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Rafael da Silva

This season Rafael has established himself as United’s number 1 right-back. His improvement as a defender and his speed are what would give Sir Alex the confidence to start in this final. Up against  David Villa or Pedro Rodriguez his speed and awareness would be tested as they a both are quick and clever with their movement. He reads the game well and many of his interception either result in him going on an a bustling run forward once there is space for him to attack or he’ll look for a supporting midfielder to execute a quick 1-2. His positivity would be a plus in helping United transition from defence to attack.  The young Brazilian is naturally an attacking full-back and is very crafty with the ball at his feet and in the attacking phase can create goal scoring opportunities for himself and others with his wonderful link up play in and around the penalty area and his deadly crosses into the box.

Rafael’s energetic and over-enthusiastic style of play can also be a liability. He often dives into tackles (leading the team with 3.6 tackles in the Premeir League and 3.5 in the Champions League) and this causes him to be out of position when he does not win the ball. He also has a tendency of committing silly fouls, often while diving in or when simply closing down opponents. He would also have to be very selective in making his forward runs as he would not want to be caught out of position because Barcelona counters with speed and precise passing and their moves usually end with a clinical finish.

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