Rafael has recalled the rousing speech Sir Alex Ferguson gave to his Manchester United players after they were dramatically pipped to the Premier League title by Manchester City on the final day of the 2011/12 season.
The Red Devils missed out on title that season thanks to a last-gasp goal from City hitman Sergio Aguero, which will forever be etched in the Premier League annals.
Just minutes before Aguero sealed City's first Premier League title with a 3-2 victory over QPR, United had thought their 1-0 win over Sunderland was enough for them to claim top spot.
That, however, didn't end up being the case and – understandably – led to dejection amongst the United players.
Never one to let a setback consume his team, Ferguson immediately set about using United's final day heartache as motivation for the 2012/13 season.
"He was so inspiring. When we lost the title to City at Sunderland in 2012, I was 100 per cent convinced we would win it back the next season after everything he said in the dressing," Rafael said of Ferguson in an interview with The Athletic. "It was just an amazing speech.”
(figures from BBC Sport)
The former United full-back – who is currently plying his trade in Turkey with İstanbul Basaksehir – then went on to reveal Fergie's rousing words, which bore fruit as United reclaimed the title from their local rivals the following season.
He said: "'You see this, you see what’s happened here today, you remember this feeling, you remember that in every moment of every game next season.'”
When pressed further on Ferguson's motivational speeches, which often included the infamous hairdryer, the Brazilian said: “It worked.
"Before every game, I remembered what happened and put 200 per cent into every game. We came from behind to win a lot that season (eight times in their first 15 Premier League games) and it all stemmed from his speech in the dressing room at Sunderland.
"That was the difference between winning and losing. Sometimes, people lose, get sad and devastated and say, ‘F***ing hell.’
"Others, like Sir Alex, think about the next game and say, ‘I need to win.’ He was devastated but he had the power and strength to inspire us."
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