At first glance, one might think that Filipe Luis looks more European than Brazilian and, in fact, the gifted left-back has spent the vast majority of his career so far on the Old Continent. Initially joining Dutch giants Ajax from Figueirense in 2005, a spell with Real Madrid’s second string followed before a pivotal switch to Deportivo La Coruna in 2006/07. There he stayed until earning a big-money move to current club and fellow La Liga outfit Atletico Madrid in 2010.


“In Europe’s it’s very important. Defending is really crucial,” said Luis to, on the tactical discipline that sets him apart in a role where Brazilians are often more ‘gung-ho’. “My weak spot was marking. Here a full-back first has to defend well, and then they can push forward in attack. I think that’s the area of my game that’s improved most. I really came on and nowadays I’m a more complete player.” 


So complete that, in 2009, he earned a first call-up to the senior Seleção Brasileira. That could well have led to a place in the Brazil squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, only for his hopes to be dashed by a fractured ankle in early 2010.


His international fortunes now look bright, however, particularly since the appointment of Luiz Felipe Scolari to the Verde e Amarelo helm. Felipão selected the Atleti flyer for his very first game back in charge, February’s friendly against England, and underlined his trust by selecting Luis in his FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 squad.