Pep Guardiola’s assessment of Raphinha highlights why he must stay at Leeds United

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Pep Guardiola's assessment of Raphinha highlights why he must stay at Leeds United


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Five minutes before Stuart Dallas’ unforgettable winner at Manchester City, there was a warning sign of what was to come from a more familiar source.
Given that Raphinha has one less goal than Dallas, more familiar can be a stretch, but it is understandable why you would expect the Brazilian to rattle Ederson’s nerves more than the match winner.

In the 86th minute, it was this thrilling sight of Raphinha stepping forward for a one-on-one chance that first showed Pep Guardiola what Leeds United could still serve.

In so many games this season, it is the former Rennes player who has seemed the most dangerous outlet for the Bielsa team, both as a scorer and as a creator.

In the first half, it was Raphinha who provided two of the team’s most dangerous passes with those balls in the right channel for Tyler Roberts to lock in behind City’s backline.

After the break, with City dominating and United playing on the break, Raphinha, of course, seemed the biggest threat with his running and dribbling.

Guardiola was asked after the game what he had done with an asset related to a crowd of the richest clubs in the elite.

“Of course he’s a weapon, an exceptional player with good rhythm,” he said. “All the players under Marcelo are improving. He played a good game.

Raphinha has more than three years to run with his contract at Leeds. He is as happy in West Yorkshire as the club and the fans are to have him in place.

There is little risk, barring a mega-offer, that anything will change his status this summer, but Guardiola’s comments still underscore the benefits for all players of staying under his wing.

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