Injury, plus the rise of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling, then slowed his burgeoning appearance tally during the dramatic 2011/12 campaign, prompting a deal for the Samba star to join QPR on loan for the entire 2012/13 season.
Despite Fabio's absence, the United manager was convinced the defender has the wherewithal to succeed at Old Trafford, admitting: "I think a year out at a good level playing every week will make Fabio a real top player for us.”
Although, as Harry Redknapp's side were relegrated from the Barclays Premier League, things didn't quite go to plan for Fabio - who made 23 invaluable appearances whilst at Loftus Road.
"It didn't go the way I wanted,” Fabio explained. “We had a bad start, lost confidence and never got back on track. Redknapp tried hard but it was too late. Of course, there were too many changes at the club - too many new players."
Thankfully, many valuable lessons were learned and the versatile full-back returned to Carrington a wiser man with greater ambition, drive and experience.