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2013 was a memorable year for Manchester United for a number of reasons. In May, United’s legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson left the club after serving the Old Trafford based side for over 26 years. Ferguson managed to guide the Red Devils to their 20th league title this year after losing out to city rivals Manchester City in 2012.
Here, we look at the top five players for Manchester United this calender year:
It is not often that a defender makes it into a list of top five players of any calendar year. And it perhaps even more surprising that at a club like Manchester United, which is renowned for its attacking football that a defender is one of their best players of the year. But, the fact is, although Rafael is a defender by trade, he is a Brazilian by birth and the past 12 months has seen the right back show the world that he is, without a doubt, one of the finest fullbacks at the moment.
At the start of last season, not only did Rafael sign a new contract, he was also given the number 2 shirt, previously worn but England’s finest fullback of his generation,Gary Neville. And ever since then, Rafael has shown that he has what it takes to perhaps become even better than the Englishman.
Rafael was never short on talent, but what he lacked was the temperament to cut it at the biggest stage and in the last year, he has put his foot down and made the right back spot his own. He has been more disciplined at the back and that coupled with his overlapping runs from right back has meant, that the right flank has been one of United’s most productive attacking areas.
This season, although he was out injured initially, his return has seen a marked improvement in Valencia’s form and the pair have almost developed a telepathic understanding. Rafael has started to add goals to his game and is without a doubt, the finest fullback at the club at this moment.