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    Raphinha ‘fulfils childhood dream’ and signs for Barcelona

    BARCELONA (AFP) – Brazilian winger Raphinha said on Friday that he is “fulfilling a childhood dream” as he was officially presented as a new Barcelona player.

    “It’s a huge honour to be here,” Raphinha said during the event at Barca’s training centre.

    “I have many idols who have passed through here and made history. If I can do half of what they did here, it will be a lot,” he added.

    Barca announced Raphinha’s arrival on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Premier League side Leeds United, but without giving details of the length of his contract or the transfer fee.

    Local media reported that the Brazilian has signed for five seasons and Barca would pay Leeds around EUR55 million plus another EUR15 million in potential add-ons.

    “He is a player that (coach) Xavi (Hernandez) wanted,” said Barcelona president Joan Laporta, who accompanied the player at the presentation.

    Xavi “insisted a lot and we at the club have done everything we could”, added Laporta, who stressed that Raphinha showed “the desire to come to Barca”.

    Laporta gave Raphinha a Barca shirt with his name on it, but without a number, before both signed the contract in front of the cameras.

    Raphinha is Barca’s third signing of the summer transfer window, after Danish defender Andreas Christensen, from Chelsea, and Ivorian midfielder Franck Kessie from AC Milan, both on free transfers.

    The Catalans have also been boosted by French international winger Ousmane Dembele, whose contract expired at the end of June, agreeing to ‘rejoin’ the club on a two-year contract.

    Barcelona’s new player Brazilian forward Raphael Dias Belloli, aka Raphinha, controls a ball during his presentation ceremony. PHOTO: AFP
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