Raphinha makes Leeds United declaration as winger discusses his Liverpool and Manchester United mates
RAPHINHA might have good pals at Manchester United and Liverpool - but the Whites winger says he is loving life at Leeds United and insists he has had zero thoughts about leaving.
Leeds signed Brazilian winger Raphinha for a snip at £17m from Rennes last year and the 24-year-old has dazzled upon his first season in the Premier League.
Raphinha has weighed in with six goals plus nine assists and speaking in an interview with UOL Esporte, the winger opened up on talk of reported interest from Liverpool and Manchester United.
The Brazilian has good friends within both camps but says he is thrilled to be excelling with Leeds and has had absolutely no thoughts about departing.
The Whites signed former Rennes, Sporting Lisbon and Vitoria Guimarães winger Raphinha on a four-year-deal from Rennes last October.
"It is difficult to define how I feel when I hear speculation about giant teams like Liverpool and Manchester United interested in signing me," said Raphinha.
"I grew up watching these teams on television.
"I saw Rooney, Van Nistelrooy, Cristiano Ronaldo, but I also saw Gerrard, as well as others like Henry, Deco, Lampard.
"There are many players of such quality that it is difficult to say if I have mirrored one of them.
"I think I mirrored the championship, you know?
"I loved watching and dreamed of playing here.
"And today I'm making people happy with my football.
"I am not only talking about the other clubs, but also Leeds, who was the one who bet on me.
"They are all very happy, including the fans who seem to have a great affection for me.
"I have a contract for another four years and I don't even think about leaving here exactly because of that: I'm happy and making others happy."
Opening up on his connections within both the Manchester United and Liverpool camps, Raphinha said: "It's funny that I have friends in both clubs.
"Bruno Fernandes played with me for a year that seemed like many more at Sporting.
"He became almost an older brother. We talk every day, but no football, just our antics.
"Even from a distance, it helps me a lot.
"At Manchester United there's Alex Telles and Fred, who's from the south too.
"But in Liverpool there is Alisson who is from the south too, so everything stays the same. There is still Fabinho, who is from the same as Firmino and I.
"In fact, did you know that Firmino was the first guy who texted me when I came here? He's a great friend."
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Thank you Laura Collins