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Rafael: I Am So Unlucky!

Rafael Da Silva has made just three league appearances this season after bad luck with injuries have kept him out of the team. Even when he does get on the pitch, there are plenty of tongue in cheek sweepstakes amongst United fans predicting what time he will be subbed off with an injury.

Rafael has reflected on this bad luck but wonders whether his style of play has an influence on it.

“Some of my injuries, you just don’t hear about people having them very often,” he told the official site. “I’ve dislocated my right shoulder twice now and needed an operation to help it heal. It’s not usual for footballers to injure shoulders. And twice! I can only say it must be down to bad luck. . I like to play with passion and when I’m on the pitch I can’t worry about getting hurt or stop making tackles. I just want to play football and give my all.”

In his absence, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have played well at right back, but Rafael enjoys having the competition for a starting place in the team.

“It’s a good thing when you have that sort of competition,” he said. “When I watch Phil or Chris play at right back I just think, “Wow. Okay, I’m going to have to work even harder now if I want to get back in the team.” They’ve done really well.”

About Scott

Scott is the editor of Red Matters - 50 Years of Supporting Manchester United and an author of Play Like Fergie's Boys and Not Nineteen Forever. He writes for ESPN, The Metro and Bleacher Report. Follow @R_o_M on Twitter.

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  1. Costas says:

    Yeah whatever…

  2. Saad says:

    Body’s made of glass, heart’s made of United.

    Hang in there, Rafa. Good things come to those who try the hardest.

  3. Saad says:

    Where’s the love, Costas? ;)

  4. smartalex says:

    Well spoken Rafael!

    Ignore the rude comments of selfish fans. I feel your pain.

    Keep at it son, your mature approach in this interview heartens us, knowing that youthful exuberance can take you only so far. Get strong, fit and healthy; you have a great career ahead if you show the same maturity on the field.

  5. Costas says:


    I just don’t believe in bad luck mate. Seems like an easy excuse to me. ;) But like you, I do hope he keeps working hard and maybe over the years he and his brother will grow stronger.

  6. Jeet says:

    Love the kid. Proper fucking Red tiger. Owned Bumboy Bale and would have murdered Tevez for free. And as for luck, he’s a United player, right?

  7. Giles Oakley says:

    Ain’t he great? I’ve always like Rafael, so much guts, spirit and panache. It must be so dispiriting to have inherited the Hargreaves Glass Body, and I hope it’s just some sort of growing pains issue, like Danny Welbeck, although I do suspect Rafa is right, his injuries are caused by the way he plays. His one great weakness is his lack of judgement over when to hold off his opponent and when to fly in. He’s so physically fearless he takes risks as he dives in, quite apart from the additional hazard of yellow and red cards, as against Bayern a couple of years ago.

    On the question of dodgy shoulders, Bryan Robson was the same, always getting dislocations, both for United and England. LIke Rafa, he would go into the tackle with complete lack of fear and sometimes he’d get upended and land painfully on his shoulder, leaving him with a recurring weakness, which severely damaged our title challenges at least twice. It seemed like every time he played for England his shoulder would ‘pop out’, and he’d be sidelined for months. It didn’t help that United never had big enough squads, right through from Munich onwards. With two or three extra players United under Busby and Big Fat Ron would have won far more. Less of an issue with Tommy Docherty, he’d just sign up some unknown little Scots or Irish player and they’d charge about a bit when someone got injured.

  8. smartalex says:

    Q: Rafael, you seem unlucky with injuries..?

    “I know! Some of my injuries, you just don’t hear about people having them very often …”

    It’s not as though Rafael is trying to blame bad luck. More at manutd .com

  9. Costas says:

    He actually said “I can only say it must be down to bad luck” when he was asked if his style of play was the cause for his frequent injuries.

  10. jetelinho says:

    HE IS O.K. imho! AND – BRILLIANT PLAYER, not just talented, brilliant, & yes – atm, not 1 for the future (also of course) but probably 1st choice right now. THE BEST PLAYER ON THE PITCH AT ANFIELD btw … COME ON RAF!

  11. King Eric says:

    Costas – Hello mate. Bit harsh there fella! Some others could do with their tigerish approach. These two love United. Seen loads of footage of card schools with the British players mainly at the club but these two are always there. Good lads.

