‘I couldn’t walk’ – Leeds star Raphinha feared he’d ‘lose’ his leg after challenge from Man City player last season

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Leeds playmaker Raphinha has shared that he feared that he may ‘lose’ his leg as a result of the painful aftermath of a challenge from Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho last season.

Raphinha enjoyed an exceptional debut season with the Peacocks after arriving for a fee of £17m plus add-ons, per BBC Sport, the Brazilian notched six goals and crafted nine assists in the Premier League.

The Yorkshire outfit’s dangerous attacker told all on a worrying injury in a wonderful interview with The Players Tribune, in which he shared ’12 things’ that people don’t know about him.

The Leeds live-wire was forced off in the final minutes of his side’s emphatic win against Manchester City towards the end of last season after a foul from Fernandinho that landed the star a yellow card.

Raphinha admitted that he told boss Marcelo Bielsa that he would be ‘fine’ in just ‘two or three days’, but the opposite of a swift recovery followed for the attacking midfielder as he was left unable to walk.

The 24-year-old outlined that his left leg swelled up to twice the size of his right when he arrived home and removed the bandage, but that was just the start of a scary ordeal…

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Raphinha detailed the aftermath of the challenge in a harrowing account:

“You remember when Fernandinho fouled me at the Etihad towards the end of last season? He hit my thigh hard. I’m still used to the várzea (the amateur football leagues and tournaments in Brazil), where you put ice on it and carry on. No blood, no foul, man!”

“You have to break your leg to get any sympathy there!!”

“So I told Marcelo (Bielsa), “Don’t worry, in two or three days I’ll be fine.””

“But when I came home and removed the bandage, my left leg was swelling. It was twice as thick as the right. My blood pressure dropped.”

“I called a doctor, who took me to the hospital. The pain was so bad that I had to be given anaesthesia. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even get into the car.”

“Apparently I had something called internal haematoma. The doctors said I needed surgery to remove all the blood. I had never had surgery before.”

“They also said I would miss the rest of the season, though sometimes it felt as if I was gonna lose my leg. Thank God, they never found a blood clot, as they had feared.”

“I stayed there overnight on painkillers and medicines. The next morning I went home, and after three days I could put the crutches aside.”

“But then the pain returned.”

“I had to have even more blood removed from the leg. I went to the hospital four times — four times, man — and the doctors drained nearly 100 millilitres. It was awful. But the worst part was the fixtures I was about to miss.”

Liverpool (H), Manchester United (H), Brighton (A), Tottenham (H)

“Still, I had a target. I was going to play the final game of the season, the one where we would have fans at Elland Road.”

“Luckily I returned sooner than expected and even got a few minutes against Spurs. I played with a lot of pain, man. But in that final game, it was worth it.”

Raphinha’s blow came as Leeds were on a three-match winning streak in the top-flight, without their silky creator the Peacocks didn’t win in any of their ties against Liverpool, Man United or Brighton.

Having had to have blood removed from his leg on four occasions, it’s truly remarkable that Raphinha even returned at all last season, let let alone in the style that he did as he added three assists as Bielsa’s men won all of their last four Premier League matches of the season.

Raphinha deserves massive respect for playing on with that much ‘pain’, something he deemed as ‘worth it’ as he got to play in front of the fans at Elland Road in the final match of 2020/21.

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