Manchester United brothers Rafael and Fabio da Silva share a unique bond – one that they have revealed has been strengthened by their separation this season.
Fabio has been sent out by United boss Sir Alex Ferguson to Premier League strugglers Queen’s Park Rangers – in an effort to improve his development instead of sitting on United’s bench.
Current left-back Patrice Evra is the first-choice for Fabio’s position, where as his brother Rafael has just taken over the first-team role of retired United legend Gary Neville, at right-back.
The pair insisted they are still close but Rafael is constantly on the receiving end of stick from his brother.
“He is always calling me back to say something is not good!” claimed Rafael.
“It’s always been like this. He is back in training now and maybe, when he plays again, we’ll keep doing this.”
But, despite Fabio’s short-term move, the brothers suggested they have matured as individuals as a result.
“We’re close and I was always together with him but it’s been good for us, just to become more mature.”
It’s not the first time a brotherhood has operated within the United ranks – recently retired Gary Neville and his brother Phil who now captains Everton were a staple of the United youth system and won the treble together back in 1998/99 – co-incidentally on either wing of the United back-four.
“I used to ask him all the time if I needed something but now I need more of my own mind so I’ve grown more mature. It’s bad because I miss him but it’s good to learn more.”
The brothers will be re-united upon Fabio’s return at the end of the season – for how long though is anyone’s guess as Evra still has two years on his contract and, despite his advancing years, the 31-year-old shows no real signs of slowing down.
But in the long-run the pair hope to be back playing together – united.
image: © Andrea Sartorari