  12. wayne says:

    Normally it’s the timid that get injuries being fearless and getting stuck in is the only way to play,i love the way the lad plays.Once the shoulder has been dislocated it can become a problem,i’ve done mine about 5/6 times so that isn’t bad luck just becomes a weak point.I have no idea how far things have advanced so now maybe there is a operation that makes the shoulder as good as new otherwise that will probably become a recurring injury.

  13. Saad says:

    I guess since football is played primarily by the lower half of the body, players probably neglect strengthening their upper body just a tad bit. Makes you appreciate how great Cristiano Ronaldo is. The guy is a compulsive exerciser.

  14. Saad says:


    Rafa’s the Gary of the da Silva twins. The less talented one, but the harder worker and the more determined and most fearless. He’s bound to be more successful than Fabio provided he can come to terms with what his body can handle and play sensible football accordingly.

    I have noticed though that he’s getting smarter with his tackling. The last two yellow cards he received were undeserved. If he believes in luck, he should pray that his luck with getting stupid yellows gets better.

  15. Costas says:

    @King Eric

    Not denying that they give their all or that they love United. I like the twins personally. I am just tired of hearing about injuries getting blamed on bad luck.

  16. Jeet says:

    @Wayne: True that. For defenders, most injuries occur when you try to chicken out at the last moment and don’t get the timing right. Shins or ankles, and sometimes knees go kaput. Can’t recall having a bad one when I went hell for leather either.

  17. Jeet says:

    @Costas: Tired of injuries myself, but you got to admit that the ones that have caused the most adverse impact have been due to bad luck. Namely Vida and Fletch. Couldn’t have done a damn thing about either. Clev’s injury was down to thuggery, though one might be justified in hoping that the fitness team could have got him back quicker. I think in general the injuries may be down to bad luck, but the way they have been managed might have room for improvement.

  18. Saad says:


    I disagree about Vida’s injury. It happened in the midfield next to the by-line. The Basel player was facing his own half and there was no immediate goal threat. Vida didn’t need to try and get the ball by sticking his leg through Frei’s legs. When the collision and I saw Vida’s reaction, I knew immediately his knee was gone. It was like sticking your hand into a meat-grinder.

    Not bad luck, just over-zealousness at that point.

  19. Jeet says:

    Point taken, I guess you could say that.

  20. Costas says:


    That’s the thing. Tom’s initial injury was down to a moronic tackle from a cunt. However, that was supposed to keep him out for 1 month. And while he did return against Aldershot and Everton, he aggravated that injury and hasn’t been seen in 4 months. That’s not bad luck for me. That’s incompetence. I agree that we could have done nothing for a number of injuries. Like Vidic and Fletcher. Or Nani against Arsenal. But in general, some of our players have been getting too many injuries. Again, if a medical team or a fitness team aren’t doing their job properly, or if some players are just injury prone, I don’t consider that bad luck.


    Well keep in mind that one of those yellow cards were shown by Mike Dean and he seems to have a vendetta against Rafael. He definitely seems more disciplined than he did in the past. Just compare his performance at Anfield this year, compared to last year when he nearly lost the plot after Nani’s injury.

    But yeah, if we looked at them in comparison to the Nevilles, Rafa would be Gary.

  21. smartalex says:

    According to Nick Coppack, who interviewed Rafael for this manutd .com exclusive:

    Q – You seem unlucky with injuries…
    A – I know! Some of my injuries, you just don’t hear about people having them very often. I’ve dislocated my right shoulder twice now and needed an operation to help it heal. It’s not usual for footballers to injure shoulders. And twice! I can only say it must be down to bad luck.

    Q – Is it anything to do with your committed style of play?
    I don’t know. Maybe. But that’s the way I play. I like to play with passion and when I’m on the pitch I can’t worry about getting hurt or stop making tackles. I just want to play football and give my all.

    I don’t see the place where he actually said “I can only say it must be down to bad luck” when he was asked if his style of play was the cause for his frequent injuries. I’m missing something …

  22. Costas says:

    No that was my mistake smartalex. I didn’t remember the interview well. But he did say “I can only say it must be down to bad luck” in response to whether he’s been unlucky with injuries.

  23. smartalex says:

    Fair enough Costas, thanks!

    I agree that ‘bad luck’ is a cop out. I guess that we see Rafael’s travails in the light of our injury crisis, and we would feel more sympathetic were he an isolated case. As we are stripped to the skeleton by our injury-list, United need to put a message of reassurance, not karma.

    manutd .com are an arm of Manchester United; their mouthpiece in fact.
    They are promoting the idea that fate has conspired against us.
    We’d rather hear that a review of the medical status at United is or has been undertaken.

