Leeds hero Raphinha feared he’d lose leg in hospital after Fernandinho tackle

Leeds United forward Raphinha has revealed that he thought he would have to have his leg amputated towards the end of last season after sustaining a thigh injury.

Marcelo Bielsa’s side were in the process of recording a remarkable victory over league leaders Manchester City before their captain, Fernandinho, chopped Raphinha down in a high, late and horrendous tackle.

The Whites won the game 2-1 in mesmerising fashion, finishing the game with 28% possession, scoring with their only two shots of the game and playing the entire second half with ten men.

Stuart Dallas opened the scoring in the 42nd minute but just four minutes later captain Liam Cooper was given his marching orders.

Ferran Torres then equalised for City before Dallas grabbed his brace with a 91st-minute winner. And it was just minutes later that Raphinha was on the end of a crunching tackle that left him sidelined for almost the entire rest of the season.

Speaking to The Players’ Tribune, the former Rennes winger opened up about the injury, saying: “He (Fernandinho) hit my thigh hard.

"I’m still used to the várzea (Brazilian street football), where you put ice on it and carry on. No blood, no foul, man! You have to break your leg to get any sympathy there!

“So I told Marcelo (Bielsa), ‘Don’t worry, in two or three days I’ll be fine.’

“But when I came home and removed the bandage, my left leg was swelling. It was twice as thick as the right. My blood pressure dropped.

“I called a doctor, who took me to the hospital. The pain was so bad that I had to be given anaesthesia. I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t even get into the car.”

The 24-year-old was enjoying a brilliant breakthrough season under Bielsa, he ended the campaign on six goals and nine assists in 30 appearances and has attracted interest from top clubs all over Europe this summer.

Raphinha continued: “Apparently I had something called an internal haematoma. The doctors said I needed surgery to remove all the blood. I had never had surgery before.

“They also said I would miss the rest of the season, though sometimes it felt as if I was going to lose my leg. Thank God, they never found a blood clot, as they had feared.

“I stayed there overnight on painkillers and medicines. The next morning I went home, and after three days I could put the crutches aside.

“But then the pain returned. I had to have even more blood removed from the leg. I went to the hospital four times and the doctors drained nearly 100 millilitres.”

The ex-Sporting CP winger was ruled out for games against Liverpool, Manchester United, Brighton and Tottenham. And with Leeds in the top-half and trying to make a surge for European football, some of those games could be argued to be six-pointers.

He said: “I had a target. I was going to play the final game of the season, the one where we would have fans at Elland Road.

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“Luckily, I returned sooner than expected and even got a few minutes against Spurs. I played with a lot of pain. But in that final game, it was worth it.”

Leeds have struggled in their opening two fixtures of the 2021/22 campaign, they lost 5-1 to United on the opening weekend of the season and could only manage a 2-2 draw with Everton last weekend.

Raphinha opened his account for the season against the Toffees, firing a curling effort past Jordan Pickford in the 72nd minute.

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