Rafael and Fabio da Silva revealed what brought them to England as they joined Manchester United in 2008. From an early age the twins were hot prospects and in 2005 at a youth tournament in Hong Kong, United scouted them when they were only 15 years old. Arsenal was also interested, but it was United who prevailed, initially agreeing to a deal in 2007 and later relocating to England football club when he turned 18.
Almost immediately after joining the Red Devils Rafael and Fabio da Silva became cult heroes but had they chosen Arsenal things could have turned out very differently instead.
“First it was a Portuguese greeting. Then the voice says: ‘It is Cristiano Ronaldo’,” Fabio told the Daily Mail. “I think it is a joke but he says, ‘No, it is Cristiano here. I’m calling you to tell you to come to United. I can help you guys so you need to come. You’re going to enjoy [it].’ Sir Alex Ferguson must have known about Arsenal. This was his way of making sure we came to Manchester. It worked,” the full-back added.
Cristiano Ronaldo was a young player at the time, far from the global sporting icon he is now. He was still a star attraction, having burst onto the scene in 2003 and playing a significant role in assisting the Da Silvas in making that early decision that defined their careers.
Fabio, in particular, learned a lot from Ronaldo, and also believes that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner’s return to Old Trafford is important for some of the club’s younger players right now. “He is my hero, the best. He helped me a lot, saying, ‘Don’t worry, just play. Calm, cool. I will be here for you’. That meant so much and, of course, his talent is something I’ve never seen in my life,” Fabio explained.
“I love him because he set a very big example for young boys like us. That is what he will do for the players this second time. The things I took from Cristiano are for life. The players about to play with him now at United should be thankful every day.”
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