Last yr, after a season with out titles following the exit of Lionel Messi, Barcelona took the dangerous determination of promoting off part of its future earnings in change for fast money it may flip into proficient signings.
The group of newcomers who arrived at Camp Nou included two gamers — Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha — tasked with bringing again the punch to an assault that was lackluster following the departure of Messi.
Lewandowski didn’t disappoint. The former Bayern Munich striker assumed the position of a crew chief and has not stopped chewing up opposing defences within the Spanish league.
Raphinha, nevertheless, quickly grew to become a second possibility for Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez, who favored having Ousmane Dembélé without any consideration winger to accompany Lewandowski.
But a door opened for the Brazil worldwide final week when Dembélé injured a muscle in his left thigh simply when he was having fun with his finest marketing campaign at Barcelona.
Raphinha made probably the most of his alternative on Wednesday when he scored the opening purpose in a 2-1 win at Real Betis that strengthened Barcelona’s lead within the standings. Lewandowski added a second to take his league-leading tally to 14 objectives.
His purpose ought to assist Raphinha maintain his beginning spot when Barcelona hosts a struggling Sevilla on Sunday.
Barcelona leads the league over Real Madrid by eight factors earlier than the defending champions play Valencia in a recreation that was postponed for the Spanish Super Cup. Madrid will then go to Mallorca on Sunday.
Using a part of the cash it generated from the sale of future tv rights and different property, Barcelona paid Leeds a reported 60 million euros ($65 million) for Raphinha and signed him to a contract by 2027. At his presentation in August, membership president Joan Laporta couldn’t assist recalling the good Brazilians who’ve performed for Barcelona, together with Neymar, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo.
“The jogo bonito’ (‘beautiful game’) is back,” Laporta declared.
But Raphinha failed to provide the identical havoc in defenses that Dembélé may along with his pace and dribbling. Instead, he had hassle in one-on-one conditions and was susceptible to dropping possession.
Considering the opposite attacking gamers Xavi has on his squad, together with Spain internationals Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati, and the lasting monetary drag connected to the cash spent on Raphinha, his signing was starting to appear like a questionable expense.
After his purpose at Betis, Xavi underscored that Raphinha supplies two important issues: his of entirety and his assist in protection by pressuring to get better the ball.
“He was decisive,” Xavi stated about Raphinha.
“He works for the whole team. He is very important, like Robert. I am pleased.” That was purpose No. 5 since Raphinha arrived. It helped Barcelona attain the spectacular tally of fifty factors on the season’s halfway level.
Barcelona has gained the league 4 instances after reaching 50 factors or extra after 19 matches. It solely didn’t raise the trophy in that scenario in 2013-14.
“We are going through a good moment,” Raphinha stated.
“The points are a result of our effort. We remain confident for the rest of the season.”