Ex-Bayern Munich defender Rafinha eyeing Gremio debut


RIO DE JANEIRO, March 30 (Xinhua) — Former Bayern Munich and Brazil international right-back Rafinha has declared himself ready to make his debut for new club Gremio despite a lack of recent matches.

The 35-year-old, who agreed to a nine-month contract with the Porto Alegre club last week, has not played since making his final appearance for Greece’s Olympiacos on January 27.

“I’ve never had any physical problems. I am a player who doesn’t need much time to get fit,” Rafinha said during his first press conference as a Gremio player on Tuesday.

“I will only need a few days. I haven’t played for a [while], but I’ve been training hard and will only need a few days to be available.”

Rafinha left Olympiacos by mutual consent in February, less than six months after joining the club on a free transfer from Flamengo. He played 22 matches for the reigning Greek Super League champions.

“I talked to [Gremio manager] Renato [Portaluppi] about 10 days ago and, of course, when a possibility arises like Gremio, you don’t think twice,” Rafinha said. “I expressed my desire to come to Gremio and work with Renato. I made it clear I wanted to play here.”

Rafinha raised the prospect of reuniting with former Bayern Munich teammate Douglas Costa, who is reportedly close to joining the club where his professional career began in 2008.

“Douglas has been my friend for a long time,” he said. “We had a wonderful time at Bayern. To play together again would be spectacular, but it is out of my control.”

Capped four times for Brazil’s national team, Rafinha’s career has also included spells at Coritiba, Genoa and Schalke. Enditem


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