Which twin makes it into our Nightmare XI?

Last week you met the man who decided football isn’t right for him and decided to become a cricketer. It can’t get worse than this can this? Or can it? Well, to complete out this defense that will be a shambles in any given match, we have Fabio Da Silva.

After Arnie Sidebottom who turned out for United back in the 1970s, we have a player some of the younger fans can identify.

While his brother was a fan-favorite at Old Trafford, the same cannot be said of Fabio. The term ‘the next Neville brothers’ might have been a bit premature as only Rafael lived up to the billing, even though not completely.


Before signing for United, Fabio spent time honing his skills at Brazilian club Fluminense along with his aforementioned twin Rafael. Despite not playing in a single first team game, Fabio along with Rafael did well enough to catch the eye of the network of scouts United have in place in Brazil and in no time the two had punched their tickets and were on their way to Manchester.

Soon after signing, the twins were named as successors to the Nevilles’ the last famous brother-brother duo to turn out for the club. Fabio however had to wait until his 18th birthday to officially become a United player given the rules regarding the transfer of underage players.


Fabio had a very successful first few matches for the reserves and immediately after his debut, he was the ‘one United were so desperately missing’. He impressed in the reserves’ and in no time he was kitting up along with the first team. He made the bench in the second game of the season against Portsmouth. With big things expected, it was unfortunate that Fabio suffered a shoulder injury which eventually required surgery to fix.

He finally made his debut in January in an FA Cup tie. Injury struck again as he withdrew shortly into the second period having picked up a muscle injury. In the 2009-10 season, he finally made his league debut having waited over a year since his appearance on the bench the previous campaign.

Up until this point, Fabio was the better twin in terms of footballing ability but in this series, you can’t expect a happy ending for the featured player.


One thing that stood out of Fabio’s game was his tendency to lunge in for the ball or should I saw player. What can only be called a professional foul, he was sent off in his second start of the season against the Wolves.

Fabio’s reputation of being a clumsy tackler came to the fore when he was once booked for a foul committed by his twin brother. While he was still the better player, Rafael had caught up with his brother and often looking like the better end product.

Eventually, after declining game time, United decided to loan him out for more consistent game time. Fabio went to London side QPR for the 2012-13 season and what is now being called the ‘Relegation Curse’ first struck Fabio. He was hugely underwhelming as Rangers went down in to the Championship. Rafael was superb as United won the League at a canter. The highlight of the season was Rafael’s goal at QPR. Fabio could only watch on.

The final nail in Fabio’s coffin was a red card against Swansea in the FA Cup in the David Moyes season. In a season of high quality screw-ups, Fabio is arguably top 3. Sent on for the final quarter of an hour, Fabio was red carded just 3 minutes in. United playing with a man less conceded a late goal and were knocked out of the Domestic Cup.

Later that month, Moyes accepted a bid from Cardiff City for Fabio and the brothers’ were separated.


After leaving the club, Fabio has suffered multiple relegations to follow up the one he suffered at QPR. He did not survive the Premier League as the Welsh side were relegated at the end of the season.

Fabio was a decent player in the Championship and became a fan favourite at Cardiff. In 2016, Fabio returned to the Premier League with Middlesbrough but again suffered the pain of relegation. It was the third time the Brazilian endured the unfortunate fate but surely the record must be close.