Thomas Tuchel and Neymar were full of praise for Rafinha after Leeds United’s reported summer target shone on his Paris Saint-Germain debut, as reported by Ligue 1’s official website.
Few might have expected that, a matter of weeks after Leeds baulked at the £14 million release clause in Rafinha’s contract, that same player would be joining the Champions League finalists on a free transfer (Mundo Deportivo).
Barca were desperate to get the Brazil international off the wage bill, so much so the Kings of Catalonia eventually opted to terminate the final 12 months of his contract on deadline day when PSG came calling.
And while the logic of Rafinha’s move to the French capital has come into question, given Tuchel isn’t exactly lacking when it comes to gifted forwards, the two-time La Liga champion is already starting to silence his doubters.
Rafinha was thrown in for his first start during Saturday’s 4-0 thrashing of Nimes.
And he marked the occasion with the sort of defence-splitting assist former Barca teammate Andres Iniesta would have been proud of. Rafinha has learned from Iniesta at Camp Nou and served Kylian Mbappe’s opener on a silver platter.
“Rafinha showed in this match that he was courageous,” enthused former Dortmund boss Tuchel. “He showed that he knows how to take responsibility and he looked for attacking solutions. He had a good match.”
Neymar, Rafinha’s fellow Brazil international, was also left grinning from ear to ear by the performance of a man who has a lot to prove at the Parc des Princes.
“I am very happy to see you again my brother!” Neymar wrote on Instagram. “May we be as happy as we always were when we played together. Good luck to you here, I love you.”
The question remains, however, whether a player who could have been one of the first names on Marcelo Bielsa’s team sheet will feature regularly in PSG’s star-studded starting XI?
Leeds United summer transfers 2020
Wolves (£16 million)
Lorient (£5 million)
Manchester City (Loan)
Wigan (£1 million)
Valencia (£26 million)
Freiburg (£13 million)
Feyenoord (£1 million)
Real Sociedad (£18 million)
Rennes (£21 million)