Manchester United defender Rafael desperate for chance to play for Brazil again
The right-back has fallen out of favour since the Olympics
Wednesday 17 July 2013
Manchester United defender Rafael has been stung by suggestions he is not interested in playing for Brazil.
Despite being one of the most improved players at Old Trafford, and claiming a third Premier League title winners' medal last season, Rafael's history with the Selecao is a chequered one.
The full-back was called into the senior squad for the first time in 2010 but did not make his debut for another two years, when he came on as a substitute against Denmark.
He was then selected for Brazil's Olympic squad last summer, which was supposed to provide the platform for a World Cup challenge on home soil in 2014.
But Rafael was blamed for a key error in Brazil's final defeat by Mexico at Wembley, since when he has disappeared from the senior squad completely and was overlooked for the recent Confederations Cup when coach Luis Felipe Scolari opted to select only one orthodox right-back in Dani Alves.
The perception is Rafael does not care, having left his homeland on his 18th birthday along with twin brother Fabio to take up a contract offer with the Red Devils.
But, Rafael insists, the perception is wrong.
"People think I don't want to play for Brazil because I left at such a young age," he told Press Association Sport.
"That is not true at all.
"My brother and I left because life for any young Brazilian player is full of uncertainty.
"It is the same in England but we knew Manchester United represented a big chance for us.
"The people back home thought we didn't care. We do care.
"I would love the chance to play for my country again.
"I don't think about it so much because of what has happened and because there is a lot to do with my club but the dream of playing in the World Cup for Brazil in Brazil never goes away.
"I would love it to happen."
As Brazil triumphed at the Confederations Cup, Rafael is not going to force his way back into Scolari's plans particularly easily, especially when the last memory of his representing his country in a high-profile game was to gift the ball to Mexico for their first-minute opener in that Olympic final.
No matter Brazil had 89 minutes to rectify the situation.
"I always say the Olympics were the best thing that has ever happened to me," said Rafael.
"It made me much stronger as a person. Up to the semi-final, everyone was saying good things about me and how well I was doing.
"After we lost the final it was all my fault. (With Brazil) there always has to be someone to blame - it doesn't matter whether it is Under-17s, Under-19s, anyone - and I was it.
"People said lots of things but I said to myself 'don't let it affect you'.
"I am a stronger person because of it because nothing can be like that again."
Latest in Sport
Chelsea vs Tottenham combined XI: Hugo Lloris or Thibaut Courtois? Willian or Christian Eriksen? Who makes the final cut?
Manchester United vs Sunderland match report: Wayne Rooney scores twice but referee Roger East sends off Wes Brown instead of John O'Shea
AP McCoy on Arsenal: 'If I was performing that bad I'd have retired a long time ago'
Carl Frampton vs Chris Avalos; Tyson Fury vs Christian Hammer; Dmitry Chudinov vs Chris Eubank Jr - boxing on TV this weekend
Manchester United player ratings: Just how bad was Angel Di Maria to be withdrawn at half-time?
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Man to be beheaded in Saudi Arabia after ripping up a Koran and hitting it with his shoe
- 3 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 5 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory