Rafinha has always been a willing servant when called upon by Bayern Munich. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA
Rafinha has always been a willing servant when called upon by Bayern Munich. - © © DFL DEUTSCHE FUSSBALL LIGA

Bayern Munich's Rafinha celebrates 300th Bundesliga appearance


He's had to contend with Philipp Lahm and Joshua Kimmich as Bayern Munich's first-choice right-back in recent years, but that hasn't stopped Rafinha making it to 300 Bundesliga appearances.

The Brazil international, a Bundesliga veteran of nearly 12 years, hit his double century in the Matchday 15 trip to Eintracht Frankfurt.

"I'm very happy to be part of the history of a club as big as Bayern, and I love playing in the Bundesliga," Rafinha told bundesliga.com. "I love the atmosphere: the preparations, the match, the competitiveness. And it's even better when we win and become champions. The league will be with be for my entire life."

Rafinha was a relative unknown when he arrived on German soil some 12 years ago, but can now count himself as one of the Bundesliga’s true Brazilian greats. He made 198 appearances over the course of a five-year stint with Schalke between 2005-2010, before joining Bayern - via a one-season stay in Italy with Genoa - a year later. He has scarcely looked back.

Since returning to Germany, Rafinha has won five Bundesliga titles, three DFB Cups and the 2012/13 UEFA Champions League. What is more, he has consistently played with an infectious smile that belies the fact he has never made more than 25 Bundesliga starts in a single one of his six full seasons in a Bayern shirt.

"I haven't played as much as I would like," Rafinha admitted after turning out 28 times in all competitions for Bayern in 2016/17. "I’ve been competing against one of the best right-backs in history, in Philipp Lahm. He never has a dip in form, he's won the World Cup, the Champions League, everything. It's been difficult for me, but I’m happy."

Watch: Rafinha on life at Bayern Munich

Not even playing second fiddle to 22-year-old Kimmich in 2017/18 has dampened Rafinha’s spirits. "Munich is like a second home to me and Bayern is in my heart. Obviously I want to be playing more, but they can rely on me. I always give 100 per cent."

Such is Rafinha’s Mr. Dependable reputation, the 32-year-old has already lined up out of position, at left-back, on 13 occasions this term. Chances are he will at least triple that return between now and May, after which his current deal at Bayern is due to expire.

There is also the little matter of the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Two of Rafinha’s four international caps came as recently as the summer and - despite his age, and competition from Dani Alves and Danilo - he could well be on the plane to Russia. It would be nothing if not deserved.

Chris Mayer-Lodge

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