20 Defender Olympique De Marseille Brazil
2014 has been…
A mixed bag. Dória began the year at the heart of Botafogo’s defence, a key member of personnel whose performances since making his debut as a raw 17 year old in 2012 have continued to improve.
Physically strong, quick and with an excellent ability to read the game, Botafogo managed to hold on to their star youngster far longer than many had expected. Courted by several European sides within weeks of his league debut, Dória had made a lasting impression on former teammate Clarence Seedorf who had been extremely keen to take the young defender to Milan during his ill-fated brief stint in charge of the Rossoneri.
Milan weren’t the only club to track Dória’s progress. At a time when the Brazilian production line has begun to stall badly, Dória offers the kind of ability that would have once been taken for granted when buying from Brazil. Capped in 2013 by the full national side, he went on to lead the Brazilian Under-20 team to victory in the Toulon tournament later that summer, but international recognition has been a little more scarce this year. Although it’s worth noting that Dória continues to captain Alexandre Gallo’s Under-20 squad despite being one of its youngest members.
A stalwart of Botafogo’s Libertadores campaign at the start of the year, Dória made a further ten Serie A appearances before Fogão parked their prize asset away from the first eleven in mid August as the inevitable move drew closer.
Relocation for the player didn’t arrive until the final throes of the European Transfer window with Dória’s arrival at the Aéroport de Marseille Provence registering on social media well before many mainstream news outlets had cottoned on to where his destination might actually be. His fee, widely reported to be in the region of £4.4m, looked a snip and Marcello Bielsa was lauded for such a smart move with Marseille clearly doing far better out of the deal than Botafogo.
However, any suggestion that this was a Bielsa masterstroke was rapidly shot down by the man himself as he fired a salvo at the Marseille club president for not consulting him during the transfer window. Bielsa press conferences have been notable in the past, but his savaging of Vincent Labrune in front of a slack jawed media was quite an eye opener even by the Argentine’s standards. Claiming that he hadn’t heard of Dória and, more tellingly, didn’t want him, Bielsa’s outburst suggested that his stay on the South of France might end very soon after it had begun. Making it very clear that his primary targets (Toby Alderweireld and Benjamin Stambouli) had been overlooked by his employer, as had a request to retain the services of Qatar bound Lucas Mendes, there seemed no other option than a mutual parting of the ways. However this particular storm has since abated and Marseille now sit pretty at the top of Ligue 1, just ahead of PSG.
Dória, meanwhile, despite being initially cut adrift has gradually been integrated into the fold by his coach. Over recent weeks he has been included in match day squads and named as a substitute without yet making his Marseille debut.
A gradual thawing of the tension around Dória has been a most welcome outcome. The acclaim to which the player’s arrival in France evaporated in a very short space of time meant that the young defender found himself as something of a very public pawn in a political dispute between club and coach. Obviously we understand Bielsa’s fury at having players foisted upon him, but such an experienced operator must note Dória’s ability and can clearly see that Marseille probably couldn’t have overlooked what looks like a cut price deal.
Marseille are in good shape and integrating a talented young player into a well-established, confident group will do him the power of good. Whether he has already been singled out as Bielsa’s whipping boy should things go awry we’ll find out in due course, but, just as with Michy Batshuayi, this is a young player with a great deal of potential ready to step up to the next level.
The primary objective for Dória is to get some playing time before working on nailing down a first team spot in 2015. Marseille are a well-regarded club and Ligue 1 is certainly of a strong enough standard to help with international recognition.
As with Marquinhos, Dória has the chance to become a key player in Brazils’ back four for many years to come largely because he wasn’t tainted by the Maracana massacre suffered by David Luiz, Dante et al. The clamour to replace those tarnished players will be strong in Brazil and Dória currently represents one of the best options available to coach Dunga as he looks to the future.
For the time being though, for Dória it’s all about playing and showing his talent. Rest assured, it’s worth persevering with. Take note, Marcelo.
"Signed as the Brazil U-20 captain but Bielsa was clear he wasn't his choice. Has been resigned to the bench at Marseille. Yet to play a single minute." - Andrew Gibney
"During his last 12 months with Botafogo, Doria helped the club towards eight Serie A clean sheets. No other member of the squad was involved in more." - OptaJoe
C- You have the platform, make it count.
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