Benfica have completed the signing of Danilo Barbosa da Silva – better known simply as ‘Danilo’ – on a season-long loan from Braga. The 20-year old can be deployed as a defensive midfielder or a central midfielder. According to the Portuguese press, the Eagles have an option to purchase the youngster for €15 million next summer.
The Brazilian began his career in his homeland with Vasco da Gama, before moving to Braga in July 2013. During the 2014/15 season, he played 28 games for the Arsenalistas, scoring twice. Last summer, he moved to Valencia on loan, where he played under both Nuno Espírito Santo and Gary Neville. Danilo made 34 appearances in Spain, of which 26 were starts, contributing 3 assists.
The midfielder starred at the under-20 World Cup in New Zealand in 2014, losing in the Final to Andrija Živković‘s Serbia. He was awarded the Silver Ball, a prize given to the second best player of the tournament.
Danilo is represented by Portuguese super-agent Jorge Mendes. His agency, Gestifute, bought the player’s economic rights for €4.5 million back in September 2013, before he had made his first team debut for Vasco.
After his official unveiling, the new arrival spoke to BTV: "I’m very happy to have received (this) invitation, and I want to say thanks for the show of trust. With the greatness of Benfica, I think that everything will go well.”
“There is no possible explanation as to what it means to wear this shirt. Now (is the time) to work to help the club to achieve its objectives for the season.”
“I'm looking for a title because I’m missing one. In 2014/15 I got to three finals and lost them all [Rio de Janeiro State Championship, Taça de Portugal, under-20 World Cup]. That bothers me. This is my motivation.”
"I played (at the Estádio da Luz) when I represented SC Braga, and the feeling is unique. It must be even more inspiring to play (here) with the public on your side.”
How would you describe Danilo?
“He is a midfielder with great physical attributes. He is very mobile, very intense, he can cover large areas... The thing is that he is very young and still learning his position. He is pretty immature.”
What are his biggest strengths?
“He's tall, strong, fast... and he knows how to use his physical strength. Then again, he can be overly physical at times.”
What is his biggest weakness?
“His poor reading of the game. At Valencia, he left much to be desired in this respect, and he needs to improve. Head coach Gary Neville was particularly disappointed with his performance at Eibar.”
Is Danilo more than just a 'destroyer'?
“He seems like a good passer and could become a box-to-box midfielder, like Renato, but at the moment he is not.”