Raphinha sealed his move to Barcelona on Friday as club president Joan Laporta hailed the Brazilian winger, declaring: “We think the beautiful game is coming back.”
At the age of 25, Raphinha follows compatriots Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar in arriving at Camp Nou with high expectations on his shoulders.
He could soon be joined by Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski, who has been Barcelona’s prime target, but Laporta was not missing a chance to trumpet the club’s first big-money signing of the close season.
“This is very exciting for us. For all of us who have lived through golden times at the club, there were always Brazilians,” Laporta said.
“He takes the baton of illusion and magic. From the club, we think that the beautiful game is coming back.
“It’s Xavi who has loved him, he has insisted a lot, and the club have done everything they could. We are grateful because you showed the desire to come to Barca. That has been key.”
Barcelona have found the funds to complete the deal, with the fee reportedly setting back the club €67million (£56.57m).
RAPHINHA IS A CULER pic.twitter.com/kc5JJYlqT3
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) July 15, 2022
Raphinha scored 11 times in the Premier League for Leeds United in his last season, after netting six goals in the 2020-21 campaign following his arrival from Rennes.
He managed only three assists last term but created 65 chances, with only seven players in the league teeing up more goalscoring opportunities.
Laporta added: “We hope you work, train and continue to be like you are. We need your joy. We have always liked the beautiful game at Barca.”.
Raphinha was unveiled at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper, the club’s training ground, rather than at Camp Nou.
He was nevertheless satisfied to seal his switch to LaLiga, saying it gave him “great pride”.
“I have many idols who have passed through here and have made history. If I manage to do half as much as them, I will already achieve a lot,” Raphinha said.
“I’m living a childhood dream, my family too. I’m going to do my best for Barca.”