Raphinha rebels: Brazilian tried his best when others relaxed


Raphinha rebels: Brazilian tried his best when others relaxed

| sport

The forward wanted to prove a point at the Zorilla stadium

It was by no means a good match for Barça. Without competitive obligations and with rotations in the eleven, the Blaugrana were unable to offer a convincing response to the intensity of a Real Valladolid side who, driven by their fans, were playing for absolutely everything. Despite the bad image of the team, few conclusions can be drawn from a match in which the Culés appeared only out of obligation, and did not compete as Xavi Hernández had wished.

There are always exceptions, however, and some Barcelona players showed ambition and a desire to rebel against the general apathy. Raphinha was the Catalan side's best player at the José Zorrilla and he tried to avoid defeat. He had a personal goal on his mind: he wanted to score so he could show his shirt in support of Vinicius and raise his fist against racism. Jordi Masip prevented it with great interventions under the sticks. He thwarted up to four shots from the Brazilian, who finished the game with 57 touches, a key pass, four long balls, a great chance, four duels won and two fouls drawn in 63 minutes.

Good numbers for the attacker. He took advantage of every ball he received to generate danger and was visibly angry after each of the defensive disconnections that, in the moments of Barça's best football, Valladolid took advantage of to secure a vital victory in their arduous mission to avoid relegation to the second division. He didn't like being substituted on the hour mark either, as he made clear with his usual gestures, but he 'used' the media attention of that moment to show the message he had written on his vest: "As long as the colour of your skin is more important than the shine in your eyes, there will be war. We are together, Vini."

Competitive character

The Brazilian's vindication continued in the mixed zone, where he called on "powerful people" to "not look the other way on the issue of racism". "It's always the same thing. It happens in every game, with some players more than others, but this has to change," he argued. He was also blunt in his analysis of the defeat in Pucela. "Valladolid were playing for their lives and we lacked character, hunger and intensity. We have to win the games we have left to give joy to the fans, we can't be lacking in desire. We have to finish the season well and do more at Busquets' farewell and at the Camp Nou next Sunday," he said.

On the pitch first and with his statements afterwards, Raphinha showed that he had listened carefully to Xavi's request to try to finish the season with "good feelings". Although the overall balance of the season will be good whatever happens in the last weeks of the competition, Barça are obliged to react. They have had two bad results in a row after clinching the title.

Topics with the letter