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Liga Santander: The light at the end of the Rafinha Alcántara tunnel: the fear of being injured, the pressure of permanence and the end of his contract with Barcelona | LaLiga Santander 2019

Gabby Barker

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The Alcantara children they haggle, stick, cry and laugh with the ball in a Ballads empty. They will be less than ten years old and wait for Mazinho, captain of Celtic, take them back home.

That image of late 90s sums up why for the Alcantara Vigo is 'home'. The oldest, Thiago, was born in Italy and the little one, Rafinha, in Brazil for the little tours of the world that his father gave, but it was in Galicia where they took root There he played four years, played 138 games and discovered the first memories of his children, who grew up, personally and football, in the Rías Baixas.

Al Celta, who in the late 90's did not have a large quarry, both escaped. Mazinho tells that he tried to put them in the club but that the templates were complete. They played in Ureca, a team from the municipality of Nigrán, and although Rafinha came to play a tournament with them, they did not step on A Madroa dressed in light blue. Of course, every two Sundays they were like a clock in Balaidos. A couple of years later on Barcelona He took them to La Masía and Vigo became a morriña.

Nai e Celtista, I come home“In summer 2013, Rafinha, with 20 years and having played a couple of official matches with Barça, arrived at Celta de Luis Enrique for his first experience in the elite. It was unbeatable: elected Player Revelation of La Liga and fulfilled his “childhood dream”. “This beautiful celestial with whom I have grown as a person and as a footballer,” he wrote in his farewell with a “see you soon” that at that time sounded unreal. Rafinha was a budding world star.

Luis Enrique signed for Barça and the Brazilian set a good preseason. He ended up playing 36 games that year and getting a place in the rotation of a team that won the League, the Cup and the Champions League. He started 15-16 as a starter in the European Super Cup and in the first match of the group stage of the Champions League came the beginning of his ordeal: an entry from the midfielder of Rome Nainggolan he produced a broken right leg crusader. Six months off. He was 22 years old, and eight days earlier he had scored his first goal with the Brazilian national team.

He returned in May 2016. It was his turn to start over. In the following season he managed to recover the role and played 28 games, until the meniscus was injured in March 2017. 258 days out. He returned in January 2018. Midway through a club that fought for everything and could not afford the time it took to get in rhythm. It was ceded to Inter de Milan, where it was indisputable in the second half of Series A and regained sensations, although not enough for the Italian club to execute the demanding purchase option on it. Sano, he was willing to win a position on Ernesto Valverde's squad, but it also couldn't be: in November of that year, in the Wanda Metropolitano, broke the crusader of the left knee. Start again.

Because of its two crusaders and its meniscus, the second coming of Rafinha Alcantara to Vigo has been very different from the first. This is a kind of resurrection.. He has returned to 'home' seven years older, with scars on both legs, with the aura of future lost star and with the need to recover everything. A case similar to that of Iago Aspas: 'home' as a solution to all problems. He acknowledges that there was “a question of adaptation” during the first weeks in the club, but that adaptation, they count in the environment, is not only summarized in his arrival, but in his physical and mental level. In fear, logical and human, the most feared injury by a soccer player and the genetics of the knees of the Alcantara, who withdrew his father and has also been angry with his brother.

Rafinha and the doctors take care of every detail, every gesture and every nuisance. So if the staff trains in double session he does the second part in the gym. And that's why he has had to wait until January, many games and sensations later, to offer his best level of the season. A moment that has coincided, and not by chance, with the best face of the Celtic that is presented today in the foci of the Bernabeu.

Oscar Garcia It highlights his involvement, both in the game and in a locker room that has had to strive to lose the fear of descent. Something vital, perhaps, in the future of Rafinha, which ends contract with Barça in 2021 and will leave the Catalan club this summer. The price: 17 million that the Celtic, if saved, could be willing to assume. He lets himself be loved between the lines: “I have to give my maximum here.” His mother also lives in Vigo, Mazinho, who has already become a “father of”, approaches, has his childhood friends and lives in a central apartment, relieved since the famous ferris wheel placed by Abel Caballero He stopped generating noise at the doors of his house. “Finally,” he published the day he was removed.

We'll see if next Christmas he catches her blue.

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Gabby is someone who is interested in all types of sports, she loves to attend watching matches live. Whenever there is a match being played in her city, she makes sure to get the tickets in advance. Due to the love for sports, she joined Sportsfinding, and started writing general sports news. Apart from writing the news, she is also the editor for the website who checks and edits every news content before they go live.

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