Manchester United's Rafael feels more mature and has Brazil World Cup dream
Man Utd full-back Rafael believes he is starting to mature and hopes to be in Brazil's squad for the 2014 World Cup.
Last Updated: 22/10/12 5:58pm
Rafael's time at Old Trafford has largely been noted for his buccaneering runs to support the attack and penchant for throwing himself into tackles.
However, the 22-year-old has cemented himself as United's first-choice right-back in the early months of the season and has been one of the club's most impressive performers.
He feels he has developed his game and, after making a mistake in Brazil's Olympic Games final defeat by Mexico, is starting to be viewed differently back in his homeland.
"I do think they look at me differently now," said Rafael.
"The way I play for United has changed a little bit and I have scored some goals as well.
"But mature is the word. I always want the ball. Now I read the game more and know what the opposing player is going to do.
"It is a big time for me. The World Cup is the big competition for Brazil and all the fans expect us to win. I am really looking forward to being there."
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson also believes that Rafael has overcome the impetuous streak that was threatening to prevent him maximising his potential.
"He is maturing and learning all the time," said Ferguson.
"Rafael has all the ingredients of a great player. He is blessed with great enthusiasm, skill and speed.
"He was quite impulsive and tended to over-commit himself.
"We have gone over it a few times but, bit by bit, it is all coming together and he was easily our best player Saturday."