Augusto, the cutting edge to Bengaluru's midfield

After recovering from a pre-season surgery, Raphael Augusto is raring to get started when Bengaluru FC takes on NorthEast United in its first fixture.

Raphael Augusto's addition strengthens the midfield options for Carles Cuadrat.   -  Special Arrangement

The enduring image that Bengaluru FC (BFC) fans have of midfielder Raphael Augusto is from the 2017-18 ISL final at the Sree Kanteerava Stadium when he, in a Chennaiyin FC shirt, ran the home defenders ragged. This season, they are set to be spared the agony, for the Brazilian has become one of their own.

“At this stage in my career, the move to BFC was an interesting challenge,” Augusto said on Friday. “I achieved great things in Chennai but I always paid attention to the style BFC played and the players it had. I want to make a new step in my career and at 28 years I feel it is the right time.”

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The move comes with a few strings attached. At Chennai, Augusto was the undoubted superstar, with the team set-up to maximise his talent. At Bengaluru he will have to compete for a slot in the midfield that already has the likes of Erik Paartalu and Dimas Delgado.

“I was the leader in Chennai and here it is new,” he said. “This is a very competitive environment. So I have to push myself. But I’m looking forward to help this club achieve and win more trophies.”

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Raphael Augusto is put through the paces as Bengaluru FC gears up for its season opening game against NorthEast United.   -  K.Murali Kumar

 

“It's a challenge for Rapha to get a place and make an impact in the team,” opined BFC manager Carles Cuadrat. “But it's also a challenge for me to draft him into the XI. We're both enjoying it! We like to keep the ball a lot and he loves to play with the ball. So everyone is happy!”

Paartalu, the defensive midfielder from Australia, felt that Augusto’s addition will lend BFC a cutting edge. “You want Rapha to get the ball in the final third, turn and play that killer pass,” he said.

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“You don’t want him running about mad, trying to defend. But I also think he understands that at BFC there is a big emphasis on the team. It will be good for him to play around good players. It's up to us to find good passes to get to him.”

After recovering from a surgery in the pre-season to correct an issue with his knee cap, Augusto is raring to go. “It is like a family, with the players, the staff and the fans supporting me a lot,” he said. “I am looking forward to the journey.”

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