Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has emerged as the main reason for Raphinha’s move to the Spanish giants.

The former Leeds man was confirmed as the Catalan side’s latest addition on Wednesday after the two clubs agreed on a £56million fee with personal terms settled long ago.

Now, via The Guardian, it has been revealed that a certain close family friend was the inspiration behind the Brazilian’s desire to move to the five-time Champions League winners.

With Chelsea and several other clubs interested in the forward, it seemed Raphinha’s heart was always set on a move to Spain.

And it’s clear why.

When Raphinha was a child, his father, Rafael, was reportedly part of a band named Samba Tri in Porto Alegre in Brazil.

Ronaldinho was idolised in the town after making his way through the youth ranks at Gremio and moving to PSG in 2001 at just 21-years-old.

He was was a friend of Rafael’s and the two bonded over their love for music and football.

Sambri Tri would reportedly often accompany Ronaldinho on his birthday, playing music to celebrate annually.

And as soon as the former Ballon D’Or winner signed for Barcelona in 2003, Rafael is said to have known that he wanted the same for his son.

Raphinha began accompanying his dad to barbecues at Ronaldinho’s house in Porto Alegre during the off-season, and formed a strong bond with his father’s friend.

The midfielder made Barcelona shirts for the neighbourhood, and the whole town began following their idol’s new side.

It is suggested that Ronaldinho was not only a role model for Raphinha, but ‘the coolest uncle imaginable.’

Ronaldinho was the headline signing of Joan Laporta’s first stint as Barcelona president. Raphinha may well be that of his second.

It seems to have always been Raphinha’s destiny to play for Barcelona.

From reportedly being introduced to the club by his legendary uncle to signing on the dotted line at the Nou Camp two decades later – it’s been quite some journey.

And it could be just getting started.


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