Istanbul Basaksehir defender Rafael da Silva started his football career at Brazilian club Fluminense. The former Lyon and Manchester United player was an attacker before he was converted to a right-back at Fluminense. Rafael da Silva was spotted by Manchester United scout Les Kershaw when his Brazilian team was a participant at the 2005 Nike Premier Cup in the Asian nation of Hong Kong. Rafael was spotted alongside his twin brother, Fabio da Silva. Kershaw recommended the Da Silva twin brothers to legendary Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson as he advised the club to sign them. According to him, the two brothers reminded him of two little whippets.


An Arsenal scout tried to hijack the signing of both Rafael da Silva and Fabio da Silva under the noses of Manchester United and it took the timely intervention of their mother for the twin brothers to sign for the Red Devils. The Gunners scout was not given permission to speak with the two Brazilian players and that played a big part in them signing for Manchester United who received permission to speak to the twin brothers from Fluminense.

Rafael and Fabio had a first major contact with the Red Devils when they travelled to train with the club in 2005 but Manchester United didn’t agree a deal to sign them until February 2007. The two Brazilians had joined Fluminense at the age of 11 but they didn’t play for the first team before joining Manchester United in January 2008. Just like what was obtainable with his brother Fabio, Rafael da Silva was unable to play for the Red Devils until he turned 18 in July 2008. His first game for Manchester United was a 2-0 friendly win over lower league opposition Peterborough United. He was part of the Manchester United squad for the 2008/09 season.

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