Following the capture of young Cottbus striker Nils Petersen last week, Bayern have announced the second new face for the 2011/12 season. Brazilian defender Rafinha, who spent last term in Serie A with CFC Genoa, signed a three-year contract at the Säbener Strasse on Wednesday, keeping him with FCB until 30 June 2014. The 25-year-old returns to the Bundesliga for an undisclosed fee.
“We’ve signed Rafinha, an established and experienced player, to add even greater stability to our defence. We’ll also benefit from his footballing skill. We’re very pleased we’ve been able to reach agreement with him and Genoa over his transfer to Munich,” FCB director of sport Christian Nerlinger commented.
Rafinha, whose given name is Marcio Rafael Ferreira de Souza, played for Schalke from 2005 until 2010, making 153 appearances in the Bundesliga and 31 in European competition before moving to the Italian top flight last summer. In Genoa, where he lined up with former Bayern striker Luca Toni until the winter transfer period, the right-sided defender played 34 league games for the side who ultimately finished tenth.
“I’m delighted my transfer to Munich has worked out and that I’ll be playing in the Bundesliga again,” commented Rafinha, whose career highlight to date is a bronze medal at the 2008 Olympic Football Tournament in Beijing with a Brazil U-23 team also including FCB centre-back Breno. The player said his target with Bayern was “finally to win the trophies I’ve been denied so far. I’ll now be facing the best teams and the best players in the world, and I’m very happy.”
During Rafinha’s spell in Gelsenkirchen, Schalke won the League Cup and finished runners-up in the Bundesliga twice. The 1.72 metre (5 ft 8 in) right-back, who weighs in at a slimline 66 kg (145 pounds) and has earned one senior cap for Brazil to date, is now aiming to add significant honours to his collection.
Rafinha’s arrival means Bayern captain Philipp Lahm is likely to switch flanks to left-back, a position he has filled with distinction in the past. “We discussed this option in advance with our new coach Jupp Heynckes,” Nerlinger revealed, “and Mr Heynckes explicitly welcomed this combination.” Lahm has also signalled his approval to a return to the left side of defence.