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From Russia with love.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Danny Alves.

We've all heard of him right? Diminutive Brazilian fullback? Wrong. How about Russian based Portuguese attacking midfielder? No?

When Queiroz made the decision for his final 23, the inclusion of Danny wouldn't have surprised those in the know; the subject of a €30 million move from Dynamo Moscow to Zenit St. Petersburg in 2008, Danny has shone on the Russian stage. When Zenit played Manchester United in the Supercup in 2008 he scored a fantastic goal, picking up the ball in midfield before finding some space and weaving his way through into the United penalty area before calmly slotting away an excellent near post finish.

So why are we only hearing this now?

In recent years the Russian league has boomed; in 2005 Dynamo Moscow owner Fedorychev spent big and brought in a few players from the Portuguese league; Derlei, Costinha, Seitaridis, Maniche and Danny. All of those players became unsettled in Russia bar Danny.
In his debut season for Dynamo he was voted the club's player of the season, and since then has gone from strength to strength.

Born in Venezuela, he moved to Portugal at a young age eventually making his way to Sporting before being loaned out to Maritimo. His career in Portugal never took off, and as such Sporting let him go to Dynamo. After his sensational performances, then manager of Zenit Dick Advocaat paid his €30 million buyout clause to bring the player to Russia's 2nd largest city.

With Deco nearing the end of his career the timing could not be more perfect. Just as in 2004 when Rui Costa played his last game for Portugal and Deco stepped into the frame, it feels as if this World Cup is the time for Danny to announce himself on the world stage.

Similar to Rui Costa in his rugged latin looks, he enjoys running at defenders and arriving late in the box to put away those crucial goals. He may not have much of left foot, but his agility has clearly made up for this. Where he differs to his predecessors is in his desire to be involved in the final third. Whereas Deco shies away from entering the area, Danny enjoys getting involved and supporting the strikers, a blessing for an international side with a frankly disappointing goal scoring record.

Quieroz is nobody's fool, although whether he has the downright stones to play Danny is another matter. What is true is that this Danny Alves has a bright future ahead of him, and the legacy of Portugal's number 10 will continue.

posted by teedoubleyou


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