New deal for Rafael

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Manchester United right back Rafael has signed a two-year contract extension until June 2013 at Old Trafford.

It is the 18-year-old Brazilian's reward for an outstanding first season in England. Rafael has made 24 appearances, scoring one goal and manager Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted with his progress.

"Everyone at the club has been very impressed and excited by his first year as a professional," Ferguson told "His enthusiasm and the adventurous way he plays is typical of a Manchester United player and we are delighted that he has signed a new contract."

Rafael, who arrived in July last year after being brought up in Rio de Janiero, hopes to have a long association with United.

He said: "It has been a fantastic first year and I have learned from all the players at the club but especially from the defenders.

"It has been an exciting time for me and I want to be part of this for a long time so to get an extension is unbelievable."

Rafael was part of the team which defeated Tottenham 5-2 at home on Saturday to move three points clear of Liverpool at the top of the Barclays Premier League.

He could also be involved on Wednesday in the Champions League semi-final first leg against Arsenal at Old Trafford.

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