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Page last updated at 12:32 GMT, Monday, 27 April 2009 13:32 UK

Rafael extends Man Utd contract

Rafael Da Silva
Rafael is a possible starter against Arsenal in the Champions League

Manchester United defender Rafael has signed a two-year contract extension to keep him at Old Trafford until 2013.

The 18-year-old right-back has impressed in his debut season, scoring one goal in 13 league appearances.

"Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional," manager Sir Alex Ferguson told the club's website.

"His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player."

A highly-rated Brazil youth international, Rafael moved from hometown side Fluminense to United along with twin brother Fabio in January 2008.

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Although Fabio has managed just two FA Cup appearances deputising for Patrice Evra on the left flank, Rafael has been more fortunate on the opposite wing.

Injuries to Wes Brown and Gary Neville afforded him a chance to impress in the first team and he was named on a six-man shortlist for the Professional Footballers' Association Young Player of the Year award, which was won by Aston Villa's Ashley Young on Sunday night

"It has been a fantastic first year and I have learned from all the players at the club but especially from the defenders," he said.

"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."

Former Manchester United assistant coach Carlos Queiroz is investigating the possibility of picking Rafael for Portugal before he is selected for the full Brazil side. Both he and Fabio qualify through a Portuguese grandmother.

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see also
Giggs earns prestigious PFA award
26 Apr 09 |  Football
Arsenal 2-1 Man Utd
08 Nov 08 |  Premier League

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