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Rafael and Fabio da Silva – A Tale of Two Twins

Rafael and Fabio da Silva

Rafael and Fabio da Silva both made their debuts for Man United on the 4th of August 2008 in a friendly against Peterborough. Both were equally impressive to fans, neutrals and critics alike. Since then Rafael has gone onto establsih himself as United’s first choice right back while Fabio looks on earning the odd spot on the bench or start in the Carling Cup.

In the first few games I watched with both Fabio and Rafael playing it was clear to see that they were both very talented, full of energy, good defensivley and, as expected from Brazilians, loved to join in the attack too. I made up my mind early on that Fabio was the more talented of the two. I felt that only a few things seperated them, they are identical twins after all, but for me Fabio seemed a lot more composed on the ball and more importantly didn’t dive in as quickly as his brother.

However, Rafael has so far made 63 appearances but Fabio has only made 22. The question I want to explore is this because of talent or situation? Rafael came to United at a good time. Gary Neville was struggling with injuries. Wes Brown and John O’Shea were performing well but lacked the same vim and vigour that Rafael possessed in joining the attack. This season all 3 have been blighted by injuries and Rafael has made the position his own with some excellent performances and is well and truly establishing himself as one of the Premier Leagues best right backs.

Fabio’s story has been slightly different. Injuries have slowed his progress down, from a shoulder injury delaying his full debut to injuries attained in his Premier League and Champions league debuts. However in both of these games he was impressive earning special mention from Fergie himself in the game against CSKA Moscow. Added to his lack of first team opportunities this season is the form of a certain Patrice Evra who is easily one of the 3 best left backs in the world.

Fabio though has been playing quite regularly for the Reserves. He is being deployed sometimes in midfield as well. His class is there for all to see. He gets stuck in, passes well and chips in with a few goals too. In fact even if he is playing left back it is not a rare sight to see him ending up in the centre forwards position looking to score. This is never an issue positionally as both he and Rafael have a boundless energy supply that means they could nearly sprint for the full 90 minutes!

Rafael has had an excellent season so far. He has cemented his position in the team and twice kept the supposed “amazing” Gareth Bale quiet.The only bad note was his sending off against Tottenham but this was a bad decision from the referee rather than a fault against Rafael. Rafael, at this point in time, would go into the team before his brother as he now has a lot more experience. He has taken advantage of injuries and his performances merit the right back spot that he is making his own.

Fabio on the other hand seems to have finally overcome his own injury problems and is on the brink of breaking in fully to the first team. If Evra was to be sold tomorrow (not that I hope he ever will be!) I think we already have the perfect replacement in Fabio da Silva. What a sight it would be to see the two da Silva twins galloping up and down the flanks either side with all their energy, enthusiasm and attacking flair.

I had a tour guide while visiting Rio who was a big Fluminense fan. United had just signed the twins from Fluminense so of course I asked him about them. He told me a friend of his went to a lot of the youth games and used to laugh about how the twins used to switch the play to each other from opposite wings at least 3 or 4 times in every game. Unfortunately the tour guide never got to see the twins play for the first team, but hopefully we will see a lot of them in future years!

What do you think? Which one impressed you most at first?

Submitted by Glory Glory Man Utd



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  2. mark wiles

    January 25, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Both Fabio and Rafael are great with the latter the more confident of the 2 due to having played more games. I would prefer to see both deployed as wingers as to be honest both are very rash and tend to dive towards the ankles to stop people getting past them. I think they will both chalk up plenty of red/yellow cards. But I love them and think they are both great lads. Rafael was wrong to get angry about being sent of but to be fair it was just and he didnt deserve to go. But yes play them as wingers as back up for Valencia, Obertan and Nani and lets watch them fly. Mark from Witham Essex

  3. mark wiles

    January 25, 2011 at 1:03 pm

    I know its a different subject but can I just ask. Michael Carrick!!!!! Ive been a united fan for 32 years and for the life of me, I just dont know what we see in him. He doesnt score, he loses posession lots and just does nothing for me. With Hargreaves never likely to be back (such a shame because he was quality) we only really have Scholesy, Anderson and Fletch, i bet barca and Real laugh at us to be honest. We do need a quality central midfielder like Diarra. We dont need lots of players but we are crying out for one new face else we will suffer burnout in the run in. Would love to hear others thoughts

  4. mark wiles

    January 25, 2011 at 1:10 pm

    My best United 11 in the 32 years ive followed them is *with 7 subs) Van der Sar ,Parker, Bruce, Vidic, Albiston, Coppell, Robson, Cantona, Ronaldo, Hughes, Van Nistelrooy. Subs Schmeichel, Pallister,Kanchelskis, Giggs,Scholes, Solsksjaer, Evra. What do people think

  5. mark wiles

    January 25, 2011 at 3:42 pm

    does no one read this website?

  6. Weuji

    January 25, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Hi Mark! A fan from Singapore here…
    Supported United since 91 or is it 92 when they beat Barca 2-1 in the Cup winners cup. Anyway…what about Keane?

  7. mark wiles

    January 25, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Hi Weuji,

    Keane not a patch on Robson, i actually thought he was average compared to Robbo. But then I have never been a Neville fan either.

  8. mc

    January 26, 2011 at 8:38 am

    the twin is top right back . he look like a school boy bcs he surrounded by world class player

  9. mark wiles

    January 26, 2011 at 10:11 am

    what mc?

  10. Elizabeth

    March 3, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I’m an offical no1 fan of the bazilian twins..:) they are a big part of man utd and there future there shall be bright..lets hope anyways…

  11. zaila sail

    April 10, 2011 at 11:17 am

    what a wordaful team work guys

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