Sir Alex Ferguson would frequently get me and Fabio mixed up: Rafael

The Da Silva twins were a famous pair at Old Trafford, winning multiple trophies at the club during the latter part of the Ferguson era.

Rafael Da Silva
Rafael Da Silva Reuters

Brazil international and former Manchester United player Rafael Da Silva says that Sir Alex Ferguson would invariably get him and his twin brother Fabio mixed up during the initial years at the club.

The Brazilians moved to England from Fluminense in January 2008, and although Rafael enjoyed more game time at Old Trafford – making 169 appearances to Fabio's 56 – the pair were able to lift the Premier League title together in 2010/11, as reported by the Manchester Evening News.

Rafael scored a famous left-footed volley consolation goal, his first for the club, against rivals Arsenal at the Emirates stadium in the 2008-09 season. And has remained a fan favourite ever since.

He would go on to score another famous goal against bitter rivals Liverpool at Anfield, when Sir Alex Ferguson's men beat the Merseyside club on their way to win the 20th league title in 2013.

He moved to Lyon in 2015 and has since made 50 league outings for the seven-time Ligue 1 champions. But he has many fond memories from his time at United – especially the days when the manager failed to tell him and his twin apart.

"Was there ever a time when Ferguson got us confused? It happened many, many times," he laughs in an interview for the October 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine.

"It wasn't rare that before training he'd look at me and say: 'Come on, go to the left wing.' When that happened, I used to just look at him.

"Then he'd go: 'I meant right wing, Rafael!' It's funny to remember it – Fergie is a special person in my life," Rafael said.

"He's the best manager I've ever worked with, no doubt. I learned so many things from him and I will be grateful for that forever. He'd always have some good advice to tell you at training. He knew exactly how to deal with each of his players – ones who'd improve with some compliments and motivation, and ones he'd need to be severe with. That, plus his knowledge of the game, made him the best."

The 27-year-old won three Premier League titles, two League Cups and the FIFA Club World Cup during his United career, starting the 2008 final in Japan. And he is optimistic that both his former and current clubs can mount title tilts this term.

"I was very happy [at United] and grew up both as a man and as a player, too," Rafael says.

"I feel confident after the signings they've made – I hope they will become Premier League champions this season.