!
Raphinha Talks Fighting Spirit
Raphinha started on the bench last time out against Valencia but did make an impression after arriving as a substitute. The forward provided the cross from which Robert Lewandowski scored a stoppage-time winner.
The Brazilian spoke out after the game about the importance of the goal and the fighting spirit Barca had shown to keep going until the final second to secure the winner, as reported by Marca.
“We knew the importance of the game and the importance of picking up three points.
“The teams that want to fight for the title have to fight until the last minute and that is what we have done,” he said. “We were able to get the victory. It was hard fought. We had to fight for every ball until the last minute. “Valencia are a great team, you have to respect them a lot. They played a good game, but we were able to get the three points.”
Raphinha To Face Plzen?
Raphinha should have another chance to try and impress Xavi against Viktoria Plzen in the team’s final Champions League game. Barca have already been ousted from the tournament but will want to sign off with a win.
Robert Lewandowski has been rested for the trip to the Czech Republic which means Xavi will have to make changes to his frontline. Raphinha could start the game but does still have competition for his place.
Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, and Ferran Torres are also in contention, and all the forwards will fancy their chances of scoring against a side which has conceded 20 goals in five group games so far.
READ NEXT: Barcelona’s ‘Mini Messi’ Beats Ansu Fati Scoring Record