Manchester United right-back Rafael has been stung by suggestions he is not interested in playing for Brazil. Despite being one of the most improved players at Old Trafford, and claiming a third Premier League title last season, the 23-year-old's history with A Seleção is a chequered one.

Rafael was called into the senior squad for the first time in 2010 but did not make his debut for another two years, when he came on as a substitute against Denmark. He was then selected for Brazil's Men's Olympic Football Tournament squad last summer, but was blamed for a key error in the South Americans' final defeat by Mexico at Wembley.

Rafael has since disappeared from the senior squad completely and was overlooked for the recent FIFA Confederations Cup when coach Luis Felipe Scolari opted to select only one orthodox right-back in Dani Alves.

The perception is Rafael does not care, having left his homeland on his 18th birthday along with twin brother Fabio to take up a contract offer with the Red Devils. Rafael, however, insists the perception is wrong.

"People think I don't want to play for Brazil because I left at such a young age," he told Press Association Sport. "That is not true at all.

The dream of playing in the World Cup for Brazil in Brazil never goes away. I would love it to happen.


"My brother and I left because life for any young Brazilian player is full of uncertainty. It is the same in England but we knew Manchester United represented a big chance for us.

"The people back home thought we didn't care. We do care. I would love the chance to play for my country again.

"I don't think about it so much because of what has happened and because there is a lot to do with my club, but the dream of playing in the World Cup for Brazil in Brazil never goes away. I would love it to happen."

Olympic blame
As Brazil triumphed at the FIFA Confederations Cup, Rafael is not going to force his way back into Scolari's plans particularly easily, especially when the last memory of his representing his country in a high-profile game was to gift the ball to Mexico for their first-minute opener in that Olympic decider. No matter that Brazil had 89 minutes to rectify the situation.

"I always say the Olympics were the best thing that has ever happened to me," said Rafael. "It made me much stronger as a person. Up to the semi-final, everyone was saying good things about me and how well I was doing.

"After we lost the final it was all my fault. There always has to be someone to blame [with Brazil] - it doesn't matter whether it is U-17s, U-19s, anyone - and I was it.

"People said lots of things but I said to myself, 'don't let it affect you'. I am a stronger person because of it, because nothing can be like that again."