FC Barcelona Misfit Raphinha Set To Match Messi, Neymar And Suarez In First Season

FC Barcelona misfit Raphinha is on course to match club legends Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez in his first season at Camp Nou.

The Brazilian famously turned down Chelsea to join the Blaugrana last summer from Leeds United after they activated an economic lever to make a transfer worth a reported €55 million ($58 million) possible.

In his maiden campaign, however, Raphinha has enjoyed mixed fortunes with his form erratic. After scoring important goals against Real Betis and Manchester United in La Liga and the Europa League, the 26-year-old then went missing for a fortnight.

A tantrum thrown after reportedly kicking a drinks refrigerator when substituted against United is said to have caused him an injury that led to him being dropped in favor of Ferran Torres in the Spanish top flight.

And though it has been claimed Raphinha is ‘jealous’ of supposed ‘preferential treatment’ the Spaniard receives, Raphinha was the hero of the hour on Sunday with the only goal of the game against Valencia. His 15th minute winner fired Barca to a nine point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table, and has them set up to claim the title for the first time in four years.

Whatever you think of him, the stats don’t lie and show that Raphinha is currently on course to match the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez with his tally of eight goals and nine assists.

As revealed by Relevo, only six players have managed to notch 10 in each facet of the game in the last decade at the club, and the number ’22’ should join them easily considering the amount of fixtures left in 2022/2023.

To be mentioned in the same breath as the members of the holy ‘MSN’ trident puts Raphinha in lofty company.

But Raphinha must make sure he is not more commonly associated with the other three names on the list – Antoine Griezmann, Cesc Fabregas, and Alexis Sanchez – who also struggled for regular, top displays and were later offloaded.

Relevo say that Raphinha is “buying time with his numbers”, and given Barca’s financial predicament, he could still be shipped out in the summer to a potential PremierPINC
League suitor.

Before president Joan Laporta puts him on the market, however, it is more likely that Barca look to sell the likes of Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati while giving Raphinha at least another half a season or full term in 2023/2024 to prove his worth.

Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomsanderson/2023/03/08/fc-barcelona-misfit-raphinha-set-to-match-messi-neymar-and-suarez-in-first-season/