Rafael: I do care about Brazil
Manchester United defender Rafael has hit out at suggestions that he does not care about playing for Brazil.
Despite now being a regular for United, Rafael has picked up just two caps for the Selecao.
The full-back was a member of Brazil's Olympic squad last summer, however, he was blamed for a key error during the side’s final defeat to Mexico.
Since then he has been banished from the senior squad, and was completely overlooked by Luis Felipe Scolari for the Confederations Cup, with the coach opting to take just one recognised right-back in Dani Alves.
The perception is that Rafael is not interested in representing his country of birth, having left Brazil on his 18th birthday, along with twin brother Fabio, to move to United.
The former Fluminense player, though, is adamant that he has been misunderstood.
“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. 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.''
Despite Rafael’s costly mistake at the Olympics, he insists that the tournament was a fantastic experience for him.
“I always say the Olympics were the best thing that has ever happened to me,'' he said. “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. [With Brazil] there always has to be someone to blame - it doesn't matter whether it is Under-17s, Under-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.''
Information from the Press Association has been used in this report