FC Barcelona Star Raphinha And Torres In Locker Room Rift Over Spaniard’s ‘Preferential Treatment’

Ferran Torres and Ansu Fati were involved in a row ove ra penalty against Valencia.
FC Barcelona stars Raphinha and Ferran Torres could be on a collision course over the preferential treatment the Spaniard receives.

Perceived “preferential treatment” that Ferran Torres receives from FC Barcelona head coach Xavi Hernandez is causing tension in the Camp Nou locker room and “jealousy” in positional rival Raphinha, according to a report.

Even after he scored what proved to be a 15th minute winner at their home stadium, Raphinha was brought off early again and not allowed to complete the full 90 minutes against Valencia on Sunday in a 1-0 victory that fired Barca to an eventual nine point lead at the top of La Liga.

Last time this happened, when Raphinha provided an assist and scored the equalizer in a 2-2 draw against Manchester United last month, the Brazilian reportedly kicked a drinks refrigeratorwhich caused his absence in a 2-0 win over Cadiz where his replacement Torres shone and was given the MVP award.

An injury to striker Robert Lewandoswki has allowed for both men to feature in the same side as of late, but Raphinha is said to have been left unhappy by his substitution leaving him feeling ‘despised’ according to El Nacional.

The Catalan digital newspaper says that Raphinha “wants to take advantage of every minute to earn continuity” in the first team and “does not understand” Xavi bringing him off when he has been the best player on the pitch – especially when this comes as a benefit for other players such as Torres who have performed below par.

Torres played the duration of the Valencia clash, and it is clamed there is a growing feeling he receives “preferential treatment” no better seen than in the debacle that led to him missing a penalty early in the second half that would have doubled Barca’s lead.

Granted Lewandowski wasn’t on the pitch. But Franck Kessie, who took penalties at former club AC Milan, was and could have while Ansu Fati was another option.

A tussle over the ball played out between Fati and Torres, who eventually scuffed his shot and put 10-men Barca in a position where they had to suffer on the backfoot for 35 minutes to keep their lead intact.

Xavi attempted to play down the row by explaining there is a list of penalty takers devised by the coaching staff. “It’s ok,” he also said, when it was pointed out that Raphinha had encouraged Fati to step up. ” You have to have personality and desire to shoot penalties. But we decide and we have an order.”

With Ousmane Dembele’s return on the horizon, and a possible rejig back to the four-man midfield system that only requires one pure winger, Raphinha and Torres are likely to be shifted back to the bench later this month.

The misfit pair could also be sold given Barca must shave €200 million ($212.5 million) from the wage bill to balance Financial Fair Play, and it may be possible to recoup some of the hefty transfer fees paid for them last year.

While Torres cost €55 million ($58.6 million) from Manchester City, Barca are said to have paid Leeds United €60 million ($64 million) for Raphinha.

Whether there is really jealousy on Raphinha’s part is questionable, though. He will undoubtedly be dismayed by not being allowed to complete games time and again, but he went out of his way to publicly apologize to Torres after his Manchester United strop and they have always seemed to have gotten on well with one another.

If there really were rifts in the dressing room, Barca wouldn’t have been able to rise to their lofty position in La Liga which puts them on course to clinch their first Spanish top flight title in four years.

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