Paris Saint Germain star Neymar helped convince Raphinha to join Barcelona instead of Chelsea, the former Leeds United midfielder has revealed.
Raphinha left West Yorkshire for Catalonia for £55million this summer after enjoying an impressive spell in the Premier League, scoring 17 goals in 65 top-flight games.
Leeds had agreed a £60m deal with Chelsea for the 25-year-old Brazil international before Barcelona hijacked the move, with club owner Andrea Radrizzani admitting he was “ashamed” of letting the Blues down.
“For me it was done with Chelsea,” revealed Radrizzani last month. “I was ashamed to go back to Todd Boehly and change positions.
“I had no choice because buying six players was more important than keeping Raphinha.”
And now, speaking to La Vanguardia, Raphinha has revealed that his Brazil team-mate Neymar played a key role in convincing him to join Barcelona instead.
Neymar spent four years at Barcelona between 2013 and 2017, scoring 105 goals in 186 games before joining PSG in France.
“I turned down Chelsea because it was my dream to wear the Barcelona shirt,” said Raphinha.
“I spoke to Neymar about a move and he told me if I come to Barcelona I won’t regret it and he was right.
“What surprised me at the club? No doubt the warm welcome from the fans, the coaching staff and the players, everyone is good and trying to help the new players.’
Raphinha emerged as one of Leeds’ key players following his £17million move from Rennes in 2020, helping the club avoid relegation from the Premier League last season.
He has also been linked with a move to Arsenal, with technical director Edu recently revealing the Gunners had been in “talks” with his agent Deco.
Raphinha has featured in all five of Barcelona’s La Liga games so far this season, recording one goal and one assist.
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