MILAN - Rafael Alcantara do Nascimento, better known as Rafinha, was born in Sao Paulo on 12 February 1993. The son of former Lecce and Fiorentina midfielder and 1994 World Cup winner Mazinho, he’s also the younger brother of Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara. He joined the Barcelona academy together with his brother and moved through the ranks with the Blaugrana and was a teammate of Mauro Icardi for a couple of seasons.
A left-footed and versatile midfielder with excellent technique, he made his debut in January 2011 in the Segunda Division for Luis Enrique’s Barcelona B team and he also got some minutes in the first team in the Copa del Rey and Champions League. In two-and-a-half seasons with the Catalans’ ‘B’ side, he made 84 appearances and scored 19 goals before moving on loan to Celta Vigo who were also being coached by Luis Enrique and that was where he made his La Liga debut. Rafinha’s positive year in Galicia saw him win La Liga’s Breakthrough Player award before returning home to the Blaugrana and Luis Enrique once more. The 2014-15 season was a triumphant one for Barcelona. The Catalans won the Champions League, La Liga and the Copa del Rey with Rafinha’s valuable contribution playing its part and he finished the year with two goals in 36 appearances.
In the following seasons, he won La Liga once, the Copa del Rey twice, the Supercopa de España and one UEFA Supercup making 79 appearances and scoring eleven goals in a Barcelona shirt.
A Brazilian and Spanish dual national, he decided to represent the Seleção unlike his brother Thiago who plays for Spain. For Brazil, he played in two friendlies (scoring once) in September 2015 and was part of the Under-23 team which won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics in 2016.
Now, it’s time for a new adventure at Inter where he will wear the number eight shirt. Welcome to the city of Milan Rafinha!