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Rafinha looking for second chance at Inter

Milan (AFP) – Injury-plagued Barcelona midfielder Rafinha said Thursday he was looking for a second chance at Inter Milan as he seeks to make his loan move to Italy permanent.

The Brazil international was unveiled on the day Portuguese midfielder Joao Mario was poised to complete his move to West Ham on loan, with Brazilian Gabriel Barbosa moving back home to Santos. 

“I’m an ambitious person and our goal is to get to the Champions League,” said the 24-year-old Brazil international.

“We can do it, with this coach I have no doubts. I give everything for the team in which I play, for all those who trust me.”

Rafinha, who was out of action for eight months last year due to a knee injury, joined Barcelona aged 13 and rose through the ranks.

He has scored one goal in two games for Brazil but injuries blighted his Barca first team chances.

Rafinha needed surgery and was out for more than six months after tearing a cruciate knee ligament against Roma at the end of 2015.

He then went under the knife again last year after suffering a meniscus injury.

“I have a lot of desire to get going, I’m motivated and ready for everything that will happen. I feel very good and I have a great desire to play.”

He knows Inter captain Mauro Icardi from their time in Barcelona’s youth academy and now the goal is to contribute to the return to the Champions League.

“I chose the Nerazzurri because it’s a team with great ambitions.

“I’m a midfielder but (coach Luciano) Spalletti knows I can play in many positions. I want the Champions League, it would be nice to play against my Barcelona next year.

“The number 8? I like it, it’s always brought me luck, including with the Olympic team.”

Inter have dropped to fourth in Serie A behind Lazio but have an easier calender with after SPAL this weekend games against Crotone, Bologna, Genoa and Benevento.

“Barcelona is the past, Inter is the present and the future,” added Rafinha.

“I hope to stay here for a long time. I’ve only seen the San Siro from the outside but it was impressive. I can’t wait to get inside as a player, I expect a lot from the fans and such a stadium.” 

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