FC Arouca could match their best-ever season in Portuguese football and have the potential to qualify for Europe for only the second time – with the help of Rafa Mujica, who left Leeds United in 2021 after two years at Elland Road.
Back in the summer of 2019, Leeds were renowned for bringing in young talent from Spain – especially, with Victor Orta at the wheel. Mujica was one of a number of names to chance his arm in England, joining from Barcelona.
But he never made it work. Four loan spells came about in those two years, to Spanish sides like Extremadura – who are now extinct – Villarreal’s B-team, Real Oviedo and Las Palmas. He never made his senior debut for the Whites.
After his loan at Las Palmas, he joined permanently – and a year later, moved to Portugal with Arouca. Another new country, but a move that paid off. This season, Mujica has starred in the top tier of Portuguese football for Arouca.
Rafa Mujica could fire Arouca into Europe after leaving Leeds in 2021
A surprise package. Last season, Arouca finished in 15th, narrowly avoiding the drop. This term, Arouca sit in sixth and with two games left, are two points behind fifth. Fifth is their best-ever finish, in 2015-16 – qualifying for Europe.
Now, they have the chance to match that. Mujica has gone five league games without a goal but sits at the top of his new side’s goalscoring charts with an impressive 14 in 30 games in his first season. He could fire Arouca to Europe.
Sixth place guides Arouca into the Conference League qualifying rounds. But next up is Chaves, the side just behind them in seventh, only two points off Arouca. A massive game, but Mujica could be about to write history in Portugal.