19/10/2013 08:56,

Rafael: OT is special

Reds right-back Rafael explains why he is relishing a run of fixtures at Old Trafford...

"Matchdays are the most exciting days for me, especially at Old Trafford.

"When matchday comes, I can't wait for the game to start. I wouldn't say I have many superstitions apart from the fact I have to listen to some music exactly one hour before we have our pre-match meal. I always sit down with my laptop and put my headphones on and usually put some samba music on to get me in the mood for the game. My brother Fabio doesn't have any superstitions and he always says to me when I get my laptop out, 'what are you doing?' He can't understand it but it helps me focus.

"In the dressing room before kick-off I'm starting to get focused on the game and I don't do anything in particular to get myself ready. It's the moment when you're stood in the tunnel about to step out onto the pitch that is very special. You're nervous and excited and you can't wait for the game to start. I try to stay calm and focused. Out on the pitch, I don't tend to spend a lot of time looking around the stadium at things or taking in the occasion too much; you would lose your concentration if you did that. But I do always wave to my [older] brother in the Family Stand at the end of matches.

"Old Trafford is a great place to play football and I have a lot of great memories of playing there already, but for me I still remember how it felt to sit in the [directors] box and watch the team win 7-1 against Roma [in April 2007]. That was amazing. I thought, 'this is where I want to be, out there playing in matches like that'. That is a great memory for me. Now it is a fantastic honour to play at this stadium, it's one of the best in the world."

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