Ahead of Saturday’s match against Atalanta Corriere dello Sport have underlined the importance of Rafinha to Inter’s Champions League hopes, claiming that Luciano Spalletti can no longer afford to leave him out of his starting XI.
The Brazilian was left on the bench for last weekend’s defeat against Torino and appeared to be missed during the first hour of the match, with many criticising the performance of his replacement Borja Valero.
“Never without Rafinha again”, the Rome-based publication wrote on Tuesday. “There is too big a difference between when the Brazilian is on the pitch and when he isn’t to imagine that Inter can do without him.
“Their attacking play becomes faster, more vertical and more unpredictable when he is playing, and for that reason everybody at the Pinetina is working to ensure Rafinha can make his improved physical condition even better.”
For the trip to Bergamo Spalletti is expected to make two changes to the side that started on Sunday, with Matias Vecino coming in for the suspended Marcelo Brozovic and Valero making way for the ex-Barcelona midfielder.
Rafinha has made no secret of the fact that he would like to remain at Inter beyond this season and so has an extra motivation to fight for Champions League qualification, as a top four finish would greatly increase his chances of being able to stay with the Nerazzurri.