21 - Rafael Da Silva Profile

Rafael's professional football career began with Fluminense in Brazil, where he played at youth level. Rafael and his brother Fábio were brought to the attention of Manchester United by club scout Les Kershaw in the summer of 2005 while playing for Fluminense in a youth tournament in Hong Kong. Manchester United got in touch with Fluminense and asked permission for the twins to travel to Manchester to train with them in 2005. Shortly afterwards, a scout claiming to represent Arsenal visited the twins and asked them to come to England to train with Arsenal without the permission of Fluminense; however, they were dissuaded from this by their mother, who reminded them that they had been with Fluminense since they were 11, and that they should show the club some loyalty.

Therefore, the twins decided to sign for Manchester United, and a deal was agreed between the two clubs in February 2007. The twins moved to Manchester in January 2008, but were unable to play in matches until they turned 18 in July 2008. Rafael made his first appearance for the club in a friendly match against Peterborough United on 4 August. He was then registered in the club's senior squad for the 2008–09 season and was assigned the number 21 shirt previously worn by Dong Fangzhuo. He made his competitive debut on the opening day of the 2008–09 Premier League season, coming on as a second half substitute for Fraizer Campbell against Newcastle United.

Rafael made his first start for Manchester United on 23 September 2008, playing at right back against Middlesbrough in the Third Round of the League Cup. His first start in European competition was away to Aalborg BK in the UEFA Champions League on 30 September. Selected ahead of Gary Neville and Wes Brown, Rafael turned in an impressive performance, creating problems for the Danish side with his attacking play and two well hit shots before being substituted on 66 minutes due to injury.

He made his first Premier League start in Manchester United's 4–0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on 18 October 2008. His first goal for Manchester United came in the 90th minute of his seventh game for the club, a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 8 November 2008, with a powerful volley from just inside the penalty area. At the end of the season, Rafael and his Manchester United team-mate Jonny Evans were shortlisted as one of the nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.

Related Rafael Da Silva News

  • Rafael accepts FA charge

    Manchester United full-back Rafael has requested a personal hearing after accepting a Football Association charge of improper conduct.

  • Evra: Rafael will bounce back stronger

    Patrice Evra is convinced fellow Manchester United full-back Rafael will emerge stronger for his red card torment against Bayern Munich.

  • Dislocated shoulder for Rafael

    Manchester United's pre-season preparations will have been dented with the news that promising defender, Rafael da Silva, has dislocated his shoulder.

  • Rafael agrees new United deal

    Manchester United right-back Rafael da Silva has signed a two-year contract extension - until June 2013 - at Old Trafford.