Rafinha (footballer, born 1993)
Rafinha playing for Barcelona in 2014
|Full name||Rafael Alcántara do Nascimento|
|Date of birth||12 February 1993|
|Place of birth||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in) |
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|2013–2014||→ Celta (loan)||32||(4)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Rafael Alcántara do Nascimento (born 12 February 1993), commonly known as Rafinha, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Brazil national team.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Rafinha joined FC Barcelona's youth ranks at the age of 13. On 8 January 2011, he made his professional debuts with the B-team, coming on as a substitute for Jonathan dos Santos in the 55th minute of a 1–2 home loss against Girona FC for the second division championship. A week later, again off the bench, he scored his first goal in a 3–2 win at UD Salamanca, also adding an assist.
Rafinha made his debut with the senior Barcelona squad on 9 November 2011, taking the place of Cesc Fàbregas for the last 15 minutes of a 1–0 away win against CE L'Hospitalet for the season's Copa del Rey. He finished the league campaign with 39 games – 35 starts – and eight goals for the reserves, including two in a 4–0 win at FC Cartagena on 4 September.
On 27 June 2013, Rafinha extended his contract with Barça, keeping him at the club until 2016. A few weeks later, he was loaned to fellow La Liga team Celta de Vigo, and made his debut in the main category of Spanish football on 19 August, helping the Galicians to a 2–2 home draw against RCD Espanyol. He scored his first top-flight goal 12 days later, in another draw at the Balaídos (1–1, with Granada CF).
Rafinha made his top flight debut for Barcelona on 24 August 2014 at the Camp Nou, in Luis Enrique's first match in charge. He played the first half of an eventual 3–0 win over Elche CF before being substituted for Marc Bartra. On 25 November, he assisted Lionel Messi's goal in a 4–0 win at Cypriot club APOEL, which made him the outright top scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League; however, Rafinha was sent off for two bookings later on in the match.
Rafinha scored his first goal for Barcelona on 3 December, concluding a 4–0 win at SD Huesca in the first leg of the Copa del Rey's last 32 (12–1 aggregate). The following 1 February, he recorded his first goal for the team in La Liga, part of a 3–2 home win over Villarreal CF. Barcelona won the treble, with Rafinha an unused substitute in the domestic and European finals.
With compatriot Neymar out through illness, Rafinha started on the left of Barcelona's attack in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla FC in Tbilisi, scoring the club's third goal in a 5–4 triumph.
On 16 September 2015, Rafinha suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the Champions League 1–1 away draw at Roma, leaving the game on a stretcher after being on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan. After surgery, he was expected to be out for about six months.
Later that year, however, he switched allegiance to Brazil, going on to represent the under-20s at the 2013 South American Youth Championship in Argentina. He was one of seven stand-by players named by Dunga for the senior team at the 2015 Copa América.
In September 2015, Rafinha was called up by Dunga for friendlies against Costa Rica and the United States. On 5 September, he entered the former game at New Jersey's Red Bull Arena in the 81st minute in place of Luiz Gustavo, earning his first cap for the senior Brazil side. Four days later, a minute after coming into the game, he scored his first goal, then assisted clubmate Neymar in a 4–1 win against the U.S.
Rafinha's father, Mazinho, was also a footballer and a midfielder, notably winning the 1994 FIFA World Cup with Brazil. His mother, Valéria, played volleyball, while his elder brother, Thiago – another midfielder – also emerged through Barcelona's youth ranks, going on to represent its first team and the Spain national side. Thiago currently plays for German club Bayern Munich.
As with his brother Thiago, many spell his surname "Alcântara" when in actuality it is "Alcántara".
- As of 22 May 2016
|Club||Season||League||Copa del Rey||Europe||Other||Total|
|Celta Vigo (loan)||2013–14||32||4||1||0||—||33||4|
- Scores and results table. Brazil's goal tally first:
|1.||8 September 2015||Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, United States||United States||3–0||4–1||Friendly|
- La Liga: 2014–15, 2015–16
- Copa del Rey: 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16
- UEFA Champions League: 2014–15
- UEFA Super Cup: 2015
- "Rafinha, cedido al Celta de Vigo" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta de Vigo] (in Spanish). Barcelona's official website. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- "El Girona se aprovecha de un loco final" [Girona profits from crazy ending] (in Spanish). Marca. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "VIDEO: Introducing A New Barcelona Starlet: Rafa Alcantara (Rafinha)". Goal.com. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Otro 'Iniestazo' (Another 'Iniestazo'); Marca, 9 November 2011 (Spanish)
- "Vuelve el mejor Barça B con un festival goleador en Cartagonova" [The best Barça B returns in a goalscoring festival in Cartagonova] (in Spanish). Marca. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "FC Barcelona agree to extend Rafinha's contract". Barcelona's official website. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Rafinha, cedido al Celta" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
- "Charles makes instant Celta impact". ESPN FC. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Celta Vigo hold Granada". ESPN FC. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Real Sociedad 4–3 Celta: Carlos Vela reina en la locura de Anoeta" [Real Sociedad 4–3 Celta: Carlos Vela reigns in Anoeta madness] (in Spanish). Goal.com. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "gala de premios LFP 2013/14" [LFP Awards show 2013/14] (in Spanish). Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Cryer, Andy (24 August 2014). "Barcelona 3-0 Elche". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- "Apoel Nic 0-4 Barcelona". BBC Sport. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- "Barça blow past Huesca". Marca. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "El Camp Nou aplaude a un gran Rafinha" [The Camp Nou applauds a great Rafinha] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla". BBC Sport. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- "Barcelona's Rafinha tears ACL, set to undergo surgery". ESPN FC. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- Rafa Alcántara – UEFA competition record
- "La sub 19 vence a Francia" [The under-19s defeat France] (in Spanish). Marca. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Rafinha to play the U20 South American Championship with Brazil; Barcelona's official website, 30 November 2012
- "Kaka among 7 alternates in Brazil's Copa America squad". ESPN. Associated Press. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Robert Guell (5 September 2015). "Rafinha Alcántara debuta con la selección de Brasil" [Rafinha Alcántara debuts with the Brazil national team] (in Spanish). FC Barcelona. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
- Webber, Tom (9 September 2015). "United States 1-4 Brazil: Neymar comes off the bench to net brace in international friendly". Goal.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- "Thiago y Jonathan, ADN fútbol" [Thiago and Jonathan, football DNA] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Primos en el césped (Cousins on the pitch); Marca, 5 December 2012 (Spanish)
- "Rafinha". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior - Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 June 2014
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