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Rafael on learning English and his Royals spell so far

Goalkeeper looks ahead to first English festive fixture schedule

19 December 2019

Rafael did not speak any English upon his arrival with the Royals in the summer, but he has been working and studying every day alongside his training schedule to learn the language, to help him communicate with his teammates and adapt to life in England.


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The goalkeeper's rate of progress on that front has been remarkable, picking up enough English within four months to confidently undertake the club's media obligations ahead of the visit of Derby County on Saturday afternoon.

Rafael and his teammates have been hard at work preparing for the Rams' arrival on Saturday, which kicks off the busy festive period of five matches in two weeks for the Royals - something which the Brazilian will be experiencing for the first time in his career.

"This week has been very important, because last week was very long. It was very tiring because we had two games away from home, and the work this week has been very good. We're working hard, we're working well and we're happy. 

"We wanted to win last weekend, we could have won this game, but when I don't take a goal against, I'm happy. If we can win and get a clean sheet it's perfect, but a clean sheet and a draw in this league is good. 

"I'm working every day for making a clean sheet, because that's my job," he smiled. "I played in Brazil and I played six years in Italy, and the Italian football is very, very good, but my dream was to play in England.

"The football in Italy is more tactical, and the football here is more physical. In every game, the last 10 minutes is crazy - very difficult to win the games, but I love this football.

"I'm very happy here, my family is very happy. We are adapting of course, to a new language, new weather, new football.

"I'm learning English - before, I didn't speak any English when I arrived four months ago. I love it in Reading, I love the people, this team has got very good people. I'm very happy.

"It's too cold - every morning, I'm freezing! In the game against Barnsley, I was freezing because it was at night. It's different, but I'm loving it."

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Rafael and the Royals are looking forward to a match on Saturday that will see them play against a Derby side that has won just once in their last seven matches, scoring only three times on that run - but the Royals know they can take nothing for granted on the day.

"It's always nice to play in our stadium," he continued. "Our stadium is amazing and our fans, now we've got two games at home. 

"These are very important games, our team is confident. We know it will be difficult because they've got very good players, they are a very good team.

"But we too have very good players, a very good team. We have confidence, we'll play to win the game. This is our focus, our target. I'm sure we are ready."

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