Chennaiyin FC over the years have had some great players including the likes of Elano, Stiven Mendoza and Bernard Mendy, but nobody excites the Chennaiyin FC fans like Raphael Augusto. His flair and tricky style of play have won him many plaudits and he is widely regarded as one of the best players in the Indian Super League.
Raphael Augusto started his career at boyhood club, Fluminense. He struggled to break into the first team and managed to play just fifty minutes over two seasons. He left Fluminense in 2011 to join a series of clubs on loan including DC United in the MLS and Legia Warsaw in Poland. Raphael never really settled at any club through his career until he joined Chennaiyin FC back in 2015. The Brazilian is in his fourth season at Chennaiyin FC, and we take a look at what makes him so special for the club.
Style of Play
Raphael Augusto started his career as a central midfielder and was often deployed as a deep-lying playmaker but has played in different positions in the midfield for Chennaiyin. He is known for his ability to break down possession, technique, football intelligence, work-rate, vision, and passing accuracy.
Marco Materazzi deployed Raphael at the centre of three-man midfield in his 4-3-1-2 formation. John Gregory initially used Augusto as a central midfielder in his 3-4-3 formation but started using him in the number ten role after switching to a 4-2-3-1 to utilise his offensive abilities. He thrived in his new role helping Chennaiyin FC win the 2017-18 Indian Super League.
Raphael Augusto is expected to play in the position of central midfield for Chennaiyin FC in the upcoming season of ISL due to the departure of Bikramjit Singh and an injury to Dhanpal Ganesh.
Raphael is a good reader of the game and loves time on the ball, he would often drop deeper despite playing in an advanced position to get the ball and quickly pick out players making attacking runs. He has immense ability to split defences and play through balls, he played 2.4 key passes per game last season.
Below is a typical situation where Raphael drops deeper, wins the ball and quickly plays it forward to Gregory Nelson which resulted in a goal for Chennaiyin FC.
Augusto dictates the attacking moves of the whole team and not just attacks on the goal. Chennaiyin FC’s defensive midfielders last season were not good ball players, so it was Raphael’s job to collect the ball from deeper positions to help Chennaiyin set up attacks.
Often Raphael’s defensive contribution gets shadowed by his offensive display. He is dynamic, hardworking and an exceptional ball winner. Augusto doesn’t really have great pace but makes it up with his excellent reading of the game and positional sense. This helps him cut down opposition attacks.
Goal Scoring Ability
Raphael is not a natural goalscorer and had only registered one goal in his career for Chennaiyin FC back in 2015. But he vastly improved that aspect of his game last season when he scored four times (one goal was unjustly taken away from him).
He often arrives in the box late finding himself in goal scoring positions. He is also deadly from outside the box, getting himself into good positions and putting in some powerful longshots. Raphael is also a good penalty taker.
Raphael Augusto is probably the best dribbler in the whole of Indian Super League, and his stats over the last few seasons are a testament to that. He can take on multiple players in an instant and averages over three dribbles per game with a success rate of over 78%. Raphael Augusto is also one of the most fouled players in the Indian Super League averaging 1.9 fouls suffered per game.
Expectations For 2018-19
The defending champions have a tough season ahead if they wish to retain their title. After the departure of Bikramjit and injury to Dhanpal Ganesh, Raphael will have his work cut out leading a young midfield. Chennaiyin will also be playing in the AFC Cup, and Raphael will be vital if they wish to progress further in the continental tournament.