Manchester United defender Rafael has confirmed his departure from the club with a goodbye note to supporters on Instagram.
An announcement is expected shortly from the club to confirm the news formally but the statement from the right back shows that he has already agreed to join French side Lyon.
‘I want to thank Manchester United fans for all the love during those 8 years,’ wrote Rafael. ‘Since I signed with the club I lived incredible moments, after all it was 8 years wearing the shirt of one of the biggest clubs of the world. Thank you Manchester United FC. I also want to thank all employees who always treated me with great affection and gave me greater attention. Thank you United Kingdom, I learned a lot in this country, as a player, and no doubt as a human being, lessons that I will keep for the rest of my life. Thank you Sir Alex Ferguson for always believing in my work and for all the doors that you opened up to me. Now it’s a new path, a new challenge, God bless me!’
It is perhaps telling that Rafael name-checked Sir Alex and not David Moyes or Louis van Gaal, having fallen out of favour over the last two years.
The transfer is expected to be for around £2m – although United were hoping for a higher fee. Rafael arrived at Old Trafford in 2008 with his twin brother Fabio. He won three league titles at the club.