Despite being one of the most improved players at Old Trafford, and claiming a third Premier League title winners' medal last season, Rafael's history with the Selecao is a chequered one.
The full-back was called into the senior squad for the first time in 2010 but did not make his debut for another two years, when he came on as a substitute against Denmark.
He was then selected for Brazil's Olympic squad last summer, which was supposed to provide the platform for a World Cup challenge on home soil in 2014.
But Rafael was blamed for a key error in Brazil's final defeat by Mexico at Wembley, since when he has disappeared from the senior squad completely and was overlooked for the recent Confederations Cup when coach Luis Felipe Scolari opted to select only one orthodox right-back in Dani Alves.
The perception is Rafael does not care, having left his homeland on his 18th birthday along with twin brother Fabio to take up a contract offer with the Red Devils. But Rafael insists the perception is wrong.
"People think I don't want to play for Brazil because I left at such a young age," he told Press Association Sport.
"That is not true at all. My brother and I left because life for any young Brazilian player is full of uncertainty. It is the same in England but we knew Manchester United represented a big chance for us.
"The people back home thought we didn't care. We do care. I would love the chance to play for my country again.
"I don't think about it so much because of what has happened and because there is a lot to do with my club but the dream of playing in the World Cup for Brazil in Brazil never goes away. I would love it to happen."
- Sports & Recreation