How Leeds United winger Raphinha's bizarre quarantine arrangement works as Brazilian ace trains for Wolves clash

The Leeds United winger turned international superstar confused fans by posting photos of him back in training and then apparently stuck in quarantine within hours of each other after returning from a red-listed country.

By Flora Snelson
Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:32 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th October 2021, 10:34 am

Whether or not Raphinha would make it back to the UK in time after making his international debut in South America was the hot topic in the run up to Leeds’ Premier League clash against Southampton at St Mary’s on Saturday.

The 24-year-old had been away on international duty, finally fulfilling his first Brazil call-up after his initial invitation to play for his country was stymied by the Premier League’s blanket ban on internationals departing to play in red-listed territories for the September recess.

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For Brazil head coach Tite, Raphinha was well worth the wait. The Whites wideman dazzled on his debut, changing the game as a half-time substitute by assisting twice as Brazil came from behind to beat Venezuela 3-1 before bagging a brace on his first start for his country as the Seleção inflicted a 4-1 defeat on Uruguay.

Raphinha’s impressive first start took place in Manaus, 5,000 miles from St Mary’s, just 36 hours before Leeds were due to kick off against Southampton.

The winger made it back in time for kick-off, but Marcelo Bielsa chose not to include him in his squad as he didn’t want to risk an injury to the player who, as the Whites’ lacklustre performance against Southampton showed, has become an essential element of his team.

Now Raphinha has given Leeds fans further cause for concern after posting an Instagram story on Monday night which showed him resting in bed with the caption ‘quarantine’, with a ‘mind-blown’ emoji. Just two hours previously, he had shared a photo of him in his Leeds training gear with the caption “back to work”, causing confusion for fans who are desperate for him to be eligible to face Wolves at Elland Road on Saturday.

Leeds United winger Raphinha. Pic: Tony Marshall.

Under current government guidelines, all travellers are required to quarantine in a managed hotel for 10 days upon arrival in the UK from red-listed countries, including Venezuela, where Raphinha made his first appearance for Brazil on October 8.

Since Raphinha was prevented from fulfilling his September call-up, a compromise has been reached between FIFA and the UK government which means that fully-vaccinated players returning from red-listed countries can join up with their teammates for games and preparations while quarantining at facilities arranged by their clubs.

Raphinha has taken up residence in accommodation close to Thorp Arch, where he will quarantine for ten days except to depart for training and matches.

As such, the Brazilian is available for selection for the Whites’ Premier League clash against Wolves this weekend and will be free to leave for World Cup Qualifiers against Colombia and Argentina in November without restricting his availability for Leeds.

Raphinha. Pic: Buda Mendes.

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Raphinha takes instructions from Leeds United head coach Marcelo Bielsa. Pic: Laurence Griffiths.