Meet Brazil’s latest full-back sensation: Man Utd, Barcelona and Real Madrid target Danilo

When envisaging the best attacking full-backs football has ever seen, there is a fair bet that Brazilian players filter into consideration.

From the non-stop running of Cafu to the power and shooting ability of Roberto Carlos, the South American nation have had some amazing players in that position in the recent memory.

The inhabitants of the Brazil national side’s full-back positions at the summer’s World Cup on home soil both ply their trade in the Clásico sides, while a new breed of attacking full-backs are continuing to develop.

Arguably the brightest full-back proposition in Brazilian football, and arguably in the global game, is Porto right-back Danilo.

The 23-year-old has shot to prominence at the Estadio do Dragao over recent campaigns and currently has some of Europe’s most prestigious clubs embroiled in a tug-of-war for his services.

The talented defender came through the ranks at América Mineiro, before joining the likes of Neymar and Ganso at Santos in 2010.

Although the attacking talent at Vila Belmiro captured the plaudits during Danilo’s time at the club, the full-back was an unsung hero in Santos winning the 2011 Copa Libertadores the year after he signed for them.

The Brazilian only managed 18 months with Santos before the inevitable move to Europe came, with Porto snatching up the star alongside fellow full-back Alex Sandro.

The South American defender took the first six months to settle in his new home, but has been Porto’s first-choice right-back for the last two-and-a-half seasons.

Having won two Primeira Liga titles in Portugal, Danilo has matured since making the switch to European football and is now also a regular in the Brazilian national set-up.

His ability to get forward in typical Brazilian fashion, a combativeness when contesting possession and excellent technique and delivery mean that he is currently one of European football’s most in-demand players.

DaniloThe time has seemingly come for the next step in the defender’s career, with Porto astute at selling their prize assets for maximum financial gain.

Both Clásico sides are being touted as major suitors of Danilo on an almost daily basis, while Manchester United are also regularly linked with a move for the South American.

On the face of it, the Brazilian has options that most players can only dream of but must make a careful decision over where he wants to play his football next season.

Barcelona are looking for a long-term replacement for Dani Alves, with the experienced right-back out of contract this summer and seemingly set to leave Camp Nou for a new challenge.

There are certainly similarities between Alves and compatriot Danilo, with the Porto man looking like an excellent replacement for his elder countryman.

Real Madrid are also supposedly keen to sign the wideman, where competition for a starting berth against Dani Carvajal would await Danilo.

Although the Spaniard is not exactly a global superstar, Carvajal has played an understated role in Madrid’s winning of La Décima last season and rise to the top of La Liga this term.

Meanwhile, Manchester United’s right-back options have failed to fully impress this season, with Antonio Valencia the best of Louis van Gaal’s contingent.

With fellow Brazilian Rafael out of sorts and Paddy McNair still learning his trade, there is scope for Danilo to move to Old Trafford and command a regular place in the English side’s starting XI.

As Van Gaal prefers a 3-5-2 formation when given the option, a roving wing-back role seems to suit Danilo down to the ground.

At 23 and with only 11 caps to his name, Danilo is still emerging in the global setting and is someone who is currently looked at as a good player with potential to improve.

However, revisiting this article in a couple of years will surely vindicate that the Porto man has the potential to play at a much higher level and become one of world football’s most impressive attacking full-backs.

By
I am a freelance football journalist from Northern Ireland living in Broome in Western Australia. I have worked for top media outlets such as FourFourTwo, goal.com, Soccerlens, Football Fancast and Here is the City. I am a lifelong and long-suffering Tottenham fan. Follow me on Twitter at @90MinsOnline
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