Revitalised Rafinha set for new deal
ESPN FC: Perfection for Pep
Bayern Munich right-back Rafinha, whose form has enabled captain Philipp Lahm to take a role in midfield, is set to be rewarded with a new contract after his impressive performances for Pep Guardiola's side.
The 28-year-old Brazilian, whose current contract expires at the end of this season, made only six Bundesliga starts in 2012-13.
But six games into the new campaign, he has clocked up three starts in the last three games and made five appearances in total. "Rafinha is a super player," Guardiola said, with football magazine kicker predicting that a new deal will follow soon.
The former Brazil international turned down an offer from Schalke, for whom he played between 2005 and 2010, over the summer, and told Bild he wanted to stay with last season's treble-winners.
"Uli Hoeness said they are satisfied with me. Pep Guardiola also does not want me to leave," he said. "Why should I leave? I am at the best club in the world."
The quality of his performances means Lahm, who moved into midfield following injuries to Spain internationals Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez, could now be in line for a long-term positional switch at club level.
In the 4-0 win at Schalke at the weekend, he played in a holding role, with Germany international team-mates Bastian Schweinsteiger and Toni Kroos in more attacking midfield positions.
Speaking to tz, Arjen Robben praised Lahm as the "perfect all-rounder", adding: "Philipp is a player who can play everywhere. He is technically strong and has a high playing intelligence."
Meanwhile, Rafinha, the man who has made it possible for Lahm to show another facet of his game, is targeting a return to the Brazil squad for next summer's World Cup, adding: "The hope is there."