For four years now Rafael has been widely regarded as one of the best young players in the game, last year was by far his best in a red shirt but there is still more to come from the 21-year old. He simply has to make that right-back position his own this upcoming season.
It feels like the twins have been around for a while now, and so far they have been inseparable, this season will be different though, Fabio has gone from starting at right-back in the 2011 Champions League final to be shipped off on loan to QPR this term. In my opinion he’s unlucky not to be included in our first-team squad this year because he clearly has talent, and bags of it too.
All of the sudden we look a bit lightweight in terms of full-backs, with the only recognized ones being Patrice Evra and Rafael. Why not keep Fabio with the club? He’s more than capable of filling in for Evra when needed, if rumours are to be believed, the £15million plus that we are set to pay for Baines could’ve gone on different areas of the squad.
You feel that this is the season where Rafael is going to make his mark on the club, he and Antonio Valencia formed a great partnership on the right hand side of the pitch last year, and there were signs that his all-round game was improving. Yes, he is still prone to the odd lapse in concentration every now and then, but as he matures his positional play will get better with experience.
The best memory of him so far though, has to be when he squared up to Tevez in the Carling Cup tie. His wears his heart on his sleeve, and that’s what I love about him, he seemingly knows what it means to us as fans, his tenacity and spirit on the pitch really is an inspiration.
In his five seasons at the club, he’s played a total of 90 times in all competitions; This year he also broke into the senior Brazil squad after often being overlooked, it’s easy to forget that he’s still only 21 and his best years are certainly ahead of him.
Here’s to hoping that the Da Silva’s are soon set to be the Brazilian equivalent of our very own Neville brothers, they definitely have the desire, and most importantly they definitely have the talent. So I don’t see why not.