The Brazilian has lifted the lid on life under Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United in an explosive interview.
It could be argued that Rafael, after spending 8 years at Manchester United, defines the recent period of flux that Manchester United have found themselves in more than any other player.
The Brazilian played for the club under Alex Ferguson, David Moyes, and Louis Van Gaal.
Rafael at Man United.
To begin with, the Brazilian right-back was a key part of the Manchester United team that won three league titles in 09, 11, and 13. While Rafael’s twin brother Fabio didn’t see as much game time, it’s easy to forget that at the end of Rafael’s first professional season, he and his Manchester United teammate Jonny Evans were shortlisted as nominees for the PFA Young Player of the Year award.
Under Ferguson, the Brazilian was also on the bench in United’s Champions League final defeat to Barcelona in ’09 but after Fergie retired at the end of the 2012-13 season, the Brazilian saw less game time under David Moyes – he played 29 times in all competitions.
Rafael under Van Gaal.
However, during Louis Van Gaal’s first season in charge of Manchester United, Rafael’s appearances became even fewer as he only featured in 11 matches.
During a recent interview with The Atheltic, Rafael claims that his former Man Utd boss Louis van Gaal is “one of the worst people” that he has worked with and says “it was shit” under the Dutchman.
In terms of his time at Old Trafford, Van Gaal won the FA Cup in his final match in charge after leading them to fifth and fourth-place finishes in his two years in charge between 2014-2016.
However, a languid style of football combined with an inability to establish United as serious title challengers saw the Dutchman being replaced by Jose Mourinho.
During the interview, Rafael lifts the lid on what it was like for him playing under Louis Van Gaal at Manchester United.
“He did not speak to me.”
“I talk bad about some people, like Van Gaal. I don’t like Van Gaal. When they said Van Gaal was the manager, a lot of friends called me. I could not believe it, as a lot of people told me he does not like Brazilians (because of their style of play). They told me: ‘The first thing he is going to do is take you out.
“Actually, it was the second thing because on the first day, he did not speak to me. On the second day, he said: ‘You can leave.’ I had not even trained and he said that. I could not believe it. I said: ‘OK.’ I still tried to battle for my place. I stayed one year with him. It was so, so hard. He is one of the worst people I have worked with.”
Later in the interview, Rafael recalls how the former Manchester United boss would get up and make a speech every mealtime and the Brazilian defender insists that Louis Van Gaal did it because he “just wanted to think about himself”.
“He didn’t care how people are, he just wanted to think about himself.”
“Every day, after breakfast, after lunch, or if we had dinner together, he would speak to everyone for 15 minutes about training, about what has happened, about everything, about life. You know when you start to stop listening to what someone is saying, because they speak so much? He wanted to show he could speak. But it was every day! All the time!
“You need to wait for everybody to finish their food to leave, which is fine, OK. But then we watched him talk, for 15 minutes, with all due respect, about shit. That is the truth, man. It was shit. He didn’t care how people are, he just wanted to think about himself — ‘I am like this, you respect me, you do like I want.’ That’s how he speaks. Players get tired of this. You don’t need to speak all the time. If we talk (about culture), he changed everything.”
After six seasons at Old Trafford, the Brazilian right-back left in 2014 to join Lyon.