Rafinha (footballer, born February 1993)
|Full name||Rafael Alcântara do Nascimento|
|Date of birth||12 February 1993|
|Place of birth||São Paulo, Brazil|
|Height||1.74 m (5 ft 8 1⁄2 in)|
|2013–2014||→ Celta (loan)||32||(4)|
|2018||→ Inter Milan (loan)||17||(2)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 25 November 2018|
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20 August 2016
Rafael Alcântara do Nascimento (born 12 February 1993), commonly known as Rafinha [ʁɐˈfiɲa], is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a central midfielder for Spanish club Barcelona and the Brazil national team.
Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Rafinha joined 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 for the Segunda División championship. A week later, again off the bench and for the same competition, he scored his first goal in a 3–2 win at 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 over Hospitalet for the Copa del Rey. He finished the league season with 39 games – 35 starts – and eight goals for the reserves, including two in a 4–0 success at Cartagena on 4 September of the same year.
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, and made his debut in the Spanish top flight on 19 August, helping the Galicians to a 2–2 home draw against Espanyol. He scored his first league goal 12 days later in another draw at the Balaídos (1–1, with Granada).
Rafinha netted a brace at Real Sociedad on 23 November 2013, but it amounted to nothing as the hosts won 4–3 with four goals from Carlos Vela. He was voted the league's Breakthrough Player of the Season, ahead of Real Madrid's Jesé and Rayo Vallecano's Saúl Ñíguez.
Rafinha made his league debut for Barcelona on 24 August 2014 in Luis Enrique's first match in charge, playing the first half of an eventual 3–0 win over Elche at the Camp Nou before being replaced by Marc Bartra. On 25 November, he assisted Lionel Messi's goal in a 4–0 group stage triumph at APOEL, which made him the outright top scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League; however, he was also sent off for two bookings later on in the match.
Rafinha scored his first goal for the Blaugrana on 3 December 2014, concluding a 4–0 away win against Huesca in the first leg of the Spanish Cup's last 32 (12–1 aggregate). The following 1 February, he recorded his first goal for the team in the domestic league, part of a 3–2 home triumph over Villarreal. They went on to win the treble, with the player being 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 in Tbilisi, scoring the third goal in a 5–4 win. On 16 September he suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament during the 1–1 away draw to Roma for the Champions League group phase, leaving the game on a stretcher after being on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Radja Nainggolan; after surgery, he was expected to be out for about six months.
Rafinha scored six times in only 18 appearances in the 2016–17 campaign, but also had to undergo surgery to an internal meniscus ailment following a match against Granada in April 2017, going on to be sidelined until the end of the year.
On 22 January 2018, Inter Milan announced the acquisition of Rafinha on a loan with an option to buy for €35 million. He made his debut for the club six days later by entering in the last moments of the 1–1 draw against SPAL. He scored his first goal on 6 May, in the 4–0 away defeat of Udinese.
Rafinha played for Spain at youth level, earning 14 caps for three different teams. On 29 February 2012, he scored for the under-19s in the first minute of their 2–1 friendly win over France in Meaux.
Later that year, however, Rafinha switched allegiance to Brazil, going on to represent the under-20 side 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. Four days later, a minute after taking the field against the latter, he scored his first goal, then assisted clubmate Neymar in a 4–1 win.
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.
