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Fábio Pereira da Silva (born 9 July 1990), commonly known as Fábio or Fábio da Silva, is a Brazilianmarker footballer who plays as a left back for Manchester United of the Premier League. He and his twin brother, Rafael, signed for Manchester United from Fluminense in February 2007, but were unable to take part in matches until they turned 18 in July 2008.

Career

Club career

Early years

Born in Petrópolismarker, RJmarker, Fábio began his football career as a defensive midfielder with his local club, Boa Esperança, but he was converted to left back when he joined Fluminense of Rio de Janeiromarker. With Fluminense, Fábio took part in the 2005 Nike Premier Cup in Tokyomarker, where he was spotted by Manchester United scout Les Kershaw, who remarked that the twins reminded him of "two little whippets". Kershaw then telephoned Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson and recommended that the club sign the Da Silva twins. Manchester United got in touch with Fluminense and asked permission for the twins to travel to Manchester to train with them in 2005. Shortly afterwards, a scout claiming to represent Arsenal visited the twins and asked them to come to England to train with Arsenal without the permission of Fluminense; however, they were dissuaded from this by their mother, who reminded them that they had been with Fluminense since they were 11, and that they should show the club some loyalty. Therefore, they decided to sign for Manchester United over Arsenal, and the two clubs agreed a deal in February 2007; the twins moved to Manchester in January 2008 without ever having played for the Fluminense first team.

Manchester United

Despite signing for the club in February 2007, Fábio was unable to be registered as a Manchester United player or play in matches for the club until his 18th birthday on 9 July 2008. He made his first appearance for Manchester United on 4 August 2008, coming on as a half-time substitute for Patrice Evra in a 2–0 friendly win away to Peterborough United. His performance in that game was praised, with Today claiming that "Manchester United finally found out what they were missing".He has since played in eight matches for the club's reserve team, scoring five goals – including a hat-trick against Rochdale in the Lancashire Senior Cup on 16 March 2009 – and was named on the bench for United's second league game of the season against Portsmouth on 25 August 2008. However, Fábio's competitive debut for the Manchester United first team was delayed by a shoulder injury, which required surgery.

His debut finally came in the 2–1 FA Cup Fourth Round win over Tottenham Hotspur on 24 January 2009. However, he picked up an injury to his calf shortly into the second half and had to be replaced by fellow debutant Richard Eckersley. Fabio made his League debut for Manchester United on 16 August 2009, playing at right-back at home to Birmingham City on the opening day of the 2009–10 season. He made his second start of the season at home to Wolves in the third round of the Carling Cup. The game didn't go well for him, as he was red carded just short of the half hour mark for a professional foul on Michael Kightly.

On 22 October 2009, Fábio was handed his European debut against CSKA Moscow in a 1-0 win, he started the game and came off shortly before the end with an injury. However, Sir Alex Ferguson was very pleased with his "fantastic" performance, especially with the game being played on an artificial surface..

Fabio and twin brother Rafael were involved in a case of mistaken identity during a Carling Cup match against Barnsley, whereby Fabio received a yellow card for a foul actually committed by Rafael. This led to Manchester United having to appeal the ban

International career

Fábio has played internationally for the Brazilian Under-17 team, and was captain of the Brazil team for the 2007 FIFA U-17 World Cup, where he scored twice, making him the team's joint-highest scorer. He has been approached by Portuguese national coach Carlos Queiroz and asked to play for Portugal's senior side, as both he and his twin hold Portuguese citizenship.

Playing style

Along with his brother, Rafael, Fábio has been praised for his energetic style, and has been described as an "excellent footballer" by Sir Alex Ferguson. Les Kershaw, the former Manchester United academy manager who spotted them, described the pair as being like "two little whippets," praising how "when they got knocked down, they just got straight back up again and got on with it. They were like bouncing balls... very, very quick". The Times has called them "Brazil's answer to the Neville brothers". Based on his attacking ability and instincts, it was suggested on the United website that Fábio, along with Rafael, could be deployed in the midfield rather than in defence.

Personal life

The wedding ring on Fábio's finger is how Ferguson tells the twins apart, with Fábio already married at the age of 18 to 17-year-old Barbara, who relocated with him.

Career statistics

Club Season League Cup League Cup Continental Other Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Manchester United 2008–09 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 0
2009–10 1 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 6 0
Total 1 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 8 0
Career total 1 0 2 0 2 0 2 0 1 0 8 0
Statistics accurate as of match played 27 October 2009

References

  1. {{cite news |first=Steve |last=Bartram |title=Reserves: Rochdale 1 Utd 4 |url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=6629073 |work=ManUtd.com |publisher=Manchester United |date=16 March 2009 |accessdate=18 March 2009 }}
  2. http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/teams/m/man_utd/8332754.stm
  3. {{cite news |first=Adam |last=Bostock |title=Meet the da Silva twins |url=http://www.manutd.com/default.sps?pagegid={B4CEE8FA-9A47-47BC-B069-3F7A2F35DB70}&newsid=6615387&page=2 |work=ManUtd.com |publisher=Manchester United |page=2 |date=6 August 2008 |accessdate=9 December 2008 }}
  4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1172228/Da-Silva-twins-snubbed-Arsenal-follow-United-dream.html


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