Good night, sweet prince.
The Manchester Evening News today confirmed the sorry news that we've been fearing for some time: Louis van Gaal doesn't intend on ever making Rafael da Silva a feature of the first team at Old Trafford. That could mean the 24-year-old Brazilian will be on his way as early as this summer, with Italian sides Fiorentina and Napoli, and Turkish giants Galatasaray said to be interested in signing him.
Rafael will probably never be one of the world's best right-backs, but there's a reason TBB is pretty disappointed about this move. Most obviously, he's nowhere near as bad a player as many would have you believe -- even though his positioning can be suspect, his athleticism and industry more often than not made up for it, and he's still pretty useful to have around.
More fundamentally, he's a player who understands United and its culture -- a breed slowly dying out in the wake of Sir Alex Ferguson's retirement. Rafael followed in the footsteps of many great players at Old Trafford, arriving as a 17-year-old kid and progressing into a very serviceable first-team player. He never gave anything less than his hilarious, nigh-on uncontrollable best, and never could you accuse him of wittingly shirking his responsibilities.
Let's hope he has a great career elsewhere.