“I begged on the streets and lost friends who took the wrong path” – Barcelona attacker, Raphinha speaks on his chilhood challenges and his road to success
Barcelona attacker, Raphinha has spoken in an exclusive interview about his challenges on the streets of Brazil revealing that at some point he had to beg for food.
Raphinha took a trip down memory lane as he recalled his struggles as a kid and the journey to becoming an elite footballer whilst losing friends who took the wrong path along the way.
Barcelona signed Raphinha from Leeds in the 2022/2023 summer for a fee of around €48millions plus add-ons.
Speaking in the interview, Raphinha stressed about how hard it was back then and revealed most of his friends took the wrong path by turning to the drugs game to be successful.
He even at some point begged food on the streets after training practices but his head was held high believing in his talents and potentials.
“I need to tell you a truth: it’s very complicated,” Raphinha started ;
“For someone born in a neighbourhood like me, it’s difficult to stay focused. I’m from Restinga (a neighbourhood in Porto Alegre). It’s difficult to follow your path and not go astray.
“Opportunities appear, and there are many. They promise an easier way to earn money. And that’s where people get lost. I never went off the path, but I was a witness, I walked alongside people who were getting lost.
“I lost a lot of friends in the world of crime, in the drug trade…. Friends who played 10 times better than me and who could have been in a great football club in the world.
“Having these examples close by was an important factor in keeping my focus. I knew what I wanted from a very young age: to be a footballer. Achieving this goal by leaving a neighbourhood is a big sacrifice.
“But my ambition was even bigger. I did not deviate. If today they talk about my ‘magic’ in football, I say… this is the real magic.”
“It was because of my family that I never dropped out of school and ignored the opportunities I had to take the wrong path. It is because of them that I am here,”
Raphinha talked about having to beg for food
The Brazilian also admitted that he begged for food, though this was more an effect of immediate hunger as opposed to a cause of poverty.
“It would be unfair to say that I have gone hungry in my life because my parents never lacked food at home,”
“Still, after training, I would stand on the street and ask people to buy me something to eat or a snack. Some people would help me, others would call me a bum straight out.
“And there was nothing to do but wait for the bus to get me home so I could get something to eat. I was between 12 and 14 years old at the time.”
Raphinha talks about his transfer to FC Barcelona
The player stressed how much he had dreamt of playing for the club’s his childhood idols played for.
Raphinha revealed that many clubs gave him better offers but his mind was set on Barcelona. Read below :
“I had a lot of offers after my time at Leeds, but I knew exactly what I wanted,”
“My childhood idols played for Barcelona, so I had a dream to come here and I spared no effort to achieve it.
“Ronaldinho is one of my idols and he wore the Barcelona shirt. I couldn’t talk to him before coming here, but I’m sure he would have told me to follow my dream.”