Sir Alex, speaking on manutd.com said: "Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional. His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player and we are delighted that he has signed a new contract."
Rafael, who arrived in July last year after being brought up in Rio de Janiero, hopes to have a long association with United.
"It has been a fantastic first year and I have learned from all the players at the club but especially from the defenders. It has been an exciting time for me and I want to be part of this for a long time so to get an extension is unbelievable."
Rafael's professional football career began with Fluminense in Brazil, where he played at youth level.
Rafael and his brother Fábio were brought to the attention of Manchester United by club scout Les Kershaw in the summer of 2005 while playing for Fluminense in a youth tournament in Hong Kong.
Manchester United got in touch with Fluminense and asked permission for the twins to travel to Manchester to train with them in 2005. Shortly afterwards, a scout claiming to represent Arsenal visited the twins and asked them to come to England to train with Arsenal without the permission of Fluminense; however, they were dissuaded from this by their mother, who reminded them that they had been with Fluminense since they were 11, and that they should show the club some loyalty. The twins were also approached by Real Madrid while they were on international duty with Brazil.
Therefore, the twins decided to sign for Manchester United, and a deal was agreed between the two clubs in February 2007. The twins moved to Manchester in January 2008, but were unable to play in matches until they turned 18 in July 2008.
Rafael made his first appearance for the club in a friendly match against Peterborough United on 4 August. He was then registered in the club's senior squad for the 2008–09 season and was assigned the number 21 shirt previously worn by Dong Fangzhuo.
He made his competitive debut on the opening day of the 2008–09 Premier League season, coming on as a second half substitute for Fraizer Campbell against Newcastle United.
Rafael made his first start for Manchester United on 23 September 2008, playing at right back against Middlesbrough in the Third Round of the League Cup. His first start in European competition was away to Aalborg BK in the UEFA Champions League on 30 September. Selected ahead of Gary Neville and Wes Brown, Rafael turned in an impressive performance, creating problems for the Danish side with his attacking play and two well hit shots before being substituted on 66 minutes due to injury.
He made his first Premier League start in Manchester United's 4–0 win at home to West Bromwich Albion on 18 October 2008. His first goal for Manchester United came in the 90th minute of his seventh game for the club, a 2–1 defeat to Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on 8 November 2008, with a powerful volley from just inside the penalty area. At the end of the season, Rafael and his Manchester United team-mate Jonny Evans were shortlisted as one of the nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
On 19 April 2009, in the FA Cup semi-final against Everton, Rafael and his twin brother, Fábio, started a match together for Manchester United for the first time. However, United lost the match 4–2 on penalties
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