Despite claiming a League Cup winners' medal, Rafael's sophomore season was blighted by various injuries before a controversial dismissal against Bayern Munich in the Champions League blotted his copybook. That incident, however, proved the making of the man.
Although the 2010/11 season was at times undermined by injury issues, Rafa matured and enjoyed several highlights and, with Neville calling time on his career, the right-back slot was his in 2011/12 as the burgeoning partnership with wing commander Antonio Valencia shone through. His 40 appearances and three outstanding goals helped as United reclaimed the title in 2012/13 and earned him a new four-year deal.
"I think I've just been consistent this season," he told ManUtd.com. "I think I'm getting more mature and it's been a very good season for me."
Unfortunately, a spate of injuries disrupted the Brazilian's 2013/14 campaign, but he still managed 29 appearances in all competitions, demonstrating his importance to the United defence.