After impressing on loan at Inter last season, Rafinha is reportedly set to be given a chance of a more prominent role at Barcelona this year.
The early signs are promising as the 25-year-old scored in Barcelona’s 3-0 win over Boca Juniors for the Joan Gamper Trophy on Wednesday night, as he looks to prove his worth to the Catalan giants.
After struggling for playing time last season along with injury woes, he opted to join Inter on a temporary basis and emerged as a key figure in Luciano Spalletti’s side as they successfully qualified for the Champions League.
While it would naturally have been expected that the Italian giants would perhaps move to make it a permanent switch, a move to the San Siro didn’t materialise and Rafinha returned to Barcelona this summer.
Now, as per Don Balon, it’s claimed that Lionel Messi has offered his approval of the possible decision to hand Rafinha a more prominent role at the Nou Camp moving forward to solve an issue that the club have in terms of quality and depth in midfield.
Further, it’s suggested that with Ernesto Valverde ready to hand him more minutes, Rafinha will now stay this season if Barca don’t make any further signings having already brought in Arthur and Arturo Vidal to bolster that area of the squad this summer.
The claim is backed up by Calciomercato, who report that Inter will not switch their attention to Rafinha if they fail in their pursuit of Luka Modric, thus seemingly closing off an avenue for a potential exit as his touted €40m valuation is also putting them off.
Taking all the above into consideration, Rafinha may well be set to fight for his place under Valverde this season and having made just 79 appearances for the club since being promoted to the senior side in 2011, he’ll be desperate to now finally make his mark.