Manchester United defender Rafael talks of Olympic 'crucifixion'
Manchester United defender Rafael da Silva believes he has emerged a stronger player from the 'crucifixion' he suffered after the Olympic Games.
Rafael, 22, has enjoyed a strong start to the 2012-13 campaign and has been, in the eyes of many observers, Manchester United's best defender of the campaign so far.
His much-praised new-found maturity comes off the back of a calamitous Olympic Games final this summer, after which he was heavily criticised at home for his role in Mexico's opening goal.
The defender believes that, whilst the treatment he suffered was unfair, he has returned to his club determined to put the affair behind him, leading to his improved showings this campaign.
"It was difficult. I was crucified a lot, perhaps unfairly," he told Lancenet. "I gave a bad pass at that time [in the final v Mexico]. It was early in the game and I had time to turn. But, it is a life lesson.
"I knew I had to be strong and keep my head up. That's what I did and I managed to put in some big performances and make myself first-choice here in Manchester."