Jul 28, 2014, 6:48 PM EST
Twenty-four-year-old Rafael could be one of the players who benefits most from Louis van Gaal’s move to a three-man central defense, but having suffered a groin injury late last week, the right back’s assimilation into Manchester United’s new approach has been halted. Now, with the Red Devils’ season opener less than three weeks away, the Brazilian defender has been sent back to England, with the severity of his injury ruling him out of the remainder of United’s preseason tour.
Rafael suffered the injury on Friday in Denver, where the Red Devils were preparing to face AS Roma. Though United went on to defeat Serie A’s runners up 3-2, Rafael didn’t play, giving way to Ecuadorian international Antonio Valencia a right wing back.
This evening, United confirmed Rafael’s new status, saying the defender was “unlikely” to participate in the rest of the team’s tour.
Rafael has returned to Manchester to continue treatment on the groin injury sustained in training in Denver.
As he was unlikely to participate in the remaining tour games, returning to the Aon Training Complex affords the best overall option for his recovery in time to continue pre-season preparation when the team returns.
Plagued by injuries last season, Rafael was limited to 18 Premier League starts, with his now fragility putting this season’s opener in doubt. If he can’t get healthy before Aug. 16’s visit from Swansea City, van Gaal will have to choose between Valencia and two players who figure to have more impact in central defense: Phil Jones and Chris Smalling.
Jan 29, 2015, 10:30 PM EST
Osvaldo-to-Juventus could mean Giovinco-to-Toronto happens six months early.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
The latest update from Beckham on building a stadium, bringing an MLS team to Miami.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:41 PM EST
Friendly banter among teammates, when done right, is downright hilarious.
Jan 29, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
What went down on Thursday, the 29th day of this January transfer window? A full recap, inside.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:36 PM EST
Agudelo is back in MLS, where he probably should have been all along.
Jan 29, 2015, 5:12 PM EST
The future boss at Anfield? Sturridge is quite sure of it.
Jan 29, 2015, 3:18 PM EST
Putin and Russia have already had to cut costs for the 2018 World Cup.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:43 PM EST
Arsenal’s main man is touch and go for this weekend’s game against Aston Villa.
Jan 29, 2015, 2:00 PM EST
Liverpool’s leading striker could return to action this Saturday after five months out.
Jan 29, 2015, 1:02 PM EST
With players out and title dreams on the line, how will Chelsea and City line up on Saturday?
Jan 29, 2015, 12:18 PM EST
Costa set to protest FA charges to avoid three-game ban.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:43 AM EST
Watch Klinsmann’s insane piece of skill from the friendly vs. Chile on Wednesday. My word.
Jan 29, 2015, 11:08 AM EST
Guinea won the lottery and are through to the last eight. Here’s the quarterfinal field for AFCON.
Jan 29, 2015, 9:45 AM EST
Former D.C. United, RSL and Union player heading back home?
Jan 29, 2015, 9:06 AM EST
With a few days left in the window, here’s the latest gossip.
Jan 29, 2015, 8:00 AM EST
Could Yaya link up with his old boss at the San Siro?
Jan 28, 2015, 11:10 PM EST
So what went down on Wednesday, as the transfer window took another step toward slamming shut?
Jan 28, 2015, 10:20 PM EST
Set up for a free kick outside the 18, Eriksen not only sent an arrow whizzing over the goal, but he managed to spin it into the far upper 90.
Jan 28, 2015, 9:58 PM EST
The La Liga giant has woked out a sponsorship deal with United Arab Emirates-based International Petroleum Investment Company (IPIC).
Jan 28, 2015, 9:17 PM EST
Jurgen Klinsmann remained upbeat, while Jozy Altidore was obviously disappointed.
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