Rafael can be the best in the world, claims Ferguson as youngster signs new United deal
13:43 GMT, 2 July 2012
Sir Alex Ferguson reckons Rafael can become one of the world's best full-backs after tieing the Brazilian youngster down to a new long-term contract.
The 21-year-old has agreed a four-year deal which will see him extend his stay at Manchester United until 2016.
Rafael arrived at the Old Trafford club in 2008, but made just 12 Barclays Premier League appearances last term.
Long-term deal: Rafael has penned a new contract with Manchester United
'Rafael is one of the club's brightest young prospects; he has no fear of playing and has great belief in himself,' Ferguson told the club's website.
'The boy has developed immensely since joining United, his energy and enthusiasm are a joy to watch. Rafael has all the attributes to become one of the best full-backs in the world and I am delighted he has signed a new contract.'
Rafael added: 'I am so happy to sign a new contract.
Few opportunities: The Brazilian made 12 Premier League appearances last term
'I love playing for Manchester United, there is a great team spirit here and a real desire to win.
'My time here has been unbelievable; winning two league titles, a league cup and a Club World Cup has made me hungry for more trophies. I would like to thank Sir Alex for his belief in me and I would also like to thank the fans for their support.'