Raphinha is enjoying an excellent spell of form since the injury of Ousmane Dembélé and helped the Catalan giants further extend their advantage over arch-rival Real Madrid atop the league table during the absence of Frenchman, becoming the second top Barcelona goalscorer so far this season.
Since the start of 2023, Raphinha has already scored four goals and provided two assists, taking his tally to a total of nine goals and nine assists for the season. His performances have been standout, compared to his Brazilian counterparts at Real Madrid, Vinícius Júnior and Rodrygo Goes, who have struggled to make a similar impact.
Vinícius Júnior has seen his form dip this year. Indeed his pace and flair is a crucial asset in the success of Ancelotti’s team as he is the main threat creator of Los Blancos, however, more opponents – just like Barcelona – figured out a way to neutralize him and shut down that strong left-sided attack of Madrid. Thus, losing his impact, he only registered two goals and one assist since the beginning of 2023.
Meanwhile, Rodrygo Goes is yet to secure a place in Carlo Ancelotti’s starting eleven. The youngster, although showing promising signs from time to time – just like he did so infamously in last year’s Champions League dream run – couldn’t keep up his good performances consistently, as the right-wing problem remains open at Real, whether Rodrygo, Asensio or Valverde gets the chance to play there.
Moreover, Rodrygo doesn’t necessarily thrive in what Vinícius does on the opposite side. Contrarily, he can unleash his best when playing as an inside forward, free to roam around the center of the pitch and get into good scoring positions with his predatory movement (he has the second most amount of expected goals only behind Karim Benzema). But, the lack of a competent right-back doesn’t help him flourish either, and he is yet to score in 2023 and only provided one assist.
On the other hand, Raphinha’s performances for Barcelona have been crucial in their recent success. The club is currently leading La Liga title race, and much of their success is attributed to Raphinha’s form on the field. The Brazilian forward, who has a great understanding of the game with clever movement and an exquisite vision to the final pass, has been a vital, often match-deciding asset to the team, and his form continues to improve with each game.
The Brazilian winger has established himself as a key player for La Blaugrana, and his contributions on the field will be essential in the club’s quest for domestic silverware this season.
Indeed Ousmane Dembélé is close to returning soon to the field, and even though their stylistic differences can still put the Frenchman ahead in the pecking order, the Brazilian truly stepped up to the task and can challenge for the starting spot in the future.