Rafinha (footballer, born 1993)

For other uses, see Rafinha (disambiguation).

Rafinha playing for Barcelona in 2014
Personal information
Full name Rafael Alcántara do Nascimento[1]
Date of birth (1993-02-12) 12 February 1993
Place of birth São Paulo, Brazil
Height 1.74 m (5 ft 8 12 in) [1]
Playing position Attacking midfielder
Club information
Current team
Number 12
Youth career
2006–2011 Barcelona
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2011–2013 Barcelona B 84 (20)
2011– Barcelona 38 (7)
2013–2014Celta (loan) 32 (4)
National team
2009 Spain U16 2 (0)
2009–2010 Spain U17 8 (2)
2010 Spain U19 4 (1)
2013 Brazil U20 3 (0)
2014–2016 Brazil U23 6 (0)
2015– Brazil 2 (1)

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19 November 2016.

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 20 August 2016
This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Alcántara and the second or paternal family name is do Nascimento.

Rafael Alcántara do Nascimento (born 12 February 1993), commonly known as Rafinha, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as an attacking midfielder for Spanish club FC Barcelona and the Brazil national team.

Rafinha started his career with Barcelona, making his debut with the first team in 2011. After a loan at Celta de Vigo, he played his first league match for the Catalans in 2014.

Rafinha represented both Spain and Brazil at youth level before debuting with the latter at senior level in 2015.

Club career

Born in São Paulo, Brazil,[2] Rafinha joined FC Barcelona's youth ranks at the age of 13. On 8 January 2011, he made his professional debuts with the B-team, coming on as a substitute for Jonathan dos Santos in the 55th minute of a 1–2 home loss against Girona FC for the second division championship.[3] A week later, again off the bench, he scored his first goal in a 3–2 win at UD Salamanca, also adding an assist.[4]

Rafinha made his debut with the senior Barcelona squad on 9 November 2011, taking the place of Cesc Fàbregas for the last 15 minutes of a 1–0 away win against CE L'Hospitalet for the season's Copa del Rey.[5] He finished the league campaign with 39 games – 35 starts – and eight goals for the reserves, including two in a 4–0 win at FC Cartagena on 4 September.[6]

On 27 June 2013, Rafinha extended his contract with Barça, keeping him at the club until 2016.[7] A few weeks later, he was loaned to fellow La Liga team Celta de Vigo,[8] and made his debut in the main category of Spanish football on 19 August, helping the Galicians to a 2–2 home draw against RCD Espanyol.[9] He scored his first top-flight goal 12 days later, in another draw at the Balaídos (1–1, with Granada CF).[10]

Rafinha netted a brace at Real Sociedad on 23 November in Celta's 4–3 loss.[11] He was voted the league's Breakthrough Player of the Season, ahead of Real Madrid's Jesé and Rayo Vallecano's Saúl.[12]

Rafinha, Gerard Piqué and Munir El Haddadi warming up for Barcelona in August 2014

Rafinha made his top flight debut for Barcelona on 24 August 2014 at the Camp Nou, in Luis Enrique's first match in charge. He played the first half of an eventual 3–0 win over Elche CF before being substituted for Marc Bartra.[13] On 25 November, he assisted Lionel Messi's goal in a 4–0 win at Cypriot club APOEL, which made him the outright top scorer in the history of the UEFA Champions League; however, Rafinha was sent off for two bookings later on in the match.[14]

Rafinha scored his first goal for Barcelona on 3 December, concluding a 4–0 win at SD Huesca in the first leg of the Copa del Rey's last 32 (12–1 aggregate).[15] The following 1 February, he recorded his first goal for the team in La Liga, part of a 3–2 home win over Villarreal CF.[16] Barcelona won the treble, with Rafinha an unused substitute in the domestic and European finals.

With compatriot Neymar out through illness, Rafinha started on the left of Barcelona's attack in the 2015 UEFA Super Cup against Sevilla FC in Tbilisi, scoring the club's third goal in a 5–4 triumph.[17]

On 16 September 2015, Rafinha suffered a torn right anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) during the Champions League 1–1 away draw at Roma, leaving the game on a stretcher after being on the receiving end of a heavy challenge from Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan. After surgery, he was expected to be out for about six months.[18]

International career

Rafinha played for Spain at youth level, gaining 14 caps for three different teams.[19] On 29 February 2012, he scored for the under-19s in the first minute of their 2–1 win over France in Meaux.[20]

Later that year, however, he switched allegiance to Brazil, going on to represent the under-20s at the 2013 South American Youth Championship in Argentina.[21] He was one of seven stand-by players named by Dunga for the senior team at the 2015 Copa América.[22]

In September 2015, Rafinha was called up by Dunga for friendlies against Costa Rica and the United States. On 5 September, he entered the former game at New Jersey's Red Bull Arena in the 81st minute in place of Luiz Gustavo, earning his first cap for the senior Brazil side.[23] Four days later, a minute after coming into the game, he scored his first goal, then assisted clubmate Neymar in a 4–1 win against the U.S.[24]

