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'He is a great player': Bielsa lauds Leeds star in interview abroad; discusses his international chances

Marcelo Bielsa has told ESPN Brasil that he believes Raphinha is a great player, as he was asked about the Leeds United star and his chances of earning a first call-up to the Brazil national team.

Raphinha could have hardly made a greater impact in his first year at Elland Road.

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He produced an outrageous overhead kick and scored a superb goal in his first appearance for Rennes following the news that Leeds were tracking him.

That game proved to be his last for the Ligue 1 side. Shortly after, he completed a £17 million move to West Yorkshire.

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And he has gone on to prove an outstanding signing. He scored six goals and contributed nine assists in the Premier League.

His form has seen Raphinha linked with the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City.

A first call-up to the Brazil national team is unlikely to do Leeds many favours as they look to keep him.

‘He is a great player’

Admittedly, Bielsa stopped short of suggesting Tite should hand the winger his maiden call-up. However, he did insist that he is a big admirer of the 24-year-old.

“I can say if a player is doing well or not, but I can’t compare this player with the other options because I have a deep knowledge of Raphinha’s quality, but I don’t deeply know the other players who play in the same position as him and are of the same nationality,” he told ESPN Brasil.

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“My opinion is that he is a great player. Actions speak more than words when it comes to a player, and there are two moments that, if you like, have the reception of a shot that Raphinha receives from Casilla before a goal of Tyler Roberts, and the way he watches Tyler Roberts, these are two technical gestures.”

Leeds fans will hope Raphinha will continue working with Bielsa for a long time

Leeds supporters have always tended to be fairly realistic about their chances of keeping Raphinha.

Certainly, it seems that they are going to struggle to hold onto him if they do not continue to make progress.

Having said that, with figures such as Bielsa and Raphinha around, Leeds have every chance of building on their amazing year.

Raphinha recently hinted that he would be happy to stay at Leeds for the duration of his contract.

So there is surely a very good chance that the wide-man will become a Brazil international while he is plying his trade with the Whites.

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