Fábio Pereira da Silva (Brazilian Portuguese: ; born 9 July 1990), commonly known as Fábio or Fábio da Silva, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a full-back for English club Middlesbrough. He and his twin brother Rafael began their careers with Fluminense in their native Brazil before being signed by English club Manchester United in February 2007. Unlike his brother, Fábio struggled to hold down a place in the Manchester United first team, and after a loan spell with Queens Park Rangers in 2012–13, he made a permanent move to Cardiff City in January 2014.
Fábio was born in Petrópolis, approximately one hour's drive from Rio de Janeiro in Rio de Janeiro state, and began playing football from age five. He and his identical twin Rafael would play five-a-side in the city. They were then spotted by a representative of Fluminense, who gave them the opportunity to play for the club; they went to live at the club's training centre at Xerém when they were just 11 years old.
Fábio began his football career as a defensive midfielder with his local club, Boa Esperança, but he was converted to left back when he joined Fluminense. With Fluminense, Fábio took part in the 2005 Nike Premier Cup in Hong Kong, where he was spotted by Manchester United scout Les Kershaw, who remarked that the twins reminded him of "two little whippets". Kershaw then telephoned Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and recommended that the club sign the Silva twins. Manchester United got in touch with Fluminense and asked permission for the twins to travel to Manchester to train with them in 2005. Shortly afterwards, a scout claiming to represent Arsenal visited the twins and asked them to come to England to train with Arsenal without the permission of Fluminense. However, they were dissuaded from this by their mother, who reminded them that they had been with Fluminense since they were 11, and that they should show the club some loyalty. Therefore, they decided to sign for Manchester United over Arsenal, and the two clubs agreed a deal in February 2007. The twins moved to Manchester in January 2008 without ever having played for the Fluminense first team.
Despite signing for the club in February 2007, Fábio was unable to be registered as a Manchester United player or play in matches for the club until his 18th birthday on 9 July 2008. He made his first appearance for Manchester United on 4 August 2008, coming on as a half-time substitute for Patrice Evra in a 2–0 friendly win away to Peterborough United. His performance in that game was praised, with Today claiming that "Manchester United finally found out what they were missing". He has since played in eight matches for the club's reserve team, scoring five goals – including a hat-trick against Rochdale in the Lancashire Senior Cup on 16 March 2009 – and was named on the bench for United's second Premier League match of the season against Portsmouth on 25 August 2008. However, Fábio's competitive debut for the Manchester United first team was delayed by a shoulder injury, which required surgery.
Fábio finally made his debut on 24 January 2009, in the 2–1 FA Cup Fourth Round win over Tottenham Hotspur. However, he incurred an injury to his calf shortly into the second half and had to be replaced by fellow debutant Richard Eckersley. Fábio made his Premier League debut on 16 August, playing at right-back at home to Birmingham City on the opening day of the 2009–10 season. He made his second start of the season at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the third round of the League Cup, but was red-carded just short of the half-hour mark for a professional foul on Michael Kightly.
On 21 October, Fábio was handed his UEFA Champions League debut in a 1–0 win over CSKA Moscow. He started the match but came off shortly before the end with an injury. Sir Alex Ferguson expressed his pleasure with Fábio's performance, especially with the match being played on an artificial surface. On 27 October, Fábio was booked for a foul committed by his twin brother Rafael in United's 2–0 League Cup victory over Barnsley. Manchester United appealed and The Football Association ("FA") agreed it was a case of mistaken identity, transferring the card to Rafael. On 1 April 2010, Fábio signed a contract extension with Manchester United that would tie him to the club until at least June 2014. Fábio scored his first goal for United on 26 February 2011, netting the final goal in a 4–0 away win over Wigan Athletic. Just two weeks later, he scored again, netting his first FA Cup goal and first at Old Trafford, opening the scoring from close range in a 2–0 win over Arsenal. On 28 May 2011, Fábio started the UEFA Champions League Final against Barcelona; United lost the match 3–1.