Euro 2021 from an African perspective: Bissau-born Danilo to stsbilize Portugal

LYON, FRANCE - JULY 06: (L to R) Cedric Soares, Cristiano Ronaldo and Danilo Pereira of Portugal congratulate Nani (not pictured) after scoring the second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 semi final match between Portugal and Wales at Stade des Lumieres on July 6, 2016 in Lyon, France.  (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)
Euro 2021 from an African perspective: Bissau-born Danilo to stsbilize Portugal

Danilo Pereira is the most highly-rated of the five African-born players on Portugal's Euro 2020 squad. The native of Bissau, Guinea Bissau, is expected to start against Hungary (5 pm GTC, Group F), this Tuesday, June 15, for their opening game of the European champions.


Cristiano Ronaldo no longer walks alone in Portugal. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is now well surrounded in the Seleção. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner is now surrounded by a galaxy of young stars who have enhanced the reputation of Portugal's reigning European champions over the past few years. Among them are five players of African origin: Danilo Pereira (Guinea Bissau), Renato Sanches (Cape Verde), Nelson Semedo (Cape Verde), William Carvalho (Angola) and Nuno Mendes (Angola).

Danilo Pereira is probably the most highly rated of the five. The PSG midfielder is expected to be the only Portuguese of African descent in Portuguese coach Fernando Santos' first-choice squad, according to L'Équipe.

The highly-rated Renato Sanches, a key player in the Euro 2016 victory, would not be so favored. Nor would Nelson Semedo, a former Barcelona player currently playing for Wolverhampton. Or Sevilla midfielder William Carvalho, despite his 64 caps and four goals. Nuno Mendes (19 on 19 June) is too young to be an exception.

Pereira is expected to play in the middle of Santos' usual 4-3-3 formation, with Bruno Fernandes and Moutinho lining up as sentinels.

Born in Bissau, the capital of Guinea-Bissau, the Parisian arrived with his family in his adopted country at the age of five. He is the oldest of his siblings. Although his mother, Quinta Djata, a nurse, is known, no trace of his father has been found.

He played for three youth teams in Lisbon, including Benfica, where he completed his training. Snubbed by the Reds, Danilo had to go into exile in Italy to make a living from football. Parma welcomed him in 2010 on a free transfer. However, five years of instability began. Parma loaned him to Greek club Aris for the second half of the 2010-2011 season, took him back for 2011-2012 before loaning him back to Roda JC in the Netherlands.


Stability at Porto
In August 2013, he returned to Portugal and signed for Martimo. Almost two years later, he signed a four-year deal with FC Porto for €4.5m. He would not move for another five years before leaving for PSG. He arrived in the French capital on loan and then as a club property until 2025. This season he has played 35 games and scored two goals across all competitions.

After starting his international career in the Portuguese youth teams (U18, U19, U20 and U21), Danilo Pereira joined the Seleção A on 31 March 2015, during Portugal's 0-2 friendly defeat against Cape Verde. To date, he has 45 caps and two goals. He was one of the heroes of the European Cup of Nations final won in France four years ago.


Philemon MBALE

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