Raphinha acknowledged that seeing Ronaldinho excel for Barcelona in the 2000s inspired him to pursue a career as a player for the Blaugrana.
The winger finalized his transfer to Camp Nou on Friday, rejecting Chelsea’s approaches in favor of securing a move from Leeds United to Catalonia. Arsenal had a similar interest in him.
Speaking at his unveiling, Raphinha admitted that his admiration for Ronaldinho undoubtedly influenced his decision regarding his future plans after departing Elland Road.
“I started watching Barça when Ronaldinho came here. Everything that he achieved here definitely influenced my decision to come. I always wanted to come here. I did everything I could to fulfill my dream of playing for Barcelona, Deco and Mateu did everything they could to achieve this.” – Raphinha said.
“I was always hoping that one day I would be able to realise my dream since I was a kid, to form part of a team like Barça. We all have our different ways of playing of course so I’m very different [from Ronaldinho]. I know what I can give the team and I know how I will contribute. it’s a dream for me to play here with these great players.”
In the summer of 2003, Ronaldinho moved from Paris Saint-Germain to Barcelona after club president Joan Laporta, who was then in charge for the first time, promised to bring in a marquee player. The Bluagrana had also taken into account the signing of David Beckham and Thierry Henry.
The legendary Brazilian footballer played for Barcelona and won the 2005 Ballon d’Or in addition to two La Liga trophies and the club’s second-ever Champions League.
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