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FC Barcelona Legend Rivaldo Criticizes Underperforming Raphinha

In comments carried by SPORT, FC Barcelona legend Rivaldo criticized compatriot Raphinha and highlighted which areas of the pitch the Catalans need to make reinforcements in to return to winning ways.

Bought from Leeds United for a $70 million (£55 million) fee according to Sky Sports, Raphinha has achieved double figures in goals and assists in his maiden two seasons yet many remain unconvinced by his displays while he could also be sold this summer as Barca attempts to balance the books.

“We expected more from Raphinha at Barcelona,” Rivaldo noted.

“Everyone knows he’s a great player of great quality. He’s got a lot of [good] football. As for his departure, it’s a complicated moment. It’s all up to him. If you stay at Barca, it’s to be a starter.

“Because if you don’t manage to get a lot of games together, people doubt your ability and then all this starts: rumours about your possible departure,” the former Ballon d’Or winner added.

Providing that Raphinha isn’t offloaded, however, Rivaldo backs the winger to “establish himself with good games”.

“With [Hansi] Flick, who thinks differently than Xavi, things could go better for him. He’s a new boss with a new job to do.”

Though finances are an issue, Rivaldo believes that Barca must sign two defenders and a striker to become “strong” again.

“I believe that with the signing of three renowned and quality players, the team will be able to find its place on the pitch for next season. I know that the club’s situation today is not the best, but president [Joan] Laporta, Deco and Flick will manage the situation well to be responsible with the club’s finances,” the World Cup winner predicted.

“It’s not just about having a coach with a tactical system that is already well established. To be able to fight for titles such as the Champions League, La Liga and even the Cup, Barça need reinforcements.”

Despite saying that Barca needs a new striker, Rivaldo tips Vitor Roque for great things if, like Raphinha, he is allowed to play.

“Vitor Roque has everything a player needs to show his football in Europe. These types of coaching changes can give the player extra motivation. Now is the time for Vitor Roque to stay at Barca and have a good season with the team,” Rivaldo said.

“Whenever the coach changes, new opportunities appear. Now Flick’s arrival must be positive for him, because sometimes that new coach likes a certain profile more than another and that makes him bet more on you. And that’s where absolutely everything can change,” Rivaldo concluded.

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