This week, two Manchester United players made their debut for the club in quiet circumstances during a 2-0 friendly win against League One side Peterborough United. The match was noteworthy because of the debut for two of United’s rising stars, Rafael and Fabio Da Silva.
The two 18-year old Brazilian twins agreed to join Alex Ferguson’s side in February 2007 but due to FIFA regulations, they had to wait until they turned eighteen before they could sign professional contracts. But now that they’re authorized to play, keep an eye out for the twins during this upcoming season.
Right back Rafael and left back Fabio joined Man United from Fluminense in Brazil. The twins also played in the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Korea.
After the Peterborough friendly, Ferguson said this about the two Brazilian defenders:
“The young players were fantastic and young Rafael the right-back was a sensation for me.
I thought it was a real eye opener for us. He hadn’t played for a year but he’s played a full 90 minutes today. His brother Fabio has played 45 minutes and he’s also done well so we’re really pleased by their contribution.
You know what football’s like. Sometimes it turns up some star, some little nugget maybe. On the evidence of tonight I think we have got a good player here.”
In the recent history of English football, there have been some notable brothers who have played together on the same team. Best known are Gary and Phil Neville. While brothers are not uncommon, what is rare is to see two twins playing together on the same side. Examples from Holland include Ronald and Frank de Boer, and Rene and Willy Van der Kerkhof. In England, the only twins I can remember are Dean and David Holdsworth who played for Watford in the late eighties.