After spending 7 years at Old Trafford, right back Rafael Da Silva has parted ways with United. Over 170 appearances he scored 5 goals and got 15 assists, helping Manchester United to 3 Premier League titles, 3 Community Shields, 1 League Cup and a FIFA Club World Cup.
From Brazil to Manchester
United forked out £4.2 million* to bring Brazilian fall back twins, Rafael and Fabio Da Silva, to England. Their transfer from Fluminese was completed at the start of the January transfer window in the 2007/08 season.
Rafael was a right back and Fabio a left back. Having captained Brazil at all youth levels, Fabio was tipped as the better prospect.
After arriving at Old Trafford, both were put into the youth team for the remainder of the season, meaning that they missed out on being in the Champions League winning team.
At the start of the following season both Da Silva twins were moved into the first team. Rafael then excelled above his brother, mainly due to getting more first team opportunities. With Gary Neville edging towards retirement and Patrice Evra getting better each year, Rafael was able to edge into his favoured position where as Fabio could not.
A Turbulent Time at Old Trafford
Over Rafael’s 7 years at United he only really cemented himself as the first choice right back in the 2012/13 season. He played 40 games for United and scored over half of his total career goals, 3. He also got 4 assists.
He was known for being somewhat of a hot head, making very rash challenges and bad tackles once stripped of possession. He has 36 yellow cards, two double yellows resulting in a sending off and 3 straight red cards.
Some of these bookings weren’t entirely deserved though. His red card against Chelsea was an example of this. Rafael swung a leg out behind Sideshow-Bob (David Luiz) to stop him from turning with the ball. The Simpson’s character then bounded up and to the floor, wailing out and tucking his legs up. His acting convinced the lineswoman to signal for a foul and Howard Webb then showed red. The replays showed that not only did Rafael’s foot never connect with Luiz, but Luiz was then seen to be laughing about his blatant dive.
Out of Favour with LvG
Last season Louis Van Gaal was brought in to recover Manchester United from a miserable season under David Moyes. During this transition from Moyes to returning to a Champions League place saw Rafael’s appearances fall from 29 to 11.
Unfortunately for the Brazilian he didn’t fit into Van Gaal’s system, and right wing power house, Luis Antonio Valencia, had his position changed to right back. It was clear that Rafael’s Old Trafford days were drawing to a close.
The Lyon Challenge
Rafael has reportedly been sold for the same price that United got him for 7 years ago, £2.1 million*. This is a bargain for the French side as he greatly improves their current right back options.
Rafael will have to contend with Christophe Jallet and Mehdi Zeffane for a first team place. Jallet was the first choice for Lyon last season and he was only transfered in at the start of last season. Lyon snapped him up from PSG for just over £1 million*. Zeffane is a product of Lyon’s academy but the 23 year old hasn’t been able to secure a first team place.
Either Lyon got Rafael because they love a good bargain or they realised that their new right back just wasn’t good enough. In any case, Rafael should start every Ligue 1 and Champions League game for Olimpique next season.