Forward Raphinha said on Friday that he was fulfilling a childhood dream by playing for Barcelona and following in the footsteps of fellow Brazilians such as Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar.
“All my idols played and made history here so it’s a huge honour and I can’t thank Barca enough for giving me the chance to wear this jersey,” Raphinha told a news conference after signing a contract until June 2027 with a buyout clause of €1 billion. “I hope I can achieve half of what my idols accomplished here. It’s a dream come true for me and my family. I’m going to do my best to help this club win (trophies).”
Leeds United agreed terms to sell the flamboyant 25-year-old to Barca for a reported €58 million transfer fee that could be boosted to 68 million with add-ons. “The beautiful game is back to Barcelona and that’s very meaningful to our club,” president Joan Laporta said standing beside Raphinha.
“For us, it is very exciting because all of us who have lived through Barca golden times, there has always been a Brazilian. Raphinha reminds us of this tradition and he is here to pick up that baton. “(Barca coach) Xavi... wanted to have Raphinha and we have done what we could. At all times, Raphinha has shown his desire to sign for Barca and that has been very important.”
Pre-season ‘torture’ Tottenham Hotspur defender Matt Doherty has described manager Antonio Conte’s training sessions as mental torture and said the ongoing pre-season was the toughest one of his career. Videos on social media showed Son Heung-min and Harry Kane falling to the ground after training drills at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on Monday, before Spurs’ 6-3 friendly win over K League XI during their pre-season tour of South Korea. “It’s not like anything I’ve done before. This is the hardest pre-season I’ve had,” Doherty told British media.
“I don’t know if there will be any teams fitter than us. You get great satisfaction once the session is over. Your mind has been tortured in the middle of it but when it’s done you feel proud. “You’re just thinking, ‘don’t quit’, even if you crawl over the line or have to jog or walk towards the end. It’s that determination the manager has instilled in us to keep going and never quit.” Spurs will face Sevilla in a friendly on Saturday. Meanwhile German club Augsburg said they have called off a friendly against Qatari club Al-Duhail after criticism from fans.