The best things come to those who wait, or so the saying goes. After a globetrotting career in search of success, Portugal’s attacking midfielder Danny has finally found the perfect stage for his considerable gifts. Born in Venezuela, and after starting his footballing career on the island of Madeira, the 26 year-old has settled in St Petersburg, where he has developed into one of the stars of the Russian top flight.
Born into a Portuguese family which had emigrated to Caracas, the youngster’s overriding ambition was always to be a professional footballer. When his family returned to Europe, Danny, then fifteen years of age, went with them, settled in Madeira and began his rise to stardom through the ranks of local club Maritimo. Before too long, he found himself in the first team, where his performances won him a host of admirers.
Five goals in ten games for Maritimo brought him to the attention of Sporting, who swooped to sign the gifted playmaker at the start of the 2002/03 season. At that time, however, the Lisbon giants boasted an array of top-class attacking talent, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Ricardo Quaresma, Joao Pinto, Sa Pinto and Jardel. With such intense competition for places, Danny found it difficult to make headway, returned to Maritimo on loan, and eventually, in 2005, made the decision to restart his career away from Portugal.
Along with several other players from the Portuguese Superliga, he joined Dynamo Moscow, where, unlike many, Danny was an unqualified success. In spite of Dynamo’s own travails, Danny’s star was very much in the ascendant and in 2008, Zenit St. Petersburg made him the most expensive player in the history of Russian football.
He made a dream debut for his new club in the UEFA Super Cup against the European champions, Manchester United, scoring the winning goal and being named man of the match. His first call-up to the Portugal squad followed soon after, and he made four appearances during the FIFA World Cup finals™ qualifying campaign for Carlos Queiroz’s men.