Reading goalkeeper Rafael Cabral is currently in talks with Cruzeiro over a potential return to home nation Brazil, as per Radio Itatiaia.
The 31-year-old is currently playing second fiddle to Luke Southwood after seeing him step up to the plate well in his absence, suffering an injury after their September draw against Queens Park Rangers and failing to break into the starting lineup for the Royals in the Championship since.
He did make a brief return between the sticks last weekend, starting away at Kidderminster Harriers and putting in a promising first-half display against the sixth-tier side.
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However, he was arguably at fault for both of Harriers’ goals and with the Berkshire side looking to cut costs after receiving a points deduction for breaking the EFL’s profit and sustainability rules, he is one man seemingly on his way out of the Select Car Leasing Stadium.
Jokull Andresson and James Holden have both been recalled from their respective loan spells at Morecambe and Maidenhead United this month, increasing speculation over the Brazilian’s future with little prospect of him re-establishing himself as the club’s number one keeper.
His contract comes to an end in the summer, although a move for the 31-year-old looks likely if Brazilian second-tier side Cruzeiro wish to push this move through.
At this stage with Rafael likely to be on a sizeable salary, now is the time for all parties to say goodbye because it’s quite clear that his time at the Select Car Leasing Stadium is up.
He may have had a chance of knocking Southwood off his perch after seeing the academy graduate make an error for Derby County’s consolation goal last Monday – but he made costly mistakes of his own against Kidderminster.
During his first season in Berkshire, he was a real asset and stepped in well as Joao Virginia struggled. But since the summer of 2020, the shot-stopper hasn’t looked the same and now sitting on the bench, the player himself may also want a move.
His career may be far from over considering his age, especially as a goalkeeper, but a move to Brazil may be the dream at this stage for personal reasons, whilst also allowing him to continue playing professional football.
In that sense, he’s getting the best of both worlds and with his contract coming to an end at the end of the campaign anyway, it would make sense for him to be let go.
An experienced replacement on a low wage could be useful though considering how youthful the club’s goalkeeping department would be without his presence.