Barcelona Must to Own Rafinha Alcantara

Rafinha Alcantara has always been noted as being Thiago’s younger sibling. Not anymore.

A powerhouse performance against Villarreal deservedly won him the man-of-the-match accolade and with it the plaudits from all quarters. Rafinha very definitely gives Barca a steely edge to their game, something that the Catalans have been accused of lacking in the past.

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Moreover, the true box-to-box nature of his game is an element that the Blaugrana have hitherto failed to use. The naysayers may deride parts of the player’s game as a little more industrial than what we are used to seeing from the exponents at Camp Nou.

MIDFIELD BOSS

Yet there’s certainly a place for that type of game in amongst the pass masters. That much was evident from the Villarreal game. A robust individual with no little skill, Rafinha eloquently fuses together the passing game that Barca are synonymous for, and the need to boss the midfield areas and get in amongst it.

Certainly, if Barca are looking for the “Plan B” that evidently seems beyond them at times, then they need look no further than the direct running of Rafinha. His goal against Villarreal was a just reward for his efforts and if he can add a few quality strikes to his game, he becomes almost indispensable.

MOVE AWAY?

Furthermore his skill set is complimentary to Andres Iniesta, allowing “El Illusionista” to work his magic in more decisive areas of the pitch, instead of being bogged down further back than he or Enrique would like.

Perhaps the question that Barcelona really need to ask themselves is can they afford to do without the youngster? Thiago walked away from his boyhood club after not being given enough chances to impress, so there is a precedent.

Mazinho, their father, will not hesitate to recommend a move away for his younger son if he feels that his interests are not being taken care of. Do the Catalans really want to leave themselves open to that scenario?

Manchester United Praise Wilfried Zaha Back

Wilfried Zaha should be praised for turning his back on Manchester United after completing a permanent return to Crystal Palace on January transfer deadline day.

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The 22-year-old was under no obligation to sever his lucrative three-and-a-half year contract at Old Trafford, despite the fact he’d been afforded just four competitive appearances for the Red Devils since penning terms with the club in January 2013.

However, after choosing to commit his long-term future to Selhurst Park – the place where it all began for Zaha – he’s restored at least a little faith in those detractors that had begun to question the player’s hopes and aspirations for the future.

It’s barely two years since Sir Alex Ferguson snapped up the talented young winger’s signature, after predicting that Zaha had the potential to develop into an important first-team star at the Theatre of Dreams.

But, after retiring at the end of 2012/13 the twice capped England international never had the opportunity to actually work with the man responsible for bringing him to Manchester United, and as a result he found himself marginalised under the new stewardship of David Moyes last season.