Sibling rivalry for United's boys from Brazil
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Rafael Da Silva is bracing himself for the disappointment of missing out on a place in Manchester United's line-up for Saturday's UEFA Champions League final against Barcelona.

But the Brazilian defender admits no-one will be prouder than him if, as recent selections appear to suggest, his twin brother Fabio is picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to start at right-back. The good-natured sibling rivalry between the 20-year-old identical twin brothers is one of the more intriguing sub-plots heading into Wembley, where the two defenders are vying for the same position.

"My brother's been playing quite well so we'll try to fight for the place," Rafael told journalists at United's training ground. "Of course because we are very close with each other, so we have to congratulate the other one.

I think it's always important to have this kind of rivalry because that makes us grow as football players. We've been doing this since we were very young so we always motivate each other.
Manchester United defender Rafael Da Silva

"I think this quite a hot situation, the situation we're in at the moment. But it doesn't matter who is playing in my position.

"I think it's always important to have this kind of rivalry because that makes us grow as football players. We've been doing this since we were very young so we always motivate each other."

The Da Silva brothers rivalry does not go down very well with their parents however, who will be flying in from Brazil for the final. "Our parents don't like it very much, they prefer one to play on each side instead of fighting for the position," Rafael said.

The boys from Brazil are one of the best examples of United's policy which involves scouring the globe for young talent. The brothers first appeared on the United radar in 2005, when as 15-year-olds they were spotted playing for Brazilian side Fluminense in a youth tournament in Hong Kong by United academy manager Les Kershaw.

Kershaw promptly advised Ferguson to sign the duo and despite late interest from Arsenal, the brothers arrived in Manchester in January 2008 despite never having played for Fluminense's senior team.

Initially it looked as if Rafael had become Ferguson's preferred choice, appearing regularly for United since arriving at the club three years ago. But although Fabio has made roughly half the number of appearances of his brother over the same period - 37 compared to Rafael's 72 - in recent matches Ferguson has favoured Fabio at full-back.

Rafael, whose sending off against Bayern Munich in last season's quarter-finals was widely cited as the reason for United's exit, agrees that his brother has the more even temperament. "I'm probably much more aggressive than him. And he's probably much calmer than me on the opposition. I think that's the difference," he said.

But the red card against Bayern last year had proved a turning point in his development Rafael said. "I think I've learnt a lot from that because I was younger at the time," he said. "Sometimes it's nice to be like that in the match but I think I've learnt a lot from the red cards. I think I'm much calmer."