Exclusive Interview: Rafinha talks Seleção, his World Cup hopes and how Bayern Munich are improving under Pep Guardiola
After winning everything last year, can Bayern Munich do even better this season?
In terms of titles, I think not, because we won everything. But in terms of quality of play I believe this team is better. I hope we can win the treble again, but it will not be easy. It is never easy, and this year will be no different.
What did Pep Guardiola say to you when he arrived at the club?
He said he would give me a chance and if I was going to work hard I was going to play.
You have become an undisputed starter this season with Bayern, what has changed compared to last season?
Last year I got injured and was out for three months. When I recovered it was hard to get into a team that had been winning everything. But even then, I played about 20 matches.
What differences do you see between Jupp Heynckes and Pep Guardiola?
They are two different coaches. Each has his own style and philosophy. Pep is a coach with more modern ideas.
For you, except Bayern Munich, which team do you see winning the Champions League?
The Champions League has many great teams. It will not be easy to win it again. PSG, Real Madrid and Chelsea are all great teams.
Paris Saint-Germain played an amazing match against Bayer Leverkusen recently. What do people in Germany think of PSG?
They are a great team and are having a very good time at the moment. They have everything to go far in this competition.
You returned to the national team against South Africa, after a six-year absence. Was it a surprise or did you expect the call to come?
As I always say I need to do a good job with my club to be remembered for the Seleção. I am currently in one of the best teams in the world and that helps. I was glad to be remembered and I will continue to work hard at Bayern and maybe I can be on the shortlist for the World Cup.
What was the atmosphere like around the national team?
I was very well received by everyone. The group is very good and really united. I believe this is important.
The World Cup is fast approaching, do you think Seleção are ready to win the competition?
I think so. The group is doing well and everyone is focused on the goal of winning the World Cup at home.
Do you talk with your Bayern Munich team mates about the World Cup? How do you rate Germany’s chances?
Occasionally we talk about this subject and they ask how is Brazil. It is clear to me that Germany is a very good team and they can go far in the competition.
What are your aims for the end of the season?
To win many titles and finish this season in the best way possible.