When Manchester City spent a fortune signing Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur this summer, no one really expected Pep Guardiola to splash another big amount on one more right-back.
But a few days later, the manager signed Danilo from Real Madrid in a €30m deal.
The Brazilian had great spells at Santos and Porto, but hadn’t been a regular starter at Real Madrid, although he was an increasingly respected member of the squad.
And with four appearances for Manchester City so far, the 26-year-old has already shown why he was wanted by Guardiola. He can be much more than a right-back, having played in midfield and central defence already.
Danilo spoke to Brazilian outlet UOL, and told them all the story about his move from Real Madrid to Manchester City, especially how the Catalan manager convinced him to make the transfer.
“It wasn’t an easy decision, I thought about it for a couple of months. I always made it clear that I would go out to a club that really wanted me and that manager and board were willing to bet on me. The project and facilities of Manchester City helped to convince me to come here, because it wasn’t easy to leave Real Madrid, especially in such a winning time for the club.
“The call from Guardiola was also very important to make me motivated and at ease at City. The quality of the squad also made quite a difference. They are experienced players. And the facilities of the club are phenomenal, one of the best, I can easily compare with Real Madrid’s.”
Asked to talk a bit more about that chat with Guardiola, the player said: “He called me while I was in preseason with Real Madrid, and within two days the clubs got it right and everything happened the way I wanted it to be, I’d already told Zidane that if something interesting came up for me, I’d take it.
“He tried to hold me at Real until the last day, and he is a very important guy in my career, he gave me a lot of confidence and opportunity, but I’ve always been a Guardiola fan because of the way his teams play: possession football, with the team lines well advanced, with pressure on the opponent.
“It is something that delights me a lot. From the moment he called me and said that I would be an important piece in what he thinks for the club, it became a crucial point. The possibility to use me in various positions also weighed because I have always had this versatility and I like to explore that side of my football.”
Manchester City now have four Brazilians, and the relationship between them and the manager seems to be pretty good. First it was Ederson who made a joke about Pep’s hair, and now Danilo told more about it.
“Brazilians have the ability to adapt very quickly to any type of situation, Gabriel doesn’t speak English, but he can communicate with everyone even in Portuguese, which is an important influence to cheer up the changing room and make the environment a bit lighter.
“The DJ is Fernandinho, since he’s been at the club for many years, so we have to respect him. The most popular Brazilian song is that from Revelação: ‘Erga essa cabeça, mete o pé e vai na fé…’. The lads like this one a lot. Even Guardiola got excited on the plane.
“He’s a guy who has interest in other cultures and for the history he has with Brazilians, you can see that he really likes our culture. The day we got the day off he joked: ‘Run to get the caipirinha out of the body!”