Barcelona forward Raphinha is currently preparing for World Cup 2022 with Brazil but has opened up on life at the Camp Nou and has admitted he has been surprised by one of his new team-mates in particular.
Raphinha told Globo Esporte that striker Robert Lewandowski has surpassed his expectations and admits he’s been blown away by just how impressive the Poland international is in all aspects of his game.
“I will tell you the truth”.
As a guy who is already older [Lewandowski is 34 years old], I expected less from him,” he said. “But, he got here and every training session he does is amazing, for him he’s never good, he’s always giving his best, runs a lot, helps with marking, moves well in the area, has headers, finishes with both feet, it’s an amazing thing.”
Lewandowski has taken La Liga by storm since arriving from Bayern Munich in the summer. The striker is the top scorer in the Spanish top flight with 13 goals from 14 games to help fire Barca into first place heading into the World Cup.
Raphinha Inspired By Lewandowski
The Brazilian also admitted that working with Lewandowski at Barcelona has been an inspirational experience for him following his big-money move from Leeds United in the summer.
He added, “ You see yourself at 25, working a lot, you think you’re at your best, and you see the guy at 34 looking for his best every day, so that’s amazing. Very inspiring the way he works.”
Yet Raphinha has found adapting to Barca lightly trickier. The former Leeds United man has openly admitted he has found it difficult to adapt and has told Xavi he is not happy playing on the left of the attack.
However, there have been positive signs in the run-up tp the World Cup. Raphinha picked up three assists in his last four games and also came off the bench to score a brilliant late winner against Osasuna last time out.
Barcelona have had a mixed start to the season, topping La Liga but going out of the Champions League in the group stages, and Raphinha also shared his thoughts on how he sees the campaign going.
“I knew that the club was going through a difficult time, of changes, so I knew that the first one was going to be complicated year,”
he added. “But I believe we are doing a great job. We didn’t qualify in the Champions League, but we are doing a great championship in La Liga, we have the Europa League… we are going through a complicated period at the club that only depends on us to change that.”
The Catalans will not return to action until after the World Cup but will get back to work still top of the table by two points from defending champions Real Madrid. Xavi’s side have won 12 of 14 league games and will be optimistic they can land the title this season.
Meanhwile, Barca’s Champions League dreams may be over for another season but there is still a chance of European silverware in the Europa League. The Catalans will take on Manchester United in February for a place in the last 16 of the competition.