Leeds winger Raphinha won just his second cap for Brazil on Sunday in a 0-0 draw with Colombia in a 2022 World Cup Qualifying match.
The 24-year-old has finally been recognised at international level for his impressive form for Leeds in the Premier League, since joining from Rennes for £16.74m last summer.
Raphinha produced six goals and nine assists in 30 league appearances for Marcelo Bielsa’s side last term, proving that he has the quality to regularly contribute to goals in the English top-flight. This has continued into the current campaign, with the winger on three goals in seven games so far.
So, how did he get on during his debut for the Seleção? He watched on from the bench in the first half as £54m-rated Manchester City forward Gabriel Jesus lined up in Raphinha’s favoured right-wing role.
Pep Guardiola’s gem failed to showcase his talent as he came off the pitch with a rating of 6.5. Per SofaScore, he lost 100% of his duels and created zero chances, whilst also failing to register a single shot. Jesus also lost possession of the ball 12 times from 32 touches as he completed 73% of his passes.
Raphinha was then given an opportunity to shine off the bench and he eclipsed Jesus with an excellent showing for his country. Per SofaScore, he completed 66.6% of his attempted dribbles (2/3), won 60% of his duels (3/5) and completed 85% of his passes.
Along with that, he created one ‘big chance’ and registered two shots, one being on target, in just 29 minutes on the field, recording a SofaScore rating of 7.2. This shows that he was able to provide a higher quality of end product in comparison to Jesus, whilst he also offered a reliable outlet in possession that the Man City man was unable to do against Colombia.
A glowing review from Chelsea’s Thiago Silva shows just how big of an impression he made for his country: “The boys showed a quality that I have hardly seen in more than ten years with the Brazilian national team [of newcomers]. It’s really cool to see Raphinha and Antony showing personality.”
The Leeds man was able to outshine Jesus and show Tite that he deserves more caps for his country moving forward, potentially from the start instead of from the bench. With the World Cup coming up next year, performances like this could be beneficial to his chances of featuring in a major international tournament for Brazil.
Bielsa will surely be delighted with this impressive cameo from the winger as it could build his confidence ahead of Leeds’ upcoming Premier League fixture.
It was the ideal scenario for the Whites head coach as Raphinha enjoyed a positive performance that will keep up his positive momentum while not being overplayed during the break, something that may have led to fatigue.