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After the game, Rafael was the last player to leave the field after applauding the travelling fans in what was a very Etihad.

It’s a very good feeling. I never lose here! I’m very happy. Everybody knows I’m a United supporter, so it’s very good to come here and get a win. First half we did brilliant and we had some chances. We pressed good, did well when we didn’t have the ball and were killer on the counter attack. We did very well all game.

Fletcher sent me a text yesterday. They others haven’t sent one yet but I think they are going to send. They are happy, surely!

Rafael made 169 appearances for United and was always well-loved by our fans. However, those feelings went up a notch on derby day when he was involved in an angry confrontation with former red, Carlos Tevez. That sort of fight has been lacking in the players since.

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He also did his reputation with the fans no harm on derby day in the 2012-13 season, following Robin van Persie’s late winner, when he was seen grabbing the badge in front of our travelling fans.


Louis van Gaal decided to let Rafael leave and the player admitted he could have signed for other English clubs.

Given how average all of the right-backs have been since, it was a clear error to allow the Brazilian to move to Ligue 1. Not just because of his footballing ability, but because of the passion he showed on the field.

If he can’t beat City while playing for United, at least he got to do it with his new team!

Rafael’s top red quotes:
July 2010

I’m so happy to have been called up to the national team and very proud. It’s my first call and I hope there will be more to come in the future. I am so lucky to play for the best team in the world, Manchester United. Now to play for my country will be a dream come true.

August 2010

There isn’t a single day that I don’t pinch myself to make sure I am not dreaming about playing for Manchester United.

July 2012

I love playing for Manchester United, there is a great team spirit here and a real desire to win. My time here has been unbelievable.

October 2012

The supporters have helped me since I came here and I’m very happy with that. Since I arrived here, the fans have been amazing, singing songs for me or stopping me and telling me I’m a true Red! I’ve been coming here to training since I was 15 years old, a long time, so I feel like I am a true Red.

December 2012

I’ve waited a long time for this – getting to this point hasn’t happened overnight. I’ve been at this club for five years and that’s a long time. At first, the goal was to just play one game for Manchester United. Then, when you achieve that, you set other targets. Now I want to play every game and become a regular in the team.

March 2014

I will never forget that game. When Nani was sent off, the supporters were crazy good and I had never seen anything like that before. It was the best atmosphere I have ever played in. It showed exactly what they can do. They can push you on and help the team going forward. I expect them to do it again and their noise could intimidate Olympiacos. I remember Jose Mourinho going back to the bench when they sang: ‘Sit down, Mourinho’. So if Mourinho was intimidated by our fans, imagine how the Olympiacos players might react!