Born in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, Rafael spent his formative years at Brazilian club Internacional and Italian club Empoli FC. The midfielder signed his first professional contract in January of 2009 with Brazilian third tier side Caxias, but soon moved on to another Brazilian side Guaratinguetá.
Over the next few years, Rafael played most of his football in Portugal with Vitória SC, FC Arouca among others. In his decade long career he has also featured for clubs in UAE, Iran and Poland.
Rafael joins two-time ISL Champions Chennaiyin FC from CD Feirense – a Portuguese club which used to compete in the top-tier Primeira Liga (Liga NOS), but were relegated last season.
Crivellaro brings his vast experience in Portugal to Chennai. He has made 95 appearances in the Portuguese top-tier (goals 7, assists 7) and 46 appearances in the second division Liga Pro (16 goals).