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World Cup: Raphinha anxious but wants to win for fans

Brazil’s Barcelona winger Raphinha said the World Cup is a good moment to bring out the feeling of togetherness in the Brazilian people again as he recalled his country winning the 2002 title.

Raphinha, who made his Brazil debut in October 2021, will be appearing in his first World Cup at Qatar.

“I’m ready for the World Cup and I’m working hard to get there as good as I possibly can, both physically and mentally,” Raphinha said in an interview published by Barca on Monday.

“The atmosphere is that of a winning national team, ambitious and wanting to win the title. There’s a good vibe amongst the whole team,”

“I don’t see it as pressure, a team like Brazil is always a contender for the World Cup or any other title that they play for. The demand of the fans is normal because we are a high-quality team, with big names,”

Raphinha joined Barcelona in July from Premier League side Leeds United to follow in the footsteps of Brazilian greats such as Romario, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Neymar at the Nou Camp.

“It is normal that the fans are anxious for Brazil to win the sixth World Cup, and so are we,” the 25-year-old said as he remembered their 2-0 win over Germany in the final in Japan 20 years ago thanks to two goals from Ronaldo.

“I don’t remember too much about the 2002 World Cup because I was very young. (But) it was an incredible and indescribable feeling. All the Brazilian people hugged and were united. Now it’s a good moment for it to bring us all together again,”

Raphinha, who has 11 caps and has five international goals including three in World Cup qualifiers, is hopeful of repeating Brazil’s 2002 triumph, their record fifth world title.

“I promise that if we win the World Cup, I will do the same as I did when we managed to keep Leeds in the Premier League last season when I walked across the pitch on my knees,” he said.

Brazil kick off their World Cup campaign on Nov. 24 against Serbia followed by Group G games with Switzerland and Cameroon.

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