The former Premier League star who played a key role in Brazil’s Raphinha u-turn

Former Premier League star Juninho played a key role in ensuring Raphinha is available to face Liverpool at Elland Road on Sunday.

Raphinha was among a host of South American Premier League footballers facing a five-day ban after turning down a call up to their respective national teams due to uncertainty over quarantine rules.

However, after strong opposition from the PL and English FA, the Brazilian FA decided to withdraw their request to prevent the players from featuring this weekend late on Friday night.

Had Raphinha travelled, he would have missed two of Leeds United’s fixtures, against Liverpool on Sunday and then the trip to Newcastle United on Friday.

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The withdrawal of this request now also means both Alisson Becker and Fabinho will be in Jurgen nKlopp’s squad for their trip to West Yorkshire.

And now according to the Liverpool Echo, it has become apparent that former Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho was the driving force behind the decision.

“Juninho was in constant contact with both Alisson and Fabinho and worked behind the scenes to find a solution while showing empathy for the players, who had each expressed their desire to ideally represent both their club and country,” report the ECHO.

“Liverpool are believed to have been impressed with the professionalism and communication of the Brazilian, who while strongly advocating the interests of the Brazil FA was nevertheless understanding of the unique situation.”

Brazil is on the UK’s travel red list and therefore talks between the relevant Premier League clubs and government are likely to resume over the next few weeks in order to avoid similar complications at the next international break.

The players have reportedly conveyed their wish to represent both club and country in the future.

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