Rafael has been one of the most consistent players at Manchester United this season and his performance against QPR yesterday is something that few other right backs around the world could have replicated.
He was superb, going forward and in defence and if he maintains that level of performance throughout the rest of the season and beyond, he could quickly become one of the best right backs the club has ever had.
Plenty of people will be purring about his goal this morning which will surely be the goal of the month. It was possibly the best he could have connected with the ball as he fired it into the top corner from just outside the box.
For a small man, he seems to like taking on a big role of responsibility which was personified when he clear the ball off the line from a Christopher Samba header, which kept United in front.
He also looks a lot more disciplined in terms of his defensive position than he did last season or when he first broke into the United team. He seems to have learned about staying close to the central defenders and not drifting, which leaves space.
The effect this has is that it helps the United back four to become a lot more solid and compact, which is important as they look to see out the title race over the remainder of the season.
Possibly the most remarkable thing about his performance yesterday and his play at the moment, is his effectiveness when getting forward to provide another outlet for the attacking players.
The timing of his runs was brilliant yesterday. He knew when to go on the attack and go for a long attacking run but he also showed great vision of the game when he decided to hold his right back position.
He almost set Robin Van Persie up for a beautiful goal with a precision cross over the top of the QPR defence and onto the Dutchman’s left foot, which may have rivalled his goal for the goal of the month.
There are a lot of reasons for Manchester United fans to be rest easy and be confident with this lad because there are few right backs in world football at the moment, better than he is.
What do you think?
image: © Andrea Sartorari