ESPN Brasil features today an interview with former Liverpool goalkeeper Doni, who played for the club between 2011 and 2013.
The 41-year-old told a very interesting story about suggesting the signing of Alisson long before he was bought by the Premier League side from Roma for a hefty fee back in 2018.
He says he told Liverpool about his compatriot’s qualities when Alisson was still starting his career at Brazilian side Internacional. But people at Anfield Road weren’t convinced at that time.
“I suggested Alisson to Liverpool before Roma bought him! Liverpool had a chance to buy him a lot cheaper. I suggested to the club’s goalkeeper coach, John Achterberg, but they decided not to sign him”, Doni told ESPN Brasil.
“At the time, they told me they wanted a more concrete goalkeeper. Liverpool don’t make bets, as Roma bet on me and Alisson. When you take a goalkeeper out of Brazilian football and take him to Europe, he arrives surrounded by doubt. There were many more doubts in the past, it’s true. In my day, even, signing a Brazilian goalkeeper was seen as crazy, because it wasn’t normal.”
“The goalkeeper coach liked Alisson very much when I suggested, but whoever decides whether to sign or not is the board, along with the owners of the club. It’s a methodology that is little based on consultations and is more direct. And it’s quite different from Roma, who has the system in which who decides whether to sign or not is the sporting director together with the coach.”
Alisson left Internacional to sign for Roma in 2016 on a €8m deal. He played in Italy for two years, and was signed by Liverpool on a €62.5m move in 2018.
“I’m very happy for the success he had at Roma and for his achievements at Liverpool. He’s a player who has become the best goalkeeper in the world. I support him a lot, even though I don’t know him personally. He conveys the impression of being a very nice guy, and is becoming a very important athlete in the history of goalkeepers.”
“The Italian school of goalkeepers is the best in the world, and before that, he took the school from Brazil, which is very good and gives you a different basis. He did the ‘master’s’, say, in Italy, and then fell in the Premier League, which is the best league in the world, the fastest and most complete. And all this prepares you very well to play the Champions League too.”
Doni also made a move from Roma to Liverpool, but that happened in 2011. In his two years at the club, he only had four appearances, as Pepe Reina was the number one goalkeeper at that time.
He left England 2013, and after a short spell in Brazil, decided to retire.