Raphinha lifts lid on what makes Leeds United's 'remarkable' support stand out - YEP 13/11/21
Raphinha has hailed Leeds United's support as 'remarkable' - revealing the club's fans motivate him to give 'every bit of energy' on matchday.
By Joe Urquhart
The 24-year-old rising Brazil star has enjoyed a whirlwind 13 months since joining the Elland Road ranks from Ligue 1 outfit Stade Rennes last October.
He has become a global superstar in the Premier League and is now taking his club form to the international stage with the Seleção in South America.
Raphinha bagged six goals and nine assists in his debut campaign in West Yorkshire as he took to English football with relative ease.
The winger has added to the hype surrounding his abilities by notching five goals in 10 top flight games this season along with recording two goals and two assists during his first four Brazil caps under national team boss Tite.
Leeds have failed to hit the same heights as their debut Premier League term, after taking just two victories out of their opening 11 games in 2021/22 so far.
Marcelo Bielsa, though, has had to contend with a number of injuries in his senior squad but his side have shown signs of returning to form in recent weeks.
"I don't look to make comparisons, every club has its own history and culture," Raphinha told SoccerBible of the Whites support.
"What really stands out about the Leeds fans is that even when we're not doing well in the league, whether it's home or away, they fill every seat allocated to them and what is really special is the way they support us passionately from start to finish.
"We could be losing the game like in Manchester when we were losing five-one but the fans continued singing. Personally, this is great motivation for me to do my best, to give my very last bit of energy until the final whistle.
"Even when we know we can't turn the game around just seeing them there and hearing them sing, sending us this positive energy on to the pitch makes me stronger and I want to send some energy back to them from the pitch as we're doing everything possible and doing our best.
"As I said before, in football one team wins and another loses, their support during games is remarkable."
Asked about playing at Elland Road in front of the fanatical home support in LS11, Raphinha added: "It's difficult to describe. Obviously there are moments in the game when I take it all in, but the majority of the game I try to focus on the pitch and block out everything else.
"Of course there are certain times like when we come on to the pitch before the game, come off at half-time where you feel it.
"It's really positive energy that they send to us on the pitch and we do our absolute best to repay that.
"It doesn't always happen but they can be certain that we're doing everything possible, however that's football there are good times and bad times. We're going through a difficult period but God willing we'll be getting back our good form."