- As of match played 25 November 2018
|Barcelona B||2010–11||Segunda División||9||1||—||9||1|
|Celta (loan)||2013–14||La Liga||32||4||1||0||—||33||4|
|Inter Milan (loan)||2017–18||Serie A||17||2||0||0||—||17||2|
- As of 8 September 2015 (Brazil score listed first, score column indicates score after each Rafinha goal)
|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, 2016–17, 2017–18
- Supercopa de España: 2016, 2018
- UEFA Champions League: 2014–15
- UEFA Super Cup: 2015
- "Rafinha". FC Barcelona. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- "Rafinha, cedido al Celta de Vigo" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta de Vigo] (in Spanish). FC Barcelona. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
- "El Girona se aprovecha de un loco final" [Girona profit from crazy ending]. Marca (in Spanish). 8 January 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "VIDEO: Introducing a new Barcelona starlet: Rafa Alcantara (Rafinha)". Goal. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Aldunate, Ramiro (9 November 2011). "Otro 'Iniestazo'" [Another 'Iniestazo']. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- García, Gregorio (4 September 2011). "Vuelve el mejor Barça B con un festival goleador en Cartagonova" [The best Barça B return in a goalscoring festival in Cartagonova]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "FC Barcelona agree to extend Rafinha's contract". FC Barcelona. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
- "Rafinha, cedido al Celta" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 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. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- Escribano, Beñat (23 November 2013). "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. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Rafinha, 'Mejor Jugador Revelación de la Liga BBVA 2013–14'" [Rafinha, 'BBVA League's Best Newcomer 2013–14'] (in Spanish). La Liga. 27 October 2014. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- Cryer, Andy (24 August 2014). "Barcelona 3–0 Elche". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
- "Apoel Nicosia 0–4 Barcelona". BBC Sport. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
- Bell, Arch (3 December 2014). "Barça blow past Huesca". Marca. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Piedrabuena, Celes (1 February 2015). "El Camp Nou aplaude a un gran Rafinha" [The Camp Nou applauds a great Rafinha]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- Johnston, Neil (11 August 2015). "Barcelona 5–4 Sevilla". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
- "Barcelona's Rafinha tears ACL, set to undergo surgery". ESPN FC. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
- "Rafinha: Injured Barcelona midfielder has knee surgery". BBC Sport. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- "Rafinha receives medical clearance". FC Barcelona. 18 December 2017. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
- Aldunate, Ramiro (19 January 2018). "Rafinha se va al Inter de Milán" [Rafinha goes to Inter Milan]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- Mascitti, Alex (22 January 2018). "OFFICIAL: Inter signs Rafinha from Barcelona". Italian Football Daily. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
- "SPAL 1–1 Inter Milan: Late Alberto Paloschi header snatches a point for Serie A strugglers against Luciano Spalletti's nerazzurri". Daily Mail. 28 January 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Udinese 0–4 Inter: Spalletti's side storm to victory as zebrette crumble amid relegation pressures". Sports Illustrated. 5 May 2018. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
- "Rafinha says goodbye to the season: Breaks his anterior cruciate knee ligament". Marca. 25 November 2018. Retrieved 27 November 2018.
- "España 6 Islas Feroe 0" [Spain 6 Faroe Islands 0]. Diario AS (in Spanish). 16 October 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- "Rafinha lidera la convocatoria de la Sub-19" [Rafinha leads Under-19 callup]. Marca (in Spanish). 10 October 2011. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- "Brasil 'roba' a España al jugador del Barça Rafinha al convocarle para el Sudamericano sub 20" [Brazil 'steal' Barça player Rafinha from Spain after selecting him for the under 20 South American] (in Spanish). Voz Populi. 31 December 2012. Retrieved 24 December 2016.
- "La sub 19 vence a Francia" [The under-19s defeat France]. Marca (in Spanish). 29 February 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
- "Rafinha to play the U20 South American Championship with Brazil". FC Barcelona. 30 November 2012. Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- "Kaka among 7 alternates in Brazil's Copa America squad". ESPN Brasil. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
- Guell, Robert (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. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
- Roura, Conchita (21 August 2009). "Thiago y Jonathan, ADN fútbol" [Thiago and Jonathan, football DNA]. Mundo Deportivo (in Spanish). Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Navarro, Cristina (5 December 2012). "Primos en el césped" [Cousins on the pitch]. Marca (in Spanish). Retrieved 5 December 2012.
- Castelao, Eduardo J. (12 June 2018). "Thiago y Rodrigo, los falsos primos 'ingleses'" [Thiago and Rodrigo, the false 'English' cousins]. El Mundo (in Spanish). Retrieved 16 June 2018.
- "Rafinha". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
- "Festival de Neymar y Rafinha con Brasil para derrotar a Estados Unidos" [Neymar and Rafinha festival with Brazil to defeat the United States]. Sport (in Spanish). 9 September 2015. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
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