Personal life

Rafinha's father, Mazinho, was also a footballer and a midfielder, notably winning the 1994 FIFA World Cup with Brazil. His mother, Valéria, played volleyball, while his elder brother, Thiago – another midfielder – also emerged through Barcelona's youth ranks, going on to represent its first team and the Spain national side. Thiago currently plays for German club Bayern Munich.[25]

Rodrigo, currently a Valencia CF player and who played youth football with Real Madrid and went on to spend several seasons with S.L. Benfica, is Rafinha's cousin.[26]

Career statistics


As of 30 November 2016[27]
Club Season League Copa del Rey Europe Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Barcelona B 2010–11 9191
2011–12 398398
2012–13 36113611
Total 84208420
Barcelona 2011–12 00101[lower-alpha 1]00020
2012–13 00001[lower-alpha 1]00010
Total 0010200030
Celta Vigo (loan) 2013–14 32410334
Total 32410334
Barcelona 2014–15 241616[lower-alpha 1]0362
2015–16 61102[lower-alpha 1]02[lower-alpha 2]1112
2016–17 85103[lower-alpha 1]000125
Total 387819021579
Career totals 154311011302118034
  1. 1 2 3 4 5 All appearances in UEFA Champions League
  2. One appearance and one goal in UEFA Super Cup, one appearance in Supercopa de España


Scores and results table. Brazil's goal tally first:[28]
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 8 September 2015 Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, United States  United States 3–0 4–1 Friendly



Rafinha (left) posing with the 2015 UEFA Super Cup, alongside compatriots Adriano, Dani Alves and Douglas.





  1. 1 2 http://www.fcbarcelona.com/football/first-team/staff/players/rafinha_alcantara
  2. "Rafinha, cedido al Celta de Vigo" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta de Vigo] (in Spanish). Barcelona's official website. 15 July 2013. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
  3. "El Girona se aprovecha de un loco final" [Girona profits from crazy ending] (in Spanish). Marca. 8 January 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  4. "VIDEO: Introducing A New Barcelona Starlet: Rafa Alcantara (Rafinha)". Goal.com. 17 January 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  5. Otro 'Iniestazo' (Another 'Iniestazo'); Marca, 9 November 2011 (Spanish)
  6. "Vuelve el mejor Barça B con un festival goleador en Cartagonova" [The best Barça B returns in a goalscoring festival in Cartagonova] (in Spanish). Marca. 4 September 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  7. "FC Barcelona agree to extend Rafinha's contract". Barcelona's official website. 27 June 2013. Retrieved 27 June 2013.
  8. "Rafinha, cedido al Celta" [Rafinha, loaned to Celta] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 11 July 2013. Retrieved 6 October 2013.
  9. "Charles makes instant Celta impact". ESPN FC. 19 August 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  10. "Celta Vigo hold Granada". ESPN FC. 31 August 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  11. "Real Sociedad 4–3 Celta: Carlos Vela reina en la locura de Anoeta" [Real Sociedad 4–3 Celta: Carlos Vela reigns in Anoeta madness] (in Spanish). Goal.com. 23 November 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  12. "gala de premios LFP 2013/14" [LFP Awards show 2013/14] (in Spanish). Liga de Fútbol Profesional. Retrieved 10 November 2014.
  13. Cryer, Andy (24 August 2014). "Barcelona 3-0 Elche". BBC Sport. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  14. "Apoel Nic 0-4 Barcelona". BBC Sport. 25 November 2014. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  15. "Barça blow past Huesca". Marca. 3 December 2014. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  16. "El Camp Nou aplaude a un gran Rafinha" [The Camp Nou applauds a great Rafinha] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  17. "Barcelona 5-4 Sevilla". BBC Sport. 11 August 2015. Retrieved 12 August 2015.
  18. "Barcelona's Rafinha tears ACL, set to undergo surgery". ESPN FC. 17 September 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  19. Rafa AlcántaraUEFA competition record
  20. "La sub 19 vence a Francia" [The under-19s defeat France] (in Spanish). Marca. 29 February 2012. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  21. Rafinha to play the U20 South American Championship with Brazil; Barcelona's official website, 30 November 2012
  22. "Kaka among 7 alternates in Brazil's Copa America squad". ESPN. Associated Press. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 29 May 2015.
  23. Robert Guell (5 September 2015). "Rafinha Alcántara debuta con la selección de Brasil" [Rafinha Alcántara debuts with the Brazil national team] (in Spanish). FC Barcelona. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  24. Webber, Tom (9 September 2015). "United States 1-4 Brazil: Neymar comes off the bench to net brace in international friendly". Goal.com. Retrieved 11 September 2015.
  25. "Thiago y Jonathan, ADN fútbol" [Thiago and Jonathan, football DNA] (in Spanish). El Mundo Deportivo. 21 August 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2011.
  26. Primos en el césped (Cousins on the pitch); Marca, 5 December 2012 (Spanish)
  27. "Rafinha". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 February 2014.
  28. "Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior - Goals in International Matches". RSSSF. Retrieved 28 June 2014
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