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Leeds United winger Raphinha was asked to reproduce his Elland Road form ahead of a stunning debut for Brazil.

Saturday, 9th October 2021, 7:42 am

The 24-year-old wide-man enjoyed a stellar showing in the early hours of Friday, stepping off the bench to produce three goal involvements in his delayed first appearance at international level.

Raphinha transformed the Seleção's fortunes against Venezuela in a World Cup qualifier in Caracas, providing the injection the visitors needed to keep their nine-game winning streak intact.

The Whites man was called into action by head coach Tite at half-time with Brazil trailing 1-0, having fallen behind for the first time in their bid to make Qatar 2022.

Raphinha made an instant impact from the bench, taking the corner that led to Marquinhos' equaliser before getting into the box to shoot low leading to Gabriel Barbosa's penalty strike which came five minutes from the end.

In added time, the United winger delivered from the right for Ajax's Antony to finish from close-range and round out an impressive display in style.

"Tite asked me to do what I did with Leeds," said Raphinha, referring to Brazil's coach.

"I don't think I let him, nor my team-mates, nor the Brazil fans down.

"I was really anxious to make my debut and after I wasn't allowed to come the first time I got even more anxious to be here and wear a Brazil shirt. So I think that I gave my best and it was good for me individually and to help my team-mates on the pitch.

“This means a lot of things to me. I think assists are worth the same as goals. As a wide player I like goals, of course, but when I set up chances for team-mates to score goals I am happy.

"It’s like scoring a goal for me. So I am happy not just to set up goals but for the way I played and what I was able to do on the field as well as for the win that maintained our invincibility.”

Brazil now face qualifiers against Colombia [October 10] and Uruguay [October 15] ahead of Raphinha's return to England.

The Leeds forward, though, has provided a selection dilemma for his manager with star player Neymar back available following suspension against Venezuela.

“I think it is a good doubt for him [Tite],” he said. “It’s up to him to decide now whether I play or not.”

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