Manchester United have wished Rafael the best of luck for the rest of his career on Twitter after French outfit Lyon reached an agreement with the Red Devils to sign the Brazilian full-back.
Rafael will sign a four-year deal with Lyon after Louis van Gaal effectively brought an end to his Manchester United career by securing the services of Italian right-back Matteo Darmian from Torino last month.
Several Manchester United stars - including David de Gea and Phil Jones - have taken to Twitter to say their goodbyes to the 25-year-old, who issued a farewell letter to the Red Devils and the club’s supporters via Instagram.
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“I want to thank Manchester United fans for all the love During Those 8 years,” Rafael wrote, alongside a picture collage of some of the best moments of his eight-year career at Old Trafford. “Since I signed with the club I lived incredible moments, after all it was 8 years wearing the shirt of one of the biggest clubs of the world. Thank you Manchester United FC.
“I also want to thank all employees who always treated me with great affection and [showed] me greater attention.”
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He continued: “Thank you United Kingdom, I learned a lot in this country, as a player, and no doubt as a human being, lessons I will keep for the rest of my life.
“Thank you Sir Alex Ferguson is always believing in my work and for all the doors That You opened up to me. Now it's a new path, a new challenge, God bless me!“
Stars pay their tributes to Rafael
United fans disappointed to see Rafael go
Rafael failed to convince Van Gaal of his qualities last season and was subsequently limited to just 11 appearances in all competitions under the veteran Dutch coach.
He departs United one year after his twin brother Fabio, with whom he has a very close relationship, also left Old Trafford.
Despite the arrival of Darmian, many Manchester United fans are disappointed to see Rafael leave the club.
Temperament was a problem
The South American possesses plenty of talent - as he demonstrated throughout Ferguson’s final season in charge of the Red Devils - but suffered from temperamental issues and the occasional lapse in concentration.
Nevertheless, some fans would have preferred the makeshift right-back Antonio Valencia to have left the club instead of Rafael - but Van Gaal trusted the former more than the latter last season.
Rafael will now have the opportunity to rebuild his career in Ligue 1, while he will also be hoping to be presented with the chance to add to his two international caps.
Brazil have not called up the defender since the 2012 Olympic Games in London, where he had an on-pitch altercation with teammate Juan in the final against Mexico.
Manchester United fans: will you miss Rafael? Is Louis van Gaal making a mistake? Have your say by leaving a comment in the box below!