Barcelona attacker Raphinha has praised former boss Marcelo Bielsa and admitted that if it wasn’t for the legendary Argentine manager, then he wouldn’t be the player he is today. The attacker thrived at Leeds United, contributing to 29 goals in 67 appearances over the course of two seasons.
Following Leeds United’s promotion at the end of the 2019/20 season, it saw expectations rise for the Peacocks’ first season back in the Premier League. That combined with the arrival of more than a few big names including Raphinha and Rodrigo saw the Peacocks thrive in the top tier, with manager Marcelo Bielsa’s tactics wowing England. However, the club struggled in their second season back as Bielsa was sacked by February although Raphinha and a few others combined to save the club.
But that saw the 25-year-old opt to leave Elland Road, especially with Barcelona overly keen on signing him, with the Camp Nou side eventually shelling out €65 million to sign him. Yet despite the move, Raphinha praised Bielsa and admitted that if it wasn’t for the Argentine’s ways and tactics, then he wouldn’t be the player he is today. Not only that, the Brazilian also refuted comparisons between Xavi and Bielsa, and revealed that both managers are different.
"He (Marcelo Bielsa) is a coach who helped me a lot from the first moment I arrived at Leeds. He always demands more, always demands maximum performance. He helped me get to the national team and helped me get to Barça. If it wasn't for his teachings, as a group or individually, I probably wouldn't be here," Raphinha told Mundo Deportivo.
"In addition to having a style of play that is always respectful of the ball, he seeks maximum performance in training and in games, he was an important person for me and for my career, I will always carry him with me."
"They (Xavi and Bielsa) are different, Marcelo has a unique way of working. It's the 'Marcelo Bielsa style', let's call it that. Every technician is different. Just as each person has a way of leading his life, each player and each coach is different in their work,” he added.