The defender has revealed he feels old when he looks at his United career so far and is willing to help younger players in the squad ahead of the new Premier League season.
Rafael played superbly last year to turn himself into the first choice right back for the Premier League champions and it seems to be a status within the squad, which he is relishing.
“I always try and help. I know how hard it is to get into the first-team. I know it's very difficult and you need some help so I always try my best to help everyone,” he told the Mirror.
Rafael will be an important part of Manchester United’s team under David Moyes and he’s making all of the right noises as far as the new boss is concerned.
It’s very important that United move forward into next season, with every single experienced player at the very top of their game and looking to help those around them struggling for form or to get into the side.
Rafael has put concerns about his consistency to one side and the fact he’s looking to show a great sense of leadership and responsibility should help United improve on their defensive problems, which appeared at the start of last season.
He’s right to suggest that the current crop of young first team players at United are just starting to get their foot through the door in terms of their football development and progressing as a side.
He’s showing great initiative in terms of the mindset to look towards the next generation of players coming up through the ranks.
“If you see all the players now, we are starting to mature – We were young - me, Jones, Chris Smalling, David De Gea, Danny Welbeck - we were all young. Now we are getting to the age of 24 or 25 and that's a good age. We need to improve every day,” he added.
There are going to be big challenges everywhere for United next season. Chelsea will be strong under Jose Mourinho and Manchester City have proven to be more than just a thorn in the side.
All of the great successful teams of the past and present thrive because they have more than one leader on the pitch.
If United can benefit from the leadership qualities of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra, then it gives a chance for the passion of Rafael to progress along the same lines.
The Brazilian has a big challenge himself to prove he’s more than just a one season wonder but his mindset is in the perfect place and if he wants to offer youngsters advice and help them develop, then Moyes is not going to stop him.
Do you think Rafael will play as well next season?
image: © Andrea Sartorari