Manchester United's season tainted by Champions League failure, admits Rafael

The Red Devils right-back says defeat to Real Madrid in the last-16 of Europe's premier club competition remains the only regret after an amazing campaign at Old Trafford
Manchester United defender Rafael says the club's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid remains a disappointment despite their Premier League triumph.

The Red Devils lost out to los Blancos amid controversy at Old Trafford as Nani was sent off for a dangerous challenge, resulting in Sir Alex Ferguson's final European campaign ending in a premature exit.

Rafael says the loss against the Liga runners-up still irks the Man United players despite an otherwise very successful domestic campaign.

"It was an amazing season but maybe we could have won against Real Madrid in the Champions League, you know. However, being a champion means that it is a very, very good season," the Brazilian told the club's official website.

"That’s the mentality. We couldn’t win against Madrid and we were disappointed about that but it’s okay. We won the league title and I think we were focused this season to get the trophy back to Old Trafford."

On a personal level the Brazil international enjoyed a breakthrough campaign during which he managed to establish himself as the champions' first-choice right-back.

He continued: "I think I have just been consistent this season. I think I am getting more mature, like I’ve always said, and it has been a very good season for me."

The 22-year-old's performances were also recognised by Sir Alex. The outgoing Old Trafford boss named the defender among his top four contenders for the club's Player of the Year award.

"That’s very nice to hear coming from him," Rafael added. "There are such good players at United, and the fact that he picked me as one of the four [alongside Robin van Persie, Michael Carrick and David de Gea] is so good. I’m very happy."