Saturday February 24 2018
Rafinha: 'Serie A football university'

Rafinha reveals the advice he was given about joining Inter. “The Milan Derby is on level with Barcelona-Real Madrid and Serie A is a university of football.”

The midfielder has just recovered from a lengthy injury lay-off and is on loan for six months with option to buy from Barcelona.

“I feel good now and am finding the right rhythm,” the Brazilian told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

“Certain little pains are normal after months out of action. Luciano Spalletti’s idea of using me as a substitute for the moment is very intelligent. I do feel ready to start if needed and if he asks, I will be up for that.

“I like people who are say things to your face and Spalletti does that. We had already spoken by phone when I was at Barcelona, discussing his ideas of football, as he knows I can play in all midfield positions, but also in attack. At one moment in my career, I was even a False 9.”

Why did Rafinha choose to join Inter in the January transfer window?

“Leo Messi, Luis Suarez and others all told me that I was going to a big world class club with a lot of history behind it. I was already enchanted by San Siro when empty, but with the fans in there too, it’s a unique stadium.

“The Derby della Madonnina is a game the whole world talks about, it’s on the same level as Barcelona-Real Madrid or River Plate-Boca Juniors. When I was young, I was crazy about Rolando and Adriano.

“I don’t feel pressure, as if anything it’s further motivation that the people gave me such a warm welcome. We’ve got everything it takes to achieve a Champions League spot.

“I want to continue here next season. I see myself staying at Inter, because I didn’t just come here thinking to recover my form and then return to Barcelona. I intend to remain. Of course, then obviously my future depends on what Inter decide…”

Rafinha was asked if he’d gladly lose the Milan Derby if it meant Inter qualifying for the Champions League.

“No, I want to win the derby! The Champions League place will come by itself.”

He is no stranger to Italy, as his father is Mazinho, who played for Lecce and Fiorentina in the early 1990s.

“My father confirmed to me that there are a lot of tactics in this tournament. It’s like a university of football. I talked to Dani Alves, who said he learned a lot at Juventus.”

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