Juventus completed a fullback swap deal with Manchester City last week, sending Joao Cancelo to the English champions and receiving Danilo (and €28 million) in return.
The 28-year-old Brazil international featured in 22 games in all competitions last season for Man City, and had been hankering for a move to where he could be playing more frequently instead of behind incumbent Kyle Walker.
He joins Juve after spending two years at City, who signed him for €30 million from Real Madrid. Danilo has 22 international caps, but was not in Brazil’s squad for the Copa America this summer after losing his starting spot earlier in the year.
We spoke to the host of the SB Nation Manchester City podcast Bitter Blue Pod, Ger Deegan, about the player and what he brings to the Bianconeri.
BWRAO: How has Danilo performed in his time at Manchester City? Has he lived up to expectations of him from Pep?
GD: I think Danilo, while not always first choice, has done really well when called upon by Pep Guardiola. He was the absolute consummate professional and a great character to have in and around the club.
I actually think there were times over his spell here where he should have played more, such was his performance level when he did play and overall he might feel a little unlucky he didn’t get more game time.
BWRAO: Was he called to do much defending in City’s possession-based system? How do you see him adapting to Italian defending?
GD: It’s probably fair to say that fullbacks in a Pep team probably do more attacking than defending. However, I believe he brought a calm aggression we often lacked at times when he was in the side. One example that sticks out was the game vs. Liverpool last season where he played right back instead of Walker and he was excellent. He didn’t really give Sadio Mané a sniff in the game and it lead to the in-form winger being whipped off with half an hour to play.
I think the slower style of Italian football won’t be an issue for him whatsoever in terms of adapting, and the experience he had in the past with Real Madrid and Porto should stand him in good stead ahead of the Serie A season.
BWRAO: What would you say are Danilo’s strengths? Can you tell us about his passing, crossing, dribbling ability? Plenty of pace?
GD: I think his main strengths are definitely his knowledge of his own talent and limitations on the pitch. I don’t think he is in the same mould as Cancelo or Walker, but he understands that and doesn’t try to alter his game to be something he isn’t. He knows he doesn’t quite have the pace that some modern full backs do, so he tends to be smart with his positioning so he doesn’t get caught out very often by leaving too much space in behind to run off him.
He is an aggressive style of player and doesn’t shy away from a challenge also, which will be beneficial in this Juventus team. While he may not be as attacking as Cancelo, it doesn’t mean he neglects that side of the game either and he is more than capable of becoming a regular in the Juve back line. He chipped in with a few goals for City, but also adapted his role under Guardiola. Danilo would often be seen in centre of midfield such is his ability on the ball and awareness of space.
BWRAO: How about his fitness levels? At Juventus he might walk right into a starting role, will he be able to hand the grind of playing 30 or so games?
GD: Fitness levels aren’t an issue. I don’t really remember him missing too many games over the two years he was at the club and he felt like an ever-present in the squad albeit not always a starter. I think he is a good signing and as a utility player to have in your squad you can’t ask for much more than Danilo. He’s an ultimate professional, No ego and no issue. I think he’s an astute and capable signing.
Our thanks to Ger for speaking to us. Hit him up on Twitter if you have more questions.