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Ex-Leeds United defender Tony Dorigo has drawn parallels between Whites winger Raphinha and Brazilian legend Cafu.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 7:56 am

Dorigo was part of the England team who took on Brazil in the round-robin US Cup and Cafu, who had just turned 23, replaced Nonato after five minutes.

The game ended 1-1, Marcio Santos cancelling out David Platt’s first-half goal, and Dorigo recalls discovering that Brazil were not just a team of skill. Their ability to keep working at a high intensity was personified by Cafu, who went on to become the country’s most capped player. It’s a trait Dorigo now admires in Raphinha, who joined up with Tite’s Brazil squad this week for the first time and could be in line for a first cap against Venezuela on Friday.

“I played against Brazil twice and what I found out was how hard they work and how strong they are,” Dorigo told the YEP.

“They’re such a tough side to play against. I was up against Cafu and that was an interesting game to play in.

“Up and down for 90 minutes and my feet were covered in blisters.

“I realised Brazil isn’t all about flair, they can work and run as well and I suppose that epitomises Raphinha as well. His work rate is tremendous and wow, he can play.”

If Raphinha plays in any of his country’s three October World Cup Qualifiers he will become only the second Brazilian international to represent Leeds United.

That, along with the host of senior internationals in Marcelo Bielsa’s current squad, particularly those who have been capped for some of Europe’s footballing giants, are things Dorigo believes should be celebrated by Whites. “It’s absolutely wonderful,” he said.

“You have to check yourself and understand the players Leeds have now got and the countries they represent. We’re talking about the big boys here, not minnows, it’s Germany, Spain and now Brazil. It’s incredible.

“For Raphinha it’s absolutely wonderful. Everyone has enjoyed his incredible ability at Leeds and now he’s in the Brazilian side.”

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