'He showed great respect' - Leeds United wait on Raphinha decision as Brazil Covid dispute rumbles on

Andrea Radrizzani believes Leeds United winger Raphinha showed 'great respect' in giving up the chance to make his Brazil debut.

Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:05 am
Updated Wednesday, 8th September 2021, 10:06 am
Leeds United winger Raphinha. Pic: George Wood/Getty Images

The 24-year-old was handed a first call up by head coach Tite for his nation over the September international break but didn't attend due to current Covid-19 guidelines.

Nine Premier League players were selected to represent Brazil this month - though none travelled after a number of top flight clubs refused to release them for international duty.

Brazil is currently on the UK government's red list and playing for their countries would have meant a period of extended quarantine upon return to England.

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"We invited him [Raphinha] to make a decision and he decided no," Radrizzani told the European Clubs' Association General Assembly this week, as reported by BBC Sport.

"He showed great respect for his club and the Premier League in giving up this opportunity to play for his country for the first time."

Despite failing to represent Brazil, Raphinha could still yet miss this weekend's home clash with Liverpool.

The Reds - who themselves have three Brazilian players in Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Fabinho - make the trip to Elland Road on Sunday afternoon as the Premier League resumes.

FIFA could impose a five-day post-international break ban on players who were not released for their countries, meaning the Whites would be without their wide man in LS11.

Chile and Mexico have lodged formal complaints, which would see Newcastle United, Wolves and Blackburn Rovers affected.

Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa will be without four players between them after Emiliano Buendia, Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero and Giovani lo Celso represented Argentina.

Premier League clubs, though, are still in the dark over whether those called up for Brazil will be allowed to play this weekend with games fast approaching.

"This has to be sorted out within the next 24 hours," European Clubs' Association chief executive Charlie Marshall said on Tuesday.

"Liverpool and the other clubs need to know if they can play their Brazilians or not. If Fifa is not going to sanction the clubs then they need to tell them."

Marshall added: "We don't think there should be sanctions because if a player has to quarantine he is unavailable to immediately play for his club again, so it would be longer than the agreed release period.

"We asked Fifa to extend the exception for players having to be released for international duty but they chose not to."