Image: James Williamson – AMA/Getty Images)
Barcelona summer signing Raphinha threw down the gauntlet to arch-rivals Real Madrid after starring on debut for his new club.
Raphinha joined Barca last Friday in a deal initially worth £50million that could rise up to £55million with add-ons. He made his first non-competitive appearance for Xavi’s side during their 6-0 win over Major League Soccer outfit Inter Miami in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
The Brazil international, 25, started the match and did not take long to make an impact, setting up Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang’s 19th-minute opener before doubling the lead himself with a classy volley midway through the first half.
Raphinha then assisted Ansu Fati, who made it 3-0 shortly before half-time. At the interval, Xavi opted to make wholesale changes, allowing him to give an entirely-new XI a run-out. Gavi, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele found the back of the net in the second half to pile more misery on Phil Neville’s side.
It was the second of six friendlies for Xavi’s men, who will now prepare to take on El Clasico rivals Real in Las Vegas in the early hours of Sunday morning. Ahead of the game, Raphinha has issued a warning, claiming that his new side are better than Barca’s arch-rivals.
“One always tries to score against anyone, but if it’s in a derby, even more. The most important thing is the win. But, for me, we’re better than Real Madrid,” Raphinha said.
“I’m very happy to have scored my first goal. It was a good game. I tried to have a good game. I’m very happy and hope to continue it.
Raphinha was among the summer signings to feature in the win over Inter Miami, a club co-owned by former Real and England star David Beckham. Centre-back Andreas Christensen and central midfielder Franck Kessie also played their part.