Brazil federation issues statement on Leeds United winger Raphinha and fellow Premier League man

The Brazilian Football Confederation have confirmed that Leeds United winger Raphinha will not link up with Tite's squad for either of their March games due to Covid-19.

By Graham Smyth
Sunday, 20th March 2022, 3:09 pm

Raphinha is one of two Premier League players to have pulled out of the games against Chile and Bolivia, with Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhães anticipating the birth of his first child, a baby girl, next week.

Whites head coach Jesse Marsch predicted that Raphinha would have to sit out both of Brazil's games during this international break, having tested positive for Covid-19 last Thursday, but the possibility of involvement appeared to remain - not for this Thursday's home game against Chile but perhaps for the Wednesday March 30 trip to Bolivia.

"We'll have to evaluate the situation with him," said Marsch after Friday's 3-2 win at Wolves, only the third Premier League game Leeds' top goalscorer Raphinha has missed this season.

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"He’s eager to go as he should be, establishing himself with Brazil which is amazing. Such a good player. We’ll see what happens."

But Brazil have now released a statement to confirm that Raphinha cannot travel and will remain in England.

"Forward Raphinha, from Leeds United, and defender Gabriel Magalhães, from Arsenal, will not play for the Brazilian team at Granja Comary for the team's next games against Chile and Bolivia," said a spokesperson.

"Raphinha tested positive for Covid-19 and, due to the isolation protocols, will not be able to travel to Brazil and perform for the period of training and games. Defender Gabriel Magalhães, on the other hand, is not injured. He got in touch with the coordinator of the Brazilian national team, Juninho Paulista, and with the coach Tite to tell him about the forecast of the birth of his first daughter for the next week. Understanding the importance of the moment for the player, he was called off."

MISSING OUT - Leeds United winger Raphinha will not play any part for Brazil during the March international break due to a Covid-19 case. Pic: Bruce Rollinson

Raphinha, who has nine goals this season in the English top flight, has struggled for form recently but looked back to something more like his best in the win over Norwich City. Marsch has spoken about the winger's importance to the side and how vital it is for the coaching staff and his team-mates to get the best out of him. His next action is now likely to be the April 2 clash with Southampton at Elland Road.

A stellar first season of international football has brought three goals and two assists in seven appearances for Seleção, making him a regular under Tite and suggesting he will be in with a strong shout of a place at this year's World Cup in Qatar.

Although he is contracted to Leeds until 2024, the 25-year-old's future has been the subject of speculation for months with interest from a number of clubs in England and abroad. The Whites had begun talks over a new contract in earnest at the start of the year but noise over an extension has now died down and their resolve to keep the star man will likely be tested this summer.

Marsch admitted recently that contract talks had not been on his agenda, but he does plan to speak to key players about their long-term futures.

"I haven't spent any time with anyone talking about long-term futures," he said.

"For me it has been about living in the moment and prioritising what is important. Those conversations can be had down the road once we establish a few more things. Those conversations are more for the club but I can always help. Of course, I would love to keep guys like Kalvin and Patrick and Raphinha here as long as possible, so we will see."