Rafael claims that he never received a real explanation for the motive behind his Manchester United departure.
The 31-year-old, who played 170 games for the club, was cast aside by Louis van Gaal in 2015; one season after the Dutchman had touched down in the Premier League.
Still playing with Basaksehir, in Turkey, the Brazilian got his hands on three top-division titles with United.
However, despite that and his elevated standing among the club’s fan-base, Rafael was bluntly told to move on 12 months after twin brother Fabio was sold to Cardiff City; incidentally under the current United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
As they prepare to release a joint-autobiography next month, the da Silva twins’ journey from Brazil to Old Trafford and beyond will come to life in the public gaze.
And it might not contain anything more controversial than what Rafael has had to say about van Gaal.
While the player suggests he was never handed a reason for his transfer to Lyon, the two-cap international admits he has since developed suspicions on account of what others have told him.
Speaking to The Athletic, Rafael said: “I never got an explanation. When van Gaal arrived, he just said; ‘You leave’.
“He came in with an idea of the players he wanted, and didn’t want, and set about making those changes instantly. He never explained it to me.
“I’ve heard a few explanations from other people and, even before he arrived, everyone was telling me; ‘He hates Brazilians’.
“I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I heard it started with Rivaldo when Van Gaal was manager of Barcelona. He put Rivaldo on the bench and Rivaldo started speaking badly of him, trying to sack him, you know.
“After that, they say he started to hate Brazilians; ‘Those Brazilians love to sack managers’, something like that.”
When asked to clarify that statement, after those bust-ups with Rivaldo, van Gaal said: “You can’t imagine a human being or a coach – if he doesn’t think that one Brazilian is professional – thinks the same of the rest of the population of Brazil.
“[Rafael] was played out of the team by Antonio Valencia. Honestly, he lost the battle with Valencia. I transformed Valencia from a right-winger to a right full-back.
“Valencia also played as a right full-back after my dismissal for Jose Mourinho, so was my choice a bad one?”
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