Barcelona midfielder Rafinha is eager to tackle Inter in the Champions League, though he thought he would be on the other side of the divide after spending six months on loan at San Siro earlier this year.
The 25-year-old made a positive impression in Serie A but failed to seal a permanent move to the Nerazzurri in the summer.
Rafinha featured 17 times in the second half of last term and seemed to have done enough to secure a move, only to be overlooked.
“It wasn’t expected,” he told Mundo Deportivo, concerning his return to Barcelona.
“Painful is not the word for Inter’s decision. I had a few months there in which things went very well, I regained confidence after a long injury. My team-mates and the fans made me feel very comfortable, like I was at home.
“It was a busy summer and because of the uncertainty of what was going to happen it wasn’t very clear. Things were changing, but I was at home, comfortable at being with the best team in the world.”
His spell in Italy was, nevertheless, an enjoyable one.
“I felt like a footballer again and I was happy doing what I like the most. For me, it was an incredible experience,” he said.
“I was surprised I enjoyed it so much. My team-mates were excellent, the squad was fantastic. What stayed with me is the passion the fans have. It reminded me of how they experience football in Brazil.”
While he is looking forward to the reunion with his former club, he thinks they are a team not to be treated lightly.
“There were times last season when they were better away than at home,” he pointed out. “When I played, it was a team that changed a lot. So I think anything could happen.”
Rafinha is not willing to commit his future to Barca unconditionally, despite having remained with the club after the summer transfer window closed.
“If they don’t count on me in January, then the best thing for me and them would be a way out. But I’m happy here,” he admitted.
“I want to play football. I don’t care how and where. If I’m physically well, I’ll be prepared for whatever comes.”
Rafinha has played four times for Barca in the 2018-19 campaign.