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Xavi shrugs off Raphinha exit rumours, calls him the future of Barcelona

Barcelona manager Xavi has quashed the exit speculation surrounding Raphinha following the victory against Real Betis in La Liga last night.

The Brazilian’s inconsistent form this season has been heavily scrutinised, which has sparked rumours of his departure.

Raphinha arrived at Camp Nou from Leeds United in a big money move after the Blaugrana hijacked the deal from Chelsea last summer.

But things haven’t been plain sailing for the Brazilian winger, who has struggled to replicate the form he showed at Elland Road.

He slipped down the pecking order because of Ousmane Dembele, who has been an outright starter for Xavi this season.

However, the Frenchman’s injury against Girona handed Raphinha a chance to prove his worth. The Brazilian made the most of it by putting in a stellar performance against Betis, scoring a goal in the 2-1 win.

Xavi heaped praise on Raphinha following the victory and insisted he has faith in the Brazilian.

“We will always support Raphinha – he’s the future of Barcelona,” Xavi said (h/t Fabrizio Romano).

“He’s a criticised player, but he does a lot and we value Raphinha a lot.”

Robert Lewandowski scored the winning goal at Benito Villamarin, although Jules Kounde’s late own goal gave Betis brief hope of a comeback.

Raphinha’s strike also marked his sixth goal involvement across all competitions this month, which shows he is in a great run of form.

With Dembele’s return date unknown, Raphinha will likely get more opportunities. He will be keen to make up for the struggles he endured in the first half of the season.

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