Reading have completed their first major exit of the January transfer window with Rafael departing for Brazilian club Cruzeiro. His contact with the Royals was terminated by mutual consent on Monday before his new destination was announced on Tuesday.
The 31-year-old joined on a free in August 2019, agreeing a three-year deal that was due to expire in June. With the Royals struggling for a shot-stopper at the time, he immediately bolstered the defence and played an integral role in a season that settled the club following consecutive relegation battles.
Fans voted Rafael their official and TTE player of the season for 2019/20 and he was again a regular in the following year’s play-off battle. This campaign, he played the first six league games but suffered a hand injury after the 3-3 draw with QPR - reportedly after punching a wall in the immediate aftermath of that collapse at the SCL.
The game, in which Reading upped their goals conceded tally to 16 in six matches, proved to be his last in the Championship. Academy graduate Luke Southwood has done a convincing job between the sticks as his replacement and the subsequent new custodian. Rafael’s only other appearance came against Kidderminster in the FA Cup.
Reading are not expected to receive a transfer fee for the deal, or at least not a big one, with Rafael’s wages taken off the books to help the club’s financial situation. Goal reported that Cabral will receive 300,000 Brazilian reals per month (just shy of £40,000 per month), with his agent - Kia Joorabchian - being paid €300,000 (just over £250,000) in commission for the transfer.