Euro boost for Rafael

Brazilian thinks international credentials have been improved

Rafael: The defender was not included in Brazil's initial squad for the Copa America

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Involvement in the UEFA Champions League has boosted Rafael's chances of playing for Brazil, according to the defender.

The 20-year-old has started exactly half of United's games in the competition so far, including the crucial first leg of their quarter-final with Chelsea.

It does appear twin brother Fabio has been earmarked for the right-back slot against Barcelona at Wembley, however, there seems certain to be a spin-off for both.

Rafael has already earned a senior call-up to the national side without managing to win his first cap in August last year.

And while neither he, nor his brother, are in coach Mano Menezes' preliminary 28-man squad for this summer's Copa America, it is only a matter of time before they make the breakthrough.

"The Champions League is a world competition," said Rafael, an unused substitute when United were beaten by Barcelona in Rome two years ago.

Attack

"Because we have played in it, the national team recognise me and my brother much more now.

"I was with the national team at the beginning of the season and the more I can play for United, the more chances I hope to get."

Not that Rafael believes United can expect Brazilian backing this weekend with popular defender Dani Alves in the Barca ranks.

Those competing players are joined in a common approach, namely attack.

"Every Brazilian player likes to go forward," Rafael said. "We learn to attack as small boys. That is what we do.

"My heroes were Cafu and Roberto Carlos, who played the same way, as does Dani Alves. In Brazil it has always been like that."

Who will win the UEFA Champions League?

  • Barcelona
  • Manchester United

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