Former Leeds star Raphinha joined Barcelona in the summer and he will be expected to start against Manchester United in this evening’s Europa League first-leg tie.
The Brazilian already shares a dressing room with some of the best players in the world at Barcelona, including Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski, but he has admitted that he wishes one Manchester United player was also part of the squad at Camp Nou.
We’ve mentioned just two Barcelona players who could be considered among the best in the world right now, but it wasn’t a long time ago that the same could be said for players like Sergio Busquets. Maybe even Jordi Alba will argue I’m being harsh but there is no denying that United have a few players that would improve Xavi’s side.
Raphinha admits he would love to be able to play with his fellow Brazil team-mate Casemiro at Barcelona, which is a funny shout given the defensive midfielder’s ties with Real Madrid, where he almost spent a decade of his career before signing for United in the summer.
Speaking to ESPN Brazil ahead of the Europa League clash, Raphinha said: “Man, Casemiro is a player that I always talk about to my friends and family. He’s a player that I’d particularly like to have on my team.
“In addition to the experience he has in football and all the things he has achieved in football, he’s a great leader, he’s a great person, and he manages to complete a team with the quality he has.
“For me, he’s one of the best defensive midfielders in the world.”
The five-time Champions League winner has been a brilliant signing for Erik ten Hag and it will be a boost for the team tonight to have him back in the starting line-up. Casemiro missed United’s last two games due to a domestic suspension, although his 3-match ban won’t be lifted until after Sunday’s league clash against Leicester City at Old Trafford.