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Rafael earns new contract to run until 2013

Rafael Da Silva's fine performances in his debut season with Manchester United have been rewarded with a two-year contract extension to run until the summer of 2013.

The Brazilian full-back was an unknown at the start of the campaign but his impact has been such that he was shortlisted for the PFA Young Player of the Year Award, which was eventually won by Aston Villa's Ashley Young.

The 18-year-old is now seen as the natural successor to Gary Neville as the club's right-back, with his twin brother Fabio also tipped to become a first team regular on the other side of the defence.

The contract extension is further proof of the club's faith in a player who is sure to win full international honours with Brazil in the near future.

"Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional,'' Ferguson told the club's official website.

"His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player and we are delighted that he has signed a new contract.''

Rafael, who arrived in July last year after being brought up in Rio de Janiero, hopes to have a long association with United.

He said: "It has been a fantastic first year and I have learned from all the players at the club but especially from the defenders.

"It has been an exciting time for me and I want to be part of this for a long time so to get an extension is unbelievable.''

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