Patrick Bamford has told Leeds United’s official podcast that summer signing Raphinha reminds him of Argentina and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Angel Di Maria given the physical and technical similarities between the two players – but does Raphinha have the potential to go one better?
Raphinha, 24, has starred since joining Leeds. Clocking up 12 appearances in the Premier League, the Brazilian winger has looked to be worth every penny of the £17million Leeds paid – scoring two goals and creating two more. He boasts enormous speed, trickery and work rate and certainly is impressing not just Leeds fans on social media.
The longer he spends under the guidance of Marcelo Bielsa is only going to see the winger improve. But to what level could he achieve in his career? Di Maria, a 104-time Argentina international, is now 32 years of age – eight years older than Raphinha. He still remains one of PSG’s best players, despite operating in the shadow of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.
Despite his ill-fated stint at Manchester United, Di Maria has stats that anyone would be proud of. Playing 239 times for PSG, Di Maria has scored 86 goals and created an astonishing 101 assists. Raphinha has time on his side, but is some way short of those figures – however, Bamford compared the Leeds star to Di Maria.
“The closest similarity to him is he is very much like Di Maria,” Bamford said. “I mean, I’ve never trained or played with Di Maria, but watching him and watching the way Rapha moves, left-footed, they are really slim, the fact he can run all day, he’s fast.”
Can Raphinha become as good as Di Maria? He has an enormous amount of work to do and his end product must become near-perfect. Even though his United spell is labelled as failure, he still managed to score four goals and lay on 12 assists in 32 games – which was not good enough in the eyes of Manchester United supporters.
But with eight years on his side, Raphinha certainly has the potential to be able to match the levels of Di Maria. If he continues to shine at Leeds, there is certainly going to be interest in his signature but what Leeds have done well is bought him for a relatively small fee – giving them enormous scope in terms of resale value. Raphinha can certainly be the next Di Maria.