Interview

Through thick and thin

Danilo and Alex Sandro have played club football together, on and off, for the past 11 years. Nowadays the Brazilians are together at Juventus – and taking on former club Porto in the round of 16. Here they talk about their friendship, their affection for the Portuguese club and their longing for the return of fans

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

Through thick and thin
Interview

Through thick and thin

Danilo and Alex Sandro have played club football together, on and off, for the past 11 years. Nowadays the Brazilians are together at Juventus – and taking on former club Porto in the round of 16. Here they talk about their friendship, their affection for the Portuguese club and their longing for the return of fans

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

Read the full story
Sign up now to get access to this and every premium feature on Champions Journal. You will also get access to member-only competitions and offers. And you get all of that completely free!

You’ve played together for so many clubs – Santos, Porto and Juventus – so we really can’t talk about Danilo without talking about Alex Sandro, and vice versa. Is it just coincidence or is there something else behind it?

Danilo: You forgot to mention Brazil’s national team! I don’t believe in coincidences. I think that things happen in life for a reason and I’m grateful for the connection I have with Alex and his family, because I like to have good people around me. In the footballing world I have a lot of friends, colleagues, people I know. However, I only have a few close and true friends – and Alex is one of them.

Alex Sandro: In many ways, we have walked the same path. It is always good to be at the same club with a friend like Danilo, it is good to train and play together because it’s like being with your family. That helps us a lot.

D: I tried to go another way, but he called me and said, “Come here and play with me!” I said, “All right, all right, I’ll come.”

AS: The truth is that he can’t stay away from me for too long, you know? So I said, “OK my friend, you need someone to take care of you. Come here and I’ll help you.”

Danilo, almost four years together at Porto. What do you remember about that time?

D: Everything. Porto was a period in which we really grew a lot as players in Europe, and as men. We went through changes in our lives, moving to another country. We spent many afternoons and nights together during the training camps. To this day we still sit down to discuss things – and we still talk about the same subjects!

AS: Even during the training camp, he asked to be in the same room as me…

Every footballer who’s played for Porto speaks highly of its mystique – and a very powerful dressing room. Have you guys felt that?

AS: Well, I did. Especially because when I got there I was suddenly with Hulk and João Moutinho, then Lucho González and Hélton. Those were all remarkable players who left a mark; I really learned and evolved in that dressing room. So I believe Porto’s history and infrastructure have a significant impact on every player who’s ever been there, especially the young ones.

D: Ever since I left, Porto’s been “my” club: the one I personally support.

Alex Sandro (on left) and Danilo arriving in Porto for the first leg (above); training in 2019 (top)


You’re up against each other on the same side of the pitch in training. How does that go?

D: Look, I’m going to tell you a secret. Often he has the ball, he’s advancing, and I say, “Pass the ball already, don’t go full steam ahead!” But he likes to dribble, to go 100%, and I get a little upset with him because he doesn’t give me a break and I can’t take a breather.

AS: Yes, but sometimes we negotiate: “I’ll cross this one, you do the next one; don’t come after me and I won’t go after you.”

D: It’s been like that for so many years…

And Alex, you recently tested positive for Covid. You couldn’t play, you couldn’t train, you couldn’t travel. How was it?

AS: The situation wasn't pleasant at all: to stop doing everything you are used to doing, everything that makes you happy. But, thank God, I was OK. I had an entire structure around me to help me in that moment. Whether I wanted it or not, this time in quarantine has made me stronger. I came back more mature, better, and knowing more about Covid-19.

What’s it been like playing in the Juventus Stadium without fans?

AS: It’s hard to get used to it. We always hope that in the next match they’ll maybe open the gates, but we also respect and understand the situation we’re going through. Anyway, today we’re much more used to it; it was really weird right at the beginning. It was quite hard.

D: I find it weird watching videos from the first half of last season, when there were still fans – it looks like it was 10 or 15 years ago. It looks like something from a bygone era. We’re much more used to it now, but I don’t want to get even more used to it.

AS: I think it will be a shock when they come back. A good shock. 

D: I hope they come back as soon as possible, because the fun and the magic of football is only complete with the fans there in a crowded stadium. Without that, it’s not the same.

AS: It’s not complete.

Penalty Pedigree

Etiam erat velit scelerisque in dictum non. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at. Scelerisque felis imperdiet proin fermentum leo. Nibh tortor id aliquet lectus proin nibh nisl. Nulla at volutpat diam ut venenatis. At urna condimentum mattis pellentesque id nibh tortor id aliquet. Leo a diam sollicitudin tempor id eu nisl nunc mi. Dui vivamus arcu felis bibendum ut. Pharetra convallis posuere morbi leo urna molestie. Adipiscing at in tellus integer feugiat scelerisque. In arcu cursus euismod quis. Dictum non consectetur a erat nam at lectus urna duis. Facilisi nullam vehicula ipsum a arcu cursus. At tempor commodo ullamcorper a lacus vestibulum sed arcu non. Ipsum dolor sit amet consectetur adipiscing elit pellentesque habitant. Vitae sapien pellentesque habitant morbi tristique senectus. Eget nullam non nisi est sit amet facilisis. Ipsum consequat nisl vel pretium lectus quam. Elit sed vulputate mi sit amet mauris commodo quis. Pretium fusce id velit ut tortor pretium viverra suspendisse potenti.

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