Very little used since the enthronement of Mauricio Pochettino at PSG, Rafinha continues to patiently endure problems with regular heating of the Parisian bench. But the Brazilian midfielder could wait a long time whose profile the former Tottenham coach would never favor.
He is definitely one of the big losers of Pochettin’s arrival in Paris Saint-Germain. Moved from FC Barcelona in the final hours of last summer’s transfer window, Rafael Alcantara, Rafinha said, managed to find his place in the Paris workforce then coached by Thomas Tuchel. Since his overthrow and the introduction of the Argentine coach, things have changed a lot for the São Paulo-born. His return from the winter break was first disrupted by a positive test for Covid-19 and the seven days of isolation that followed. After returning to the group on the 21st day of Ligue 1 and winning against Montpellier (4: 0), he experienced another failure with a muscle injury during the Coupe de France match against Caen (1: 0).
But even when he was available, his new coach rarely called him. With just 55 minutes of play in his five group appearances, Rafinha is one of Pochettino’s least used players. He is also the only field player who has not had a mandate from his coach, except for youngsters from the training center such as Simons or Pembélé.
Doubts that date and last
According to the daily Le Parisien, the Argentine would have real doubts about Rafinha’s abilities, for several years now. Even when he coached Tottenham, Pochettino saw him as incapable of confirmation at the highest level, as evidenced by his inability to win at Barca. It is true that, apart from being on loan at Celta Vigo twice during the 2013-2014 season and last year, the Brazilian, despite his undeniable technical qualities, very rarely started the season in the shoes of the holder and never positioned himself as one of the undisputed members of the team. .
Asked several times about his midfielder’s situation at a press conference, the Parisian coach often replied smoothly: ” All decisions are sporting. In Rafa’s case, when we arrived, he was influenced by Covid. We have a large workforce and we make decisions. Not everyone can play, but it’s important to be prepared. We know that at some point there will be an opportunity. »
Still, Rafinha could prove very useful in a team that lacks creativity and imagination in the midfield when Marco Verratti is not on the field. Currently, Pochettino prefers to give Julian Draxler a chance, but the team’s recent difficulties in creating the game, especially in the league, could allow Rafinha to show a little more and try to shake the hierarchy, despite real distrust of his coach towards him.