Bundesliga | 10.06.2013 15:09:45
Ten Things about Dante
- Pivotal: Dante has been a first-team fixture at FC Bayern since his arrival in the summer of 2012
- The skilful centre back (r., against former club Borussia Mönchengladbach) was the cornerstone of a defence which conceded just 18 goals in the Bundesliga last season
- Dante's international career is also progressing apace - scoring the opening goal in his hometown in last June's 4-2 Confederations Cup victory over Italy was one undoubted highlight
Munich - He has been the rock at the heart of the defence for FC Bayern München on their rise to the very summit of the world game and is well set to follow suit for hosts Brazil at this summer's FIFA World Cup finals. At 30, Dante is reaping the rewards for a long European apprenticeship, and established as one of the best centre backs in the business.
bundesliga.com has the inside skinny for you on the Allianz Arena favourite who helped Bayern to a new Bundesliga defensive record in his first season in Munich, and no fewer than five major trophies over the course of 2013.
Dante Bonfim Costa Santos was born in Salvador, Bahia on the north-east Brazilian coast, on 18 October 1983. After playing for the youth team of the Galicia Esporte Clube, he then joined the more established Juventude in the far south of the country as a 19-year-old in 2002.
That was just the start of his travels: in 2004, Dante made the move across the Atlantic to northern France, signing for LOSC Lille, where he played just a handful of games in two seasons. In 2006 he switched to the Belgian Pro League, first playing for RS Charleroi and then Standard Liege. It was not until 2009 that he arrived in the Bundesliga, recruited by...
...Borussia Mönchengladbach. Dante's three seasons with the club were a rollercoaster affair, culminating in a remarkable upsurge in the Foals' fortunes in 2011/12 season. Gladbach were knocked out of the DFB Cup by FC Bayern in a penalty shoot-out, with Dante missing from the spot - but a fourth-place finish in the table secured them a berth in the UEFA Champions League qualification.
His time at Borussia Park had made him one of the most highly-regarded central defenders in Germany and due reward came in the shape of a transfer to Bayern in the summer of 2012. A regular starter from the off, Dante enjoyed a remarkable first season in the Bavarian capital, helping Bayern to an historic treble
, crowned with victory over Borussia Dortmund in the first-ever all-German UEFA Champions League final.
As his exploits with FC Bayern gained more attention, Dante belatedly came under consideration for a place in the Brazil national team. He had never represented his country at any level, but was finally chosen to play for the Selecao
in a friendly against England
at Wembley in February 2013. Head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was impressed enough to note that "we have a defender for the future" and, sure enough, Dante is now set to get his first taste of World Cup action in his home country.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Dante's role model was Lucimar Ferreira da Silva, Lucio for short. The Brazilian World Cup winning defender trod the boards himself at FC Bayern between 2004 and 2009, and at Bayer Leverkusen between 2001 and 2004. "I admired his personality and character. He always had a first-class attitude on the pitch. He played with aggression and a lot of heart," says Dante of his compatriot.
Dante is known for his instantly recognisable hairstyle. It was at Mönchengladbach that this was popularised among supporters, with fans regularly turning up sporting wigs in the style of the former Lille man. Now it is the Bayern fans who have opportunity to pay hairy tribute to the defensive coordinator.
Away from the pitch, the 30-year-old is big into his music, in all varieties. "I listen to a lot of music. Plenty of samba and Brazilian stuff, but also some German music, like hip-hop and rock. Music is my life; I get huge pleasure out of it."
Despite his confident demeanour, he does occasionally miss his home and family. "It was harder when I first moved to Europe. I missed the sun and the beaches, my parents, brother and sister back in Brazil," he admits. "But I've got used to that now. It's part of the job." He is married to Joceline (l.) and has a baby daughter Sophia (m.).
Having played in four countries, Dante knows the importance of being able to integrate. "It's so important. You have to speak the language in order to communicate. It's important that we don't always stick to our own clique. We're a collective so you have to interact with everybody."
Compiled by Bernie Reeves