Raphinha has admitted that watching Ronaldinho star for Barcelona in the 2000s made him want to emulate his ideal in playing for the Blaugrana.
The winger completed his move to Camp Nou on Friday, turning down the advances of Chelsea in order to seal a move from Leeds United to Catalonia. Arsenal were also interested in his signature.
Speaking at his unveiling ceremony, Raphinha revealed that his love of Ronaldinho certainly had an influence on where he wanted to go after leaving Elland Road.
“I started watching Barça when Ronaldinho came here. Everything that he achieved here definitely influenced my decision to come. I always wanted to come here,” Raphinha said.
“I was always hoping that one day I would be able to realise my dream since I was a kid, to form part of a team like Barça. We all have our different ways of playing of course so I’m very different [from Ronaldinho].”
Ronaldinho joined Barcelona from PSG in the summer of 2003 after club president Joan Laporta – then in his first spell in charge – promised to deliver a marquee signing, with David Beckham and Thierry Henry also considered by the Bluagrana.
The Brazilian legend won two La Liga titles and the club’s second ever Champions League with Barcelona, while he also claimed the 2005 Ballon d’Or.