To his close ones, he is known as Márcio Rafael Ferreira de Souza, but to us & rest of the world, he is better known as Rafinha
Rafinha is the new right back we welcome this summer to our club. He is our 1st finalized signing of what promises to be a busy week ahead of negotiations and signings. Neuer being another essential component it.
What do Rafinha & Neuer share in common? Schalke 04, where they together played last in 2009/2010.
Rafinha was born in Londrina 25 years ago. Like all his Brazilian fellows, his talent emerged very early, earning him a move to Coritiba where he made his debut at the age of 16 & becoming part of the Brazil U20 national team who earned 3rd spot at the 2005 U20 World Championship in Netherlands.
Schalke didn’t take long to recognize his skills & signed him in 2005 for 5M Euros. He became quickly a well established starter running & working hard at every game. All seemed to go well until 2008 when Rafinha was called to join the Brazil Olympic team, but Schalke refused to release him until very late & after endless talks. This left a bitter taste in the club-player relationship. All until the summer of 2010 when Rafinha expressed his desire to leave the club and join FC Bayern so to enhance his experience at international level with a top club.
Unfortunately for us, our previous manager at that time, Mr van Gaal, had decided that our squad was self-sufficient & no new signings were needed. Meanwhile, the Rafinha-Schalke cohabitation was becoming impossible & the Koenigsblauen wanted to transfer him away. But not at any condition. The acquiring club would have to be from outside Germany so not re-inforce any Bundesliga opposition. So after 153 leagues games & 7 goals, Rafinha packed his bags & moved to CFC Genoa for a 4-year contract & played in all 38 games of his 1st season. However, he knew his heart belonged to Germany.
In the meantime, FC Bayern knew a dismal season in the defensive sector. The problem of a proper left-back coverage has been haunting us for 2 years, with at least half-a-dozen players fulfilling that role unsuccessfully for various reasons. Rumours of potential signings emerged from every where. But van der Wiel from Ajax has never convinced our staff, while Benfica’s Coentrao, valued at 25M Euros, has set his targets on moving to Real Madrid.
With Rafinha sending a “come-and-get-me plea”, it didn’t take much to our management to evaluate the unmet need & offer 5.5M Euros to Genoa for the acquisition of his services.
“But hang on,” some will say, “Rafinha is a right-back! And we’re a talking about our issue at left-back” True. But the equation is simple: Rafinha will play on the right side, which means our captain Philipp Lahm switches back to his old beloved left-side where he had a blind understanding with Ribery. Also Rafinha is 1.72m long, i.e. same mold as Lahm, same style; quick & dangerous on the wings. 1+1=2 . Problem solved.
Rafinha is expected to clear medical fitness tomorrow, at which point he will be confirmed officially as our 2nd transfer after Nils Petersen.. The week should also see announcements and news about Neuer & Boateng
May all the pieces of the puzzle be complete so to be back where we belong: At the top!