Exclusive : “Sir Alex Told Me I Was Playing The Champions League Final In An Elevator”

Manchester United cult icon Fabio Da Silva has revealed the extraordinary story of how he was told he would play in the Champions League final in 2011.

Fabio was selected against Barcelona after a run of great form. It was undoubtedly his best run as a United player, in a special career where he won the League title at Old Trafford.

In an exclusive interview with our YouTube channel, Fabio lifted the lid on this story, his thoughts on the current set up at United, Rafael’s return to Botafogo and much more.

Asked what his favourite memory of Sir Alex was, Fabio said : “To be honest it’s something personal. Something I’ll never forget. Two days before the Champions League final we were in the elevator. He hadn’t picked the team yet but he said, ‘Son, just be prepared, you’re going to play. You deserve to play this game.’ I can always remember being in the elevator with him coming down to dinner. I’ve never forgotten that since.’”

Fabio has also defended Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who he played under at United in the reserve team as well as at Cardiff, saying that it wouldn’t be enough for him just to win – he wants to win playing good football.

“He definitely wanted performances,” he said, exclusively to our podcast. “He wouldn’t be happy just to win. In any season you’re going to play poorly and win. That’s part of football. But Ole as a coach wants to win playing good football. He’s not going to accept just winning and not having a nice way to play.”

Fabio explained how he reacted to the news that Cristiano Ronaldo had returned to United.

“I exchanged a lot of messages with friends. I put a picture up of us playing together and a lot of people who watched us play sent messages,” he said. “It’s very exciting for me to see him in the red shirt again. I hope he and United have a great season. These weeks have been hard but I hope they bounce back and win something.”

“I don’t have the words, it’s hard to speak about him. Look at what he’s doing – it’s incredible. It’s something you’re never going to see, one of the greatest players in the history of the world. He’s making it look easy.”

Fabio also spoke about his excitement about the prospect of facing Lionel Messi against PSG in a few weeks, the importance of being open about mental health and anxiety in football.

You can watch the interview here or download it on all audio platforms.

Wayne Barton

Wayne is a writer and producer. His numerous books on Manchester United include the family-authorised biography of Jimmy Murphy. He wrote and produced the BT Sport films 'Too Good To Go Down' in 2018, and 'True Genius', in 2021, both adapted from his books of the same name. In 2015 he was described by the Independent as the 'leading writer on Manchester United' and former club chairman Martin Edwards has described him as 'the pre-eminent writer on the club'.

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