    Rafael however, is an unfortunate bystander taking collateral damage from our concern at the general level of fitness amongst our players. Too many are unable to play.

  24. Saad says:

    smartalex, costas

    I’m wondering when the fans are going to make a loud enough noise about the competency of our medical staff. Or am I the only who thinks their work needs to be audited?

    I dont kow any solution to bad luck. Incompetence is easier to fix.

  25. smartalex says:


    I expect that our injury list will not escape the attention of those tasked with reviewing the performance of all aspects of United. Incompetence, and any other failings will be addressed.

    Probably not done publicly, but hopefully effective action will be taken.

  26. King Eric says:

    I am sorry but do folk REALLY think our medical team are shit and Fergie wouldnt have them out on their ear? Have you seen inside Carrington and the facilities etc? Its the best facilities around. I know we seem to get a lot of injuries but I put that down to Strudwick and his vigourous training methods to ideally ensure the lads are in top shape for the run in and second half of season. Unfortunately it isnt working!! Bet though the squad is pretty much back to summat like come the run in. I dont blame Swires et al. I KNOW you do Costas!! Why should fans start having a go vocally about them when in truth they know fuck all. Thats just daft.

  27. smartalex says:

    King Eric

    You are right. So many judgements are passed on RoM without any knowledge.

    When United’s staff or tactics need refreshing, the right thing will be done. We are monitoring every aspect at United, from the hot-water geyser efficiency to the medical geezers’ efficiency. If there have been any mistakes made, they will be corrected. There is not any gross failing or misconduct to address.

    I do understand fan’s frustration. I don’t understand the anger.

  28. Costas says:


    I try not to let my frustration about the whole thing affect my opinion on Rafael. And I don’t think it is. It’s just that he made this comment and this was my opinion on it. Rafael (and the club in general imo) can do much better than blame the problem on bad luck. Of course I am not asking them to blame Swire and co. Just say “It’s an unfortunate situation, but we are trying to work on it” and move on.


    The Cleverley situation alone warrants some kind of audit in my opinion. But it’s not just the medical team. Like King Eric said, a huge amount of injuries like this could also have its roots in how the team is physically prepared to cope with the demands of a season. So I feel that Fergie should conduct some type of investigation into pre season as well as daily training sessions. Just blaming it on bad luck worries me that nothing will be done.

    @King Eric

    I’ve tried to make that point too mate. When I see a player leave a game injured, I don’t blame that on the medical team. When a player is out injured and it takes them longer than expected to return, that’s when I blame them! Like I said above, I think it’s time Fergie looked at his entire stuff and not just Swire’s team. Also, it’s not easy to get rid of valuable players just because they are injury prone, but we shouldn’t have allowed the team to depend too much on Rio and the twins (At least not until Rafa and Fabio had grown stronger than they have right now).

  29. Saad says:

    I believe that at the forefront of any kind of protest should be the wisest, most qualified and most eloquent people in the pack to represent them and state their grievances. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that the bellowing of the crowd is wrong or unwarranted. If crowds did not vent their frustrations, you would not have seen the Occupy protests or any other civil resistance movements in the world. Venting frustrations is good as long as it doesn’t get out of hand.

    I am more than anxious to hear another explanation as to why we have such persistent injury problems in our squad. I myself postulated that it’s because our players are slightly smaller than the average league player which means that in a clash of bodies, our boys are more likely to come off worse than the other team’s players. But until I hear a better explanation, I think it is prudent to investigate the efforts of our medical staff, at least to rule out any suspicion about their competence. Doctors and health practitioners don’t always get it right. It’s why people get second opinions.

    Ken Mattingly was supposed to be the pilot on Apollo 13 but he was hooked three days before the launch coz the doctors said he may had contracted German measles…which he didnt!

  30. dragon says:

    I’m a Physio and I have serious concerns about the number of injuries we’ve had this season. I don’t know what the cause is, whether it’s over-training of a particular exercise or poor rehabilitation but I would say something needs to change, far too many “re-occurrences” of previous injuries happening . I’d also like to put myself forward for the job.

  31. Shane says:

    his bad luck is better than my good luck… LOL. sitting on the side lines earning £££££££.. Give me some of that “Bad Luck” anyday.


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