'I felt devalued' - Raphinha on sour Rennes departure, valuation and Leeds United reception

The welcome Raphinha received at Leeds United helped him overcome the feeling of being devalued that soured his departure from Rennes.

By Graham Smyth
Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 4:40 pm
Updated Tuesday, 8th December 2020, 4:44 pm
BARGAIN BUY - Leeds United captured Raphinha from Rennes on deadline day for a fee in the region of £17m and the welcome he received helped him overcome the feelings that soured his exit from the French club. Pic: Getty
BARGAIN BUY - Leeds United captured Raphinha from Rennes on deadline day for a fee in the region of £17m and the welcome he received helped him overcome the feelings that soured his exit from the French club. Pic: Getty

A deadline-day arrival at Elland Road, the Brazilian winger cost the Premier League side less than the Ligue 1 club paid for him a year previously.

Leeds’ interest emerged late in the window, two days before the deadline and a day prior to Rennes’ fixture against Stade Reims, in which he scored.

“I arrived here on a Monday, and found out about the proposal on Saturday,” he told EPSN.com.br, admitting he had been unsettled by Rennes’ willingness to sell him.

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“I was focused on playing [in the] Champions League at Rennes, but, knowing that, out of the blue, they accepted an offer from Leeds, for an even lower price than the purchase, made me feel devalued.

“I played on Sunday and, after the match, they put the responsibility on me, on the exit. Until Saturday, at noon, I was focused on the game. The transfer window was closed, I knew that nothing more would happen. And I was told that Rennes would only sell me for an offer of 60 million euros, but they sold me for 15 million. I felt devalued.”

At Leeds, however, Raphinha was greeted by a director of football who had tracked him since 2016, in Victor Orta, and a head coach who has waxed lyrical about his attributes, in Marcelo Bielsa. The Whites head coach expressed gratitude to Orta for bringing a player of such ability to Leeds and has incorporated him quickly into his Premier League line-up.

“I was treated very well (at Leeds), I felt the same affection that I felt at Rennes, I felt that they wanted me here,” said the winger.

“It was very rewarding. Today I’m happy at Leeds, they showed me the club’s project, I liked it, I’m an athlete that I always want to win, I was very happy with that.”

The fans, although still absent from Elland Road through Covid-19 restrictions and yet to give Raphinha a proper Yorkshire welcome in the flesh, have played a part in his settling in process too.

“Football is kind of boring without fans, but it’s a necessary evil,” said Raphinha.

“Whenever we are leaving the stadium, some fans say goodbye to us on the streets. We are instructed not to stop and take pictures, to avoid contamination.

“But I get a lot of affection messages on Instagram, it’s really impressive.”