The Brazilian, who now plays for Lyon in the French league, played 170 games for United and joined in 2008, when Solskjaer was a coach at the club and then manager of the Under 23s.
‘I love Ole. I love the person he is and the manager he is. Of course, there is a lot still to do but I think he’s doing it the right way’ the 29-year-old said.
‘He’s a person who loves Manchester United and he’s going to do everything to help the club. I saw it when I was with him when he coached me and it is important.’
‘He’s a guy who is going to think about Manchester United first rather than himself. A lot of coaches are never going to do that, they are going to think about them and after about the club.’
The former right back also talked about the problems the club has had in adapting to life after Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
‘When he left it was a shock to everyone… not just for me but for all of the players.’
‘He stayed for a long, long time with the same structure and the same people. Then a new manager comes and what is he going to do? How many people does he bring with him? What’s he going to change after 27 years of victory? It’s hard when a guy comes and it’s like that.’
‘It has taken too long to get back on track. It’s been seven years. We did some things wrong. We started signing expensive players and giving them a lot of money. I don’t agree with that.’
‘Just because a player costs £150 million does not mean he’s good for the team. It depends on the character of the player.’
Like with his twin brother Fabio who plays for Nantes, Rafael has gone on to have a successful career in Ligue 1 and has been capped twice for Brazil. But he says playing for United was still the highlight of his career.
‘I cannot even explain how that feeling was because it’s a different feeling to everything else. You play for Manchester United, the best club in the world. It’s just love. Love and passion’ he said.
United are hoping to make Jadon Sancho the next player to wear the famous number 7 shirt. But how much do you know about the players who have worn it before? Take our quiz below to find out.