When Manchester United first signed Rafael and Fabio da Silva, it was the latter who was regarded as the player with more promise.
Hailed for his goal-scoring ability and forward drive as much as his defensive capabilities, the teenager was fresh off the back of an outstanding campaign in the 2007 FIFA under-17 World Cup, which saw him finish as Brazil’s joint top-scorer.
In 13 appearances at that level, he scored 10 goals and captained the side. And of the two fullbacks, Rafael was seen as the one requiring considerably more work.
As it was, the retirement of Gary Neville gave Rafael a chance he seized wholeheartedly, while the presence of Patrice Evra on the opposite flank meant – and continues to mean – that his twin brother rarely gets a look-in.
A loan spell at Queens Park Rangers was supposed to see him prove what he could do. But amidst the patchwork of random parts that ultimately led to relegation, Fabio got as lost as practically everyone else. Aside from Andros Townsend, who showed the young Brazilian exactly how to cease a chance when on loan.
And now reports claim Fabio is set to spend the second half of this season at Cardiff City, where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is seemingly conducting his transfer business by looking at the players United released too soon and those who have never had the chance to prove themselves.
Out of contract this summer, it has been claimed Fabio will not be signing a new deal at Old Trafford. But if he seizes his chance at the Cardiff City Stadium, perhaps that could change or, more likely, he could prove to Solskjaer that remains the player tipped for great things when he first arrived in Manchester as a teenager.
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