'He's Like Messi' - Exclusive: Top pundit drops extraordinary Leeds player claim
Alex McLeish is so impressed by Leeds United winger Raphinha he has compared his skills to Lionel Messi.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Scotland manager revealed he “loves to watch” the 24-year-old and made the extraordinary likeness after he ran rampant against West Brom on Tuesday night.
Raphinha scored Leeds’ fifth goal in their stunning 5-0 victory at the Hawthorns that helped them move into 11th place in the Premier League.
The Brazilian has started the Whites’ last eight games and grabbed his second goal for the club in midweek with a stunning 20-yard strike in the second half.
“The goal was magnificent,” McLeish told Football Insider.
“I love to watch these type of players who have a real love of the ball and running with it and it is if the ball is glued to their boots. Ryan Giggs is one back in the day.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
“Raphinha has that left-foot wand and that’s always fascinated me. Guys with a left foot like Leo Messi, like Rivellino going way back.
“Now you have guys like Raphinha come in and he’s only going to go one way and it’s onto his left and Sam [Allardyce] will be saying, ‘why do you let Raphinha come in on his left? He’s a left-footer, he’s going to go on his left and he’s going to hit it on his left, force him onto his right and he could stumble over the ball.’”
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa said at the beginning of December that summer signing Raphinha was perfect for his system.
He told LeedsLive: “He’s a dynamic player, who’s not difficult for him to go forward and come back or to get in behind and defend. The characteristics of the team coincide with his way of playing.”