Brazil head into this year’s World Cup in Qatar as strong candidates to challenge for the coveted trophy. But what if one of their stars had decided to represent Italy when he had the chance?
After four (and a half) years of waiting, Qatar 2022 is finally getting underway. We are only 18 days away from the new edition of the FIFA World Cup, which is the only thing on world football’s mind right now.
One of the biggest topics of the tournament, aside from the health of the high-profile players, is who the strongest contenders are to win the trophy. People may have different opinions about who has the best odds, but the conversation usually revolves around the same teams.
While Europe has its favourites, South America has serious rivals in Argentina and Brazil. The other side has one of the most talented squads on earth, with many alternatives in every area of the field. But surprisingly, one of their biggest stars was able to represent Italy on the international stage.
Brazilian star turned down chance to play for Italy in the past
According to Diario Sport, Barcelona winger Raphinha had the opportunity to represent the Italian national team in the past due to his father. He had Italian citizenship, but his lifelong dream reportedly was to follow in Ronaldinho‘s footsteps.
The Spanish outlet claims Raphinha received the invitation during his time at Leeds United, where he shone under Marcelo Bielsa, when he was still uncapped with Brazil. In recent years, many fellow Brazilians have taken the other path.
Jorginho, Rafael Toloi, and Emerson, for instance, have decided to play for the Azzurri. But in the end, it was worth the wait for Raphinha, who is now a key member of the Brazilian national team.