Date of birth
The 29-year-old stopper joined permanently in 2019 to swap Serie A side Sampdoria for squad number 33 at Madejski Stadium.
Having come through the Academy ranks at Santos, Rafael Cabral Barbosa made his professional debut against Cruzeiro in Mineirão, keeping a clean sheet in a goalless affair in June 2010.
The 6’1” stopper soon became a regular at the Estádio Vila Belmiro and made more than 100 appearances for Santos before swapping South America for Europe in signing for Napoli in 2013.
Initially playing understudy to Pepe Reina, Rafael soon became Rafa Benitez’s no.1 at Stadio San Paolo, making his debut against Udinese in December 2013.
His first taste of European competition came in two different tournaments that season - both against British opposition. He started against Arsenal in a 2-0 Champions League victory that came courtesy of a Gonzalo Higuain strike in Naples, before keeping a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw against Swansea City in the Europa League a couple of months later.
At the end of 2014, Rafael came up against opposite number Gianluigi Buffon in the Supercoppa Italiana played between cup-winners Napoli and Serie A champions Juventus. Rafael saved spotkicks from Giorgio Chiellini Simone Padoin to bring the silverware back to Naples.
He moved to Sampdoria in July 2018 but mutually agreed to cancel his contract early at Stadio Luigi Ferraris to allow him to leave Genoa and begin a fresh new challenge in RG2.
He debuted for the Royals against Wycombe in the EFL Cup and produced penalty heroics by saving two Wanderers’ efforts from 12 yards to ensure Reading’s progression in the competition that August.
That was the start of an impressive first campaign between the sticks for the Royals - at the end of 2020-21, he was named the supporters' Player of the Season.