Fri 16 September 2022 | 19:18

Raphinha: "I lost many friends to 'world of crime' and this helped me"

Raphinha said that one of the most motivating aspects of his life has been witnessing the criminalization of boyhood friends who were "ten times better" than him on the field.


spent his formative years in the Porto Alegre neighborhood of Restinga, where he has been candid about losing close friends to drug trafficking and other forms of organized crime.

Brazilian forward Raphinha spent two successful seasons in the Premier League with


before being signed by


for €68 million this summer, credits his parents and siblings with keeping him straight and narrow.

"For someone born in a neighbourhood like me, it's hard to stay focused. I'm from Restinga. It's hard to follow your path and not go astray,” Raphinga said to UOL Esporte. “Opportunities appear, and there are many. They promise an easier way to earn money. And that's where people get lost. I was a witness; I walked alongside people who were getting lost."

"I lost many friends in the world of crime, in drug trafficking...friends who played ten times better than me and who could have been at a great football club in the world. Having these examples close by was an important factor in keeping my focus. I knew what I wanted from a very young age: to be a footballer. Achieving this goal by leaving a neighbourhood is a great sacrifice. But my ambition was even greater."

“I did not deviate. If they speak today of my 'magic' in football, I say...this is the real magic. It was thanks to my family that I never dropped out of school and ignored the opportunities I had to take the wrong path. I'm here for them.”

Raphinha also stated that playing in the Premier League was his "childhood dream" because of all the famous people who had played there. His childhood heroes, though, notably


, another kid of

Porto Alegre

, all played for Barcelona.

“I had a lot of offers after my time at Leeds, but I knew exactly what I wanted. My childhood idols played for Barcelona, ​​so I had a dream to come here and I spared no effort to achieve it. Ronaldinho Gaucho is one of my idols and he wore the Barcelona shirt. I couldn't talk to him before coming here, but I'm sure he would tell me to follow my dream.”

source: SportMob

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