Adam Digby profiles Dodo, the Brazilian left-back making waves in Serie A...
The 60-second story
- Full name: José Rodolfo Pires Ribeiro
- Date of birth: February 6, 1992
- Place of birth: Campinas, Brazil
- Position: Left-back
- Club: Inter, on loan from Roma
- National: Brazil (uncapped)
Ashley Cole’s summer transfer to Roma was widely-lauded, the England international commended for his decision to test himself in Serie A, and the capital club viewed as signing a much-needed veteran presence in their defence. A knock-on effect of the deal, however, was the subsequent loan of fellow left-back Dodô to Inter, the player deemed surplus to requirements after two years in the Italian capital.
In that time he had made just 22 starts for the Giallorossi, failing to make the impact it seemed he should have following an impressive early career. Dodô initially broke through at Corinthians, then moved on to Bahia and caught the eye of Manchester United with some excellent displays for Brazil as they won the South American Under-17 tournament.
It would be Roma’s Walter Sabatini who eventually brought him to Europe, once again using his impressive knowledge and scouting network to capture the impressive youngster.
He would find appearances hard to come by in his first campaign, but the arrival of Rudi Garcia and an injury to Federico Balzaretti saw him thrust into the starting XI on a regular basis last term.
He proved a capable deputy, impressing as Roma enjoyed a superb campaign built upon a solid defence which kept no less than 21 clean sheets, 13 of which came with Dodô in the line-up. Yet Cole’s arrival saw him sacrificed, sent on a two-year loan to the Nerazzurri who paid a €1.2 million fee, with a further €7.8m to pay should he make enough appearances to trigger a clause to make the move permanent.
Why you need to know him
Now settled at San Siro, the 22-year-old has already made 15 starts in all competitions this term and, most importantly, appears to have the faith of Roberto Mancini. Having been deployed as a wing-back in Walter Mazzarri’s 3-5-2 system, he has played in the new coach’s first two matches as an orthodox full-back now that the team has reverted to a back four.
Having scored his first goal for the club in the recent 1-1 draw with Saint-Étienne, his form has been impressive despite Inter’s early struggles. That was encapsulated in his performance against Dnipro on Thursday when, as his more experienced team-mates made a string of errors, Dodô looked assured in defence while providing a valuable outlet when Inter were in possession.
With Cole woefully below par at Roma, many have begun to question the wisdom in allowing the Brazilian to leave, and Mancini already seems aware of the ability of his young charge.
Seemingly more confident within the former Manchester City’s boss’ tactical framework, Dodô could prove to be a rare misjudgment from the wily Sabatini.
With Inter reverting to a four-man defence following the departure of Mazzarri, his defensive ability will undoubtedly come to the fore once again.
Having averaged two tackles and 2.3 interceptions last term, those numbers have fallen to 1.6 and 1.8 respectively this term as he has played further up-field with less responsibility.
They will now be expected to rise to their previous levels, and his ability in the air must also be noted as – despite standing only 5ft 9in tall – Dodô wins a surprising number of headers.
He is also comfortable on the ball, able to take on opponents with ease, completing 10 of the 19 take-ons he has attempted in Serie A this term, and a further seven from 11 attempts in Europa League action.
His passing and crossing is perhaps the first area in need of improvement, registering just one assist so far this term while completing an average of just over 80% of his pass attempts.
The player himself is well aware of his faults and limitations, openly discussing his need to improve in an interview with the club’s in-house TV station recently. “I work on everything,” he told them. “Of course I have my weaknesses but I’m trying to improve and I can definitely do better.”
Back in September, an emotional Sabatini blamed the Rome media for the sale of Dodô, telling reporters he moved the player on “to save his life!” Claiming the Brazilian was overly criticised, the sporting director was clearly angry at their assessments of the player and lambasted those present. His opposite number at Inter, Piero Ausilio, says Dodô “has great technique, and is definitely a player for the future.”
Did you know?
- Shooting 4
- Heading 7
- Passing 6
- Tackling 7
- Pace 8
- Dribbling 8
- Creativity 6
- Work-rate 7
Dodô has already played against Roma for Inter, arguably man of the match in a pre-season friendly win in Philadelphia as he created the winning goal for Nemanja Vidić. Asked by Sky Italia about the prospect of facing them on that US tour, the player himself said: “it’s like having to see an ex-girlfriend shortly after having a break-up,” but looked forward to meeting them once the season got underway. With the Nerazzurri again set to face his former club on Sunday, he will get a chance to show the Giallorossi just what they are missing first-hand.
What happens next?
Firmly ensconced in the starting line-up, it is only a matter of time before the contractual clause with Roma is triggered and Dodô’s move becomes permanent. If he continues to progress the way he has since moving north, he could well find himself doing the same on the international stage, having already received his first Brazil call-up back in October.