Former Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva has spoken about his exit from the club under Louis van Gaal and has revealed that he was never afforded an explanation on the decision
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Former Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva has opened up on his departure from the club under Louis van Gaal.
The Brazilian burst onto the scene – alongside his identical twin brother Fabio – at the club in the final years of Sir Alex Ferguson’s time in the Old Trafford hotseat.
Primarily a right-back, Rafael and his twin moved to United when they were aged just 18 and having never played a senior game for Fluminense in Brazil.
Rafael would clock up 170 first-team appearances for the Red Devils while his brother made over 50 appearances before leaving permanently for Cardiff City in January 2014 when David Moyes was boss.
Rafael Da Silva (left) alongside his twin brother Fabio Da Silva at Man United
It would be another 18 months under Rafael would also depart Old Trafford, when he was sold to French club Lyon on a four-year contract for an undisclosed fee.
Six years later, Rafael – now playing for Istanbul Basaksehir in Turkey – has revealed he was never afforded a proper explanation from boss van Gaal on why he was sold.
The twins are now having their story told in a new book: The Sunshine Kids: Fabio & Rafael Da Silva.
He explained in quotes carried by The Athletic : “I never got an explanation.
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“When van Gaal arrived, he just said: ‘OK, you leave’. He came in with an idea of the players he wanted, and didn’t want, and set about making those changes instantly.
“He never explained it to me. But I’ve heard a few explanations from other people and, even before he arrived, everyone was telling me, ‘He hates Brazilians’.
“I don’t know if it’s true or not but I heard it started with Rivaldo when Van Gaal was manager of Barcelona. He put Rivaldo on the bench and Rivaldo started speaking badly of him, trying to sack him, you know.
“After that, they say he started to hate Brazilians: ‘Those Brazilians love to sack managers’, something like that.”
Where Man United wrong to sell Rafael da Silva? Comment below
Rafael da Silva alongside Louis van Gaal during a Man United pre-season training session in 2014
Van Gaal refuted those claims when asked about them: “You can’t imagine a human being or coach — if he doesn’t think one Brazilian is professional — thinks the same of the rest of the population of Brazil.”
Van Gaal clarified that the reason was simple: Antonio Valencia had been converted from a winger into a right-back and was his preferred option.
The boss added: “He (Rafael) was played out of the team by Antonio Valencia. Honestly, he lost the battle with Valencia.
“I transformed Valencia from a right-winger to a right full-back. Valencia also played as a right full-back after my dismissal for the coach Jose Mourinho, so was my choice a bad one?”
Fabio recalled the incident when his brother informed him of the news: “I remember, the first day he (Van Gaal) arrived, my brother phoned me.
“He said, ‘I can’t believe it, the coach just told me, ‘You need to leave’. My brother was in shock. There was no explanation, Van Gaal just didn’t want my brother there, straight away.”
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