Barcelona summer signing Raphinha has put down the gauntlet to arch-rivals Real Madrid after he had a spectacular debut for his new club.
Raphinha joined Barca from Leeds United last Friday in a move initially valued at £50 million, with add-ons potentially raising the value to £55 million. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, he made his first non-competitive appearance for Xavi’s team in a 6-0 victory over Major League Soccer team Inter Miami.
The 25-year-old international from Brazil started the game and made an immediate impression, setting up Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s 19th-minute goal before doubling the lead himself midway through the first half with a beautiful volley.
Ansu Fati then made it 3-0 just before halftime with help from Raphinha. At the half, Xavi decided to completely rearrange his lineup, allowing him to play a different starting lineup.
In the second half, Gavi, Memphis Depay, and Ousmane Dembele all scored goals to further compound Phil Neville’s team’s woes. It was the second of six friendlies for Xavi’s team, who will now get ready to face rivals Real Madrid in the El Clasico on Sunday morning in Las Vegas. However, Raphinha has issued a warning before the game, asserting that his new team is superior to Barca’s bitter rivals.
Both Raphinha and I have the same problem. Neither of us can tolerate Real Madrid. I like this guy’s mentality already.💪 pic.twitter.com/M04LWieVIG— BarçaTalkFC (@BarcaTalkFC) July 20, 2022
“One always tries to score against anyone, but if it’s in a derby, even more. The most important thing is the win. But, for me, we’re better than Real Madrid,” Raphinha said. “I’m very happy to have scored my first goal. It was a good game. I tried to have a good game. I’m very happy and hope to continue it.”
Raphinha was one of FC Barcelona’s summer arrivals who played in the victory over Inter Miami, a team co-owned by former Real and England star David Beckham. central midfielder Franck Kessie and center defender Andreas Christensen also contributed.
Polish striker Robert Lewandowski, who recently moved from Bayern Munich to Barcelona, did not play in the match but trained with his colleagues in preparation for Sunday’s preseason El Clasico.
Raphinha’s remarks are somewhat unexpected given that several of his international teammates are Los Blancos players. Brazil internationals Casemiro, Rodrygo, and Vinicius Junior, as well as defender Eder Militao, were all a part of the team that won the Champions League the previous year. Before switching from Yorkshire to Catalonia, Raphinha was connected to Premier League teams Chelsea, Arsenal, and Newcastle.
Barcelona’s preseason schedule includes matches against Real this weekend, Juventus, the New York Red Bulls, and the U.N.A.M. before the start of the La Liga season on August 13 against Rayo Vallecano.