Football

Rafael Reveals Why He "Couldn't Handle" Louis Van Gaal Anymore

Rafael Reveals Why He "Couldn't Handle" Louis Van Gaal Anymore

Perhaps to the surprise of some Manchester United fans, the club's former Brazilian full-back Rafael da Silva is only 27-years-old.

Playing with Lyon in the French Ligue 1, Rafael left United in 2015 after falling foul of then manager Louis van Gaal.

Having played over 150 games for the club across seven seasons, it is perhaps telling of his standing under van Gaal that his final season saw him play only 11 times; the fewest of his appearance totals throughout his time with the club.

Three-times a Premier League winner, Rafael spoke to ESPN recently about his time with the club. Although he became a fan-favourite at United, and appeared to possess a good relationship with Alex Ferguson, the Brazilian opened up on the disastrous relationship he had with the Dutch manager:

In his first season, Van Gaal called me to his office and said: 'You can leave.'

The meeting lasted one minute. That was it: 'You can leave.' It took time for me to go, but I was desperate to leave when I did, and that saddens me because I loved everything about Manchester United.

It was an eventuality that Rafael had heard rumours of, but didn't truly believe:

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When it was announced that Van Gaal was taking over, four or five people, including players, called me to say that he doesn't like Brazilian players.

They pointed out what had happened with Rivaldo at Barcelona, but I didn't believe it.

Having had such a positive experience at the club under Ferguson, Rafael conceded that "Van Gaal is not a bad coach, but I didn't like his character":

One day, I was in the canteen waiting to eat. Van Gaal used to speak to us after we'd eaten each day. I had a head injury after a game at Yeovil -- one of the few games I played in that season -- and I was touching my injury. After three or four seconds, he touched my head and said: 'Why don't you respect me?'

I stood up and said: 'I always respect you. I've never said anything which was disrespectful to you.' I am a patient guy, but I got angry then. I had done nothing wrong.

Antonio [Valencia] later said to me: 'You're not going to play again.' Players didn't speak back to Van Gaal. Antonio was almost right; I barely played again. I love Manchester United, but I was so desperate to leave United. Only one man did that because I liked everything about the place. I couldn't handle him anymore.

Interestingly, it has been Valencia that primarily filled the gap Rafael left with his departure in 2015. A sad end to his spell with the club he joined with his twin brother as a teenager, he remains a United fan all the same.

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Arthur James O'Dea

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