Thiago Silva lavishes praise on Brazil team-mate Raphinha as Leeds United man impresses for Seleção
Brazil team-mate Thiago Silva has been impressed by Leeds United winger Raphinha's quick adaptation to international football.
The 24-year-old Whites wide man was initially called up into his nation's senior squad in September but was unable to attend amid Covid restrictions in England.
He has, though, made the trip to South America this month and marked his Seleção debut with an impressive display against Venezuela in Caracas last week.
Raphinha stepped off the bench to make an instant impact in the 3-1 victory, setting up two goals and playing a role in the winning of a penalty to help his country turn the game on its head in the second half.
He was again selected on the bench in Sunday's 0-0 draw with Colombia, though for a second successive game was the star of the show when called upon by head coach Tite.
Raphinha created numerous chances for Brazil in the final third - impressing both supporters and pundits once more - on what was a frustrating evening in Barranquilla.
He did, however, boast the most memorable move of the night on the right flank, leaving opposing defender Johan Mojica in a heap on the floor with his quick feet and thinking.
“If we had managed to win, we would be talking more about them,” Silva said of Brazil's latest newcomers Raphinha and Ajax forward Antony.
“The [two] boys showed a quality that I have hardly seen in more than ten years with the Brazilian national team [of newcomers]. It’s really cool to see Raphinha and Antony showing personality.
"In terms of rapport [with the rest of the team], it’s a little lacking, but the individual [performance] is at a high level.”
Silva earned his 100th cap for his nation against Colombia, a result that saw Brazil fail to win for the first time in World Cup qualifying on the tenth outing of the campaign.
"It was a very balanced game. If there was a winner, it would definitely be our team," the Chelsea defender added.
"There was a bit of tranquility, especially in the last third of the field, sometimes we didn't make the best decision possible.
"Today it was very hot, it isn't an excuse, but it influences [the game]. Overall, I believe we played a good game. Could we do more? Yes. But if there was to be a winner, I believe it would be us, for all our volume of play."
Brazil finish off their international triple-header of action for October against Uruguay in the early hours of Friday morning.
The Seleção's tally of 28 points from 10 games so far would have been enough to qualify for all World Cups since 2002.
They are yet to confirm their place at Qatar next year, though, sitting six points ahead of second-placed Argentina with seven fixtures remaining.
Ecuador are third on 16 points, just ahead of Uruguay based on the number of victories, with Colombia in fifth place with a tally of 15 points.
The top four teams in South America earn direct entry to the World Cup while the fifth-place team can still qualify via an inter-continental play-off.
Raphinha faces a race against time to return to on-pitch action for the Whites this coming Saturday at Southampton.
Leeds believe he will be available to head coach Marcelo Bielsa for selection though there will only be 36 hours between Brazil's fixture and kick-off at St Mary's on the south coast.
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