Former Manchester United captain Gary Neville has revealed the club’s signing of Rafael da Silva effectively ended his career mentally at Old Trafford.
Neville is considered a club legend at Man United, having made 602 appearances across nearly two decades.
However, his place in Man United’s starting XI was far from guaranteed by the time 2008 came around, which was when legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson brought in Rafael.
Rafael was a young, dynamic, energetic Brazilian full-back, and Neville could immediately see the writing on the wall for his Man United career.
Speaking on The Gary Neville Podcast, Neville said, “I watched [Wes] Brown play a full season and win the Champions League.
“He’s a great lad, brilliant player, and I was delighted for him, of course, I wanted to be in the team, of course, I wanted to be out there and be captain, but I was not.”
He added: “Then Rafael came into training. It was Rafael who actually finished my career mentally, in some ways, because I used to watch him in training, get close to players and snap into tackles, and then get up and get back out there again, and I could not get my legs forward. I thought, I get it, I see it.”