Rafael da Silva Biography

Born: 9 July 1990, Rio de Janeiro
Age: 18
Clubs: Fluminense, Man Utd
Position: Right back / Right midfield

Rafael and his Twin brother Fabio were born on 9 July 1990 in Petropolis, Rio de Janeiro - the spiritual home of Brazilian football.

Both are full-backs - Rafael on the right, Fabio on the left. But the attacking ability and desire they demonstrate means that they would be equally adept at wide midfield.

The da Silva twins joined United from Fluminense, one of the four main football clubs in Rio.

The brothers were spotted by Les Kershaw, then Academy Manager, in the summer of 2005 while playing for
Fluminense in a Hong Kong youth tournament.

Rafael impressed during Under-17 World Cup finals in Korea in which Brazil were unfortunate to bow out at the last 16 stage.

Sir Alex says "I think they're both excellent footballers, I really do. They've got great enthusiasm and desire to play the game. It's a typical Brazilian situation, they just love playing. They're quick and they're determined.

"What we don't know is their game appreciation because they haven't played for a year. Their old club Fluminense didn't play them because they were joining us. Then they joined us in January (2008) but it was too late for the work permit application.

"Their 18th birthday meant we could apply through international clearance which we got only a couple of days ago. We're all delighted for the kids because they've worked so hard in training, they never miss a session and I'm really hopeful they'll do well."

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