Manchester United full-back Rafael has signed a new four-year deal which will see the Brazilian remain at Old Trafford until the end of 2015/16.

The 21-year-old defender has spent the past four years in England, and his impressive performances for the Premier League giants has earned him international recognition.

Red Devils boss Sir Alex Ferguson is delighted to have secured the highly rated South American's signature for the foreseeable future, and hopes the youngster will play an integral part in the club's bid for both domestic and European success.

"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 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."

A former product of the Fluminense academy in his native Brazil, Rafael arrived in Manchester in 2008 alongside twin brother and fellow defender Fabio da Silva, and quickly set about breaking into the senior United side.

Now considered a first-team regular, the right-back has already set his sights on regaining the Premier League title from local rivals Manchester City, and is relishing the start of the 2012/13 campaign.

"I am so happy to sign a new contract," he beamed. "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."

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