be a little impetuous, particularly after being targeted by the German side when on a booking, with ten-man United crashing out on the away goals rule.
Nonetheless, he put the incident behind him to edge his way towards being first-choice for much of the 2010/2011 season, combining bravery, technique and limitless energy to great effect. The manager tended to alternate the Brazilian with John O'Shea, although the Reds were well stocked for right-backs with Gary Neville and Wes Brown also in the mix. Injury proved to be his undoing and, ironically, it was to be Fabio who took the full-back slot for the Champions League final defeat to
Barcelona while Rafael watched from the stands.
After starting the Community Shield win over Manchester City at the start of 2011/12, the injury curse struck again when Rafael dislocated his shoulder and kept him out until late November. His return - in the forgettable Carling Cup defeat to Crystal Palace - was shortlived when he pulled a hamstring during the game, ensuring he was sidelined until the New Year's Eve loss to Blackburn (during which he played in midfield alongside Ji-sung Park). He impressed at right-back thereafter, when he got the nod over closest competitor for the spot, Phil Jones, and linked up particularly