Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva may never play for the club again after suffering three broken ribs in Monday's Under-21 clash with Leicester City.
As reported by the Daily Mail, the Brazilian full-back, who has endured a tricky time under Red Devils boss Louis van Gaal throughout the course of the campaign, now looks set to miss the remainder of the season, with the injury likely to keep him out of action for around six weeks.
The same report from the Mail claims that Rafael is surplus to requirements at the Theatre of Dreams, but was hoping to impress the club's boss before the end of the campaign.
Article continues below
It appears, though, that he will now be sold after a torrid campaign, which has seen him play in just 10 Premier League games this term.
In fact, despite making the squad in the club's last four fixtures, Rafael has failed to make it off the bench, and he may now fail to make another appearance for the club he's spent his entire first-team career at.
Article continues below
Ultimately, the form of Antonio Valenica has harmed Rafael's first-team chances this season. In truth, despite the Ecuadorian primarily being a winger, the ex-Wigan man has made the right-back position his own.
After making a mistake against Arsenal in the FA Cup back in March, the 29-year-old has been magnificent of late, proving his credentials in the defensive role.
With 27 Premier League appearances, Van Gaal certainly trusts him to do the business - unlike Rafael.
Ruthless Van Gaal
Ultimately, Van Gaal hasn't been afraid to get rid of United's struggling stars. Since he took over, he's sent the likes of Danny Welbeck, Darren Fletcher and Co. packing, while the likes of Tom Cleverley, Nani and Javier Hernandez have all departed on loan.
Rafael, then, may well be the next out of the Old Trafford exit door, and it's not entirely surprising. There's no doubt about it,the flamboyant defender is extremely talented, but just hasn't been able to prove his credentials on a consistent basis for some time now.
The 24-year-old may well be hoping he has one more season to show off his talents, but he may not be handed that opportunity.
Manchester United fans: Does Rafael deserve one more season to impress Van Gaal? Have your say in the comments section below!
Do YOU want to write for GiveMeSport? Get started today by signing-up and submitting an article HERE: http://gms.to/writeforgms