With a discreet off-field style and serene with the ball at his feet, Danilo fits into the cliché of the “mineirinho”, who eats quietly, around the edges. Born in the city of Bicas, 290 km from the capital Belo Horizonte, the Juventus right-back conquered space in the Brazilian team and established himself as a starter on the journey towards the World Cup in Qatar.
The only Brazilian player to act in the nine clashes played in the Qualifiers, Danilo is about to become the most used right-back in the Tite era, which began in 2016. With 26 matches, he has equaled Daniel Alves and can overtake him this Sunday, in front of Colombia, at 6 pm (from Brasília).
At 30, the player has already made 61 calls for the national team since 2011 and has played 41 games, having even been a starter in the Russian World Cup debut – later he got injured and was replaced by Fagner in the other duels.
However, Danilo’s statement on the team is more recent. After the 2019 Copa America, Daniel Alves lost space in the Seleção, and he took advantage of the vacuum, participating in all of the last 18 matches.
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Danilo is the only player on the Brazilian national team to play all of the qualifiers — Photo: Lucas Figueiredo / CBF
Tactical understanding and quality marking are attributes praised in the player, who has worked with some of the world’s top coaches today, such as Pep Guardiola, Zidane, Maurizio Sarri, among others.
However, he is less of a protagonist in the attack than his predecessor and competitor Daniel Alves.
– Danilo brings defensive solidity, releasing second midfielder, releasing a right-wing attacker in this balance of idea. He normally gives, together with the two defenders, a freedom for six other players to flow, transit, arrive, and him arriving from behind, as an element of surprise. If I look to Danilo for amplitude, if I look for central infiltration from him, as Dani does, or in the amplitude with Emerson, I wouldn’t be taking his best features from him. It’s nice to have this question so that people know his function – said Tite, at a press conference on Saturday.
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Although he has the confidence of the coach and comes on a long streak as a starter, the Juventus player cannot yet be appointed as the owner of the position. He still lives with the shadow of Daniel Alves, who is looking for a club for 2022, and has competition from other players, as Tite pointed out in an interview after the last call:
– I had a contact with Dani Alves, by message. Rather, it is a cheer for him to find his best path. How important he is not only for the national team, but for Brazilian football. I have a lot of respect. It also has competition with everyone else. We are hoping that his situation is handled in the best possible way. For him to compete with Fagner, Danilo, Emerson, Gabriel Menino and several athletes.
Brazil leads the qualifiers with 100% success after nine rounds. After the duel against Colombia, Brazil returns to the field on Thursday, against Uruguay, at Arena da Amazônia, in Manaus.