Sir Alex Ferguson hinted some time ago that he would pin his faith in the Brazilian to keep Ronaldo in check, which may seem a tall order considering the former United favourite's current form.
However, Rafael has been impressing all term and was the outstanding player in Sunday's 2-0 victory against Everton, while also managing to stifle man-of-the-moment Gareth Bale during the recent draw at Tottenham.
Not only will these factors give confidence to the South American but he has also stressed that Ronaldo is not an unknown quantity after coming up against him in training many times at Carrington.
When asked by United Review about Bale, Rafael replied: "He’s quick. I have to say that he is very quick! If you concentrate, and that’s the key word, and read the game, it helps.
"It’s important because he’s quicker than me, even though I am quick as well. Sometimes if you can read the ball before it gets to him, it can be effective."
In terms of whether marking Bale could be seen as good practice for coming face-to-face with Ronaldo, he said: "Of course. They are both very quick but maybe they are just different. Ronaldo is right-footed and plays a different type of game. He can come inside and shoot with power but both of them are tough players to come up against.
"I think I know Ronaldo as I trained with him. I know what he can do because I played and trained with him a lot. So he’s not the type of