'Very good player': Rafael really impressed by Manchester United star

Rafael will make his first appearance at Old Trafford as an opposition player tonight.

The Brazilian defender was sold by Louis van Gaal to Lyon in 2015 and returns with Istanbul Basaksehir this evening.

He performed well when United were defeated in Turkey earlier this month.

Fellow Brazilian Fred was an unused sub in that game, but Rafael told the official United website he’s a huge fan of the midfielder.

Matthew Peters/Manchester United via Getty Images

“I know Fred and Telles,” said Rafael.

“I really like Fred, I think he is a very good player, a box-to-box player, he runs all of the time, he has good technique, you see his style of play and I like it.

“He is always running and trying to do good things. Telles, I know he is a very good crosser of the ball, but I know less about him than Fred.”

Fred and Rafael both work tirelessly for their sides, and have the same never-say-die attitude.

United were too ponderous in possession over in Turkey, with the midfield struggling for tempo without Fred.

It remains to be seen whether Solskjaer selects him tonight, while fellow Brazilian Telles will expect to start at left back.

Neither Fred or Rafael are the most naturally talented players, but they give everything on the pitch and that’s something the latter clearly rates about the former.

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Sam Preston is an NCTJ gold standard news and sports journalist who studied with the Press Association. He also has a 2:1 law with French law degree from the University of Birmingham, which included a year studying at Bordeaux Montaigne University. He is an FA Level 1 football coach who appeared on the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show in 2018 and has also written digital football content and match-day programme pieces for Colchester United, Mansfield Town and Stockport County.