To many people in Brazil, Dante’s rise into contention for a starting spot with A Seleção Brasileira has been considered something of a surprise. That situation is primarily due to the imposing centre-back barely playing first-team football in his homeland – just two seasons at Juventude between 2002 and 2004 – and, until summer 2012 at least, carving out a career at European clubs with a lower international profile, such as France’s Lille, Belgian clubs Charleroi and Standard Liege and Bundesliga outfit Borussia Monchengladbach.

 

Yet such were his displays with the latter, particularly in his final campaign with ‘Gladbach, that Bayern Munich swooped to make his acquisition. And in less than a season with the Bavarian giants, Dante is a first-choice starter at the heart of the club's defence and a member of the Brazil senior squad.

 

“I knew that it was an important opportunity: that if it went well I’d stay involved and, if it went badly, I might never get called up again,” he told FIFA.com after a cool and confident debut with A Verde e Amarelo, in Luiz Felipe Scolari’s first game in charge against England in February. “But I also knew that I was ready. After all, it wasn’t through luck that I’d caught the eye of a team like Bayern.”

 

That confidence in his own ability is certainly bearing fruit. Enjoying a phenomenal 2012/13 season in Munich, in the space of a few short months Dante has also staked a significant claim in a position where Brazil are certainly not lacking in options.