FABIO DA SILVA is set to return to Brazil this month after requesting to leave Middlesbrough for personal reasons.

The 27-year-old full-back wants to return to his homeland to be near his wife and daughters, and Brazilian club Botafogo are understood to be leading the chase for his services.

New Middlesbrough manager Tony Pulis has left Fabio out of the squad for both of his matches in charge, and the former Manchester United trainee posted a New Year message on Instagram that was effectively a farewell to his current employers.

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Boro officials are sympathetic to Fabio’s position, but will only agree to a deal that suits all parties. Having signed a two-year contract when he joined Middlesbrough from Cardiff City in the summer of 2016, Fabio has entered the final six months of his current deal.

He has made 48 senior appearances in a Boro shirt, scoring two goals, but George Friend started Monday’s 3-2 win at Preston, having also played in the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa that kicked off Pulis’ reign at the Riverside.

“Fabio has come and seen me, and said that he’d asked the club to leave previously,” said Pulis. “He would like to leave if he possibly could. I don’t think it’s anything against the club, I don’t think it’s anything against anyone. I think he just feels that, for his family, there are other offers out there that he would like to accept given the opportunity.

“But that’s up to Steve and the directors, whether they believe that deal is worth doing. Fabio seems a wonderful lad, a great kid, and he’s been good around the place, there’s been no bad feeling or anything like that. He’s worked hard, so we’ll wait and see.”

Both Fabio and his twin brother, Rafael, were boyhood supporters of Botafogo, even though they started their careers with the Rio de Janeiro club’s fierce rivals, Fluminense, before moving to Manchester United.