Rafael: Van Gaal told me I could leave United after one-minute meeting

"I couldn't handle him anymore." Rafael da Silva lifted the lid on his brief relationship with former Manchester United boss Louis van Gaal.

Former Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal   -  Getty Images

Rafael da Silva revealed he was told he could leave Manchester United following a one-minute meeting with former manager Louis van Gaal as the Lyon full-back said he could not handle the Dutchman anymore.

A three-time Premier League winner under legendary manager Alex Ferguson at United, Rafael was sold to Ligue 1 outfit Lyon by Van Gaal in 2015, a year after his appointment at Old Trafford.

Almost three years on from his departure, Brazilian Rafael lifted the lid on his brief relationship with Van Gaal in Manchester.

"When it was announced that Van Gaal was taking over, four or five people, including players, called me to say that he doesn't like Brazilian players," Rafael told ESPN. "They pointed out what had happened with Rivaldo [who clashed with Van Gaal] at Barcelona, but I didn't believe it.

"In his first season, Van Gaal called me to his office and said: 'You can leave. The meeting lasted one minute. That was it: 'You can leave.' It took time for me to go, but I was desperate to leave when I did, and that saddens me because I loved everything about Manchester United.

"Van Gaal texted me to say: 'You know how football is.' I couldn't believe it. He didn't speak to me and then texted me to wish me well. I said: 'Thank you.' I was being polite. But I was angry."

Rafael added: "Van Gaal is not a bad coach, but I didn't like his character. One day, I was in the canteen waiting to eat. Van Gaal used to speak to us after we'd eaten each day. I had a head injury after a game at Yeovil -- one of the few games I played in that season -- and I was touching my injury. After three or four seconds, he touched my head and said: 'Why don't you respect me?'

"I stood up and said: 'I always respect you. I've never said anything which was disrespectful to you.' I am a patient guy, but I got angry then. I had done nothing wrong. Antonio [Valencia] later said to me: 'You're not going to play again.' Players didn't speak back to Van Gaal. Antonio was almost right; I barely played again.

"I love Manchester United, but I was so desperate to leave United. Only one man did that because I liked everything about the place. I couldn't handle him anymore."

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