Raphinha to miss United game
The hope that Raphinha could return for Leeds United has slimmed to near-zero this week despite consistent hope from coach Marcelo Bielsa that he might recover.
Bielsa said on the 15th April that the club would see how the injury progresses before making any decisions.
“Raphinha is recovering from a knock that he picked up in the game against City. His evolution we will see in the next couple of days,” said the Leeds boss.
Earlier this week it was hoped he might recover in time.
“He is in the process of recovery,” said Bielsa. “We will have to continue evaluating him on a daily basis.”
However, in Friday’s press conference the Argentine confirmed the winger hadn’t trained.
“With Raphinha we are controlling his evolution on a daily basis and up until now he hasn’t recovered sufficiently to be able to train again,” Bielsa said. “Rodrigo is in the last stages of his recovery but not well enough to feature this weekend.”
The loss of Rodrigo is also a big blow to the Elland Road side’s front line.
Bruno’s Raphinha obsession
Manchester United’s talismanic figure Bruno Fernandes has been speaking about his admiration for his former Sporting teammate Raphinha so persistently that his teammates have now revealed to the media how much he adores him.
Brazilian Fred told the Man United website how much the winger is talked about by the midfielder.
“Bruno’s been talking about Raphinha ever since he arrived. They played together at Sporting,” Fred said to Man United’s website.
LISBON, PORTUGAL – APRIL 27: Bruno Fernandes of Sporting CP reaction after missing a goal opportunity during the Liga NOS match between Sporting CP and Vitoria SC at Estadio Jose Alvalade on April 27, 2019 in Lisbon, Portugal. (Photo by Gualter Fatia/Getty Images)
“He’s a great player having an amazing season and a lot of clubs have their eye on him. I met him recently, great guy, excellent player but… I hope he won’t be lining up against us! [laughs]
“I wish him a quick recovery and a lot of success in his career. He’s a stand-out star player for Leeds so, of course, it’s better for us if he’s not on the pitch.
“If he does play, we’ll look to mark him carefully and work on our game-plan as best as possible. We’ll try to nullify his threat to come out on top in this game.”
United have been credited with interest in the Brazilian as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer continues his search for wide options.
The club engaged in a protracted pursuit of Jadon Sancho last summer but ultimately didn’t pay the asking price. Raphinha could present as a much more attainable option.