Rafael made his return from injury for Manchester United against Newcastle this week with an appearance from the bench.
The Brazilian right-back had been sidelined since October after injuring his groin in training and United fans were happy to see him back in action.
Antonio Valencia has deputised very well in the right wing-back role but nobody is under any illusions that Rafael remains the better right-back, so it will be interesting to see who Louis van Gaal decides to play now that both are available for selection.
Much has been said of Van Gaal’s impression of Rafael and whether he has a long term future under United’s new boss but there is no doubt he remains the best right-back currently in the squad.
Rafael is in contention to start against Tottenham Hotspur today and if not then the New Years Day fixture against Stoke City is another opportunity in quick succession thanks to the fixture list pile-up.