Brazil have created some of the most talented and gifted footballers over the years. The likes of Pele, Falcao, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo have all dazzled the world with their samba brilliance, yet their footballing history has possibly been too top heavy. Too many attackers, not enough defenders to be held in such wondrous regard.
Even full-backs, Roberto Carlos, Carlos Alberto and Cafu have been marvelled at, but not centre-backs. Anybody but the centre-back, the unheralded job that provided the base to a side seemingly not cool enough for Brazilian recognition.
But now, with Bayern Munich’s Dante, Chelsea’s David Luiz and PSG’s Thiago Silva, that is all due to change. The Brazilian centre-back is entering a new age; big, physical, strong and extremely comfortable on the ball, they are all attributes that makes up the aforementioned trio as well as Dede, Cruzerio’s much-coveted 24 year old. Who is he?
Let’s take a look at Anderson Vital De Silva.
After impressing with his hometown club Volta Rotunda in the Brazilian State Championship, the big defender earned himself a move to Vasco De Gama in 2009, only to find first team opportunities hard to come by upon his initial arrival. With his one year deal running out a year later, it looked like he may be returning to Volta, or even moving to South Korea.
Dede, however, had other ideas, “there was something I was determined upon” he told World Soccer Magazine back in 2011, “I wasn’t going to leave Vasco by the back door”. And so he didn’t, with injuries hitting the club in a Brazilian Cup game against Vitoria, he was given a chance, repaying the opportunity with a performance of such authority and assurance that it instantly certified him as first choice and earned himself a new contract, stretching to 2014.
He went on to produce some imperious form for Vasco, being recognised as the best right centre-back in the Brasileirao of 2010 and generating comparisons to the Fluminese-made Silva, then at Milan, who was widely-regarded as the most outstanding centre-half to recently hail from Brazil.
His commanding performances helped Vasco to win the 2011 Brazilian Cup and his partnership with Anderson Martins saw them both elected as the best central-defenders of the 2011 Campeonato Carioca. His impressive form also alerted former national-team coach Mano Menezes who included him in the squad for friendlies against Germany and Ghana in the autumn of 2011.
His transformation with Vasco from potential discarded talent was meteoric. By the end of 2012, he was considered as one of the best centre-backs in Brazilian football, seeing high acclaim from Vasco fans who endeared to him by giving him several nicknames; “O-Mito” (The Myth) and “Dedelicia” (or “Dedelicious” as female fans chose).
He was included in numerous advertising campaigns for the club and was elected by SBT, a Brazilian television network, as one of the 100 greatest Brazilian’s of all-time. His popularity in Vasco was clear and he honoured his potential departure by kissing the badge in one of his final games for the club. In total, he made 154 appearances for Vasco.
To date, Dede has received 7 caps for the Brazil national team, appearing often in friendlies and tournaments that are only eligible for native-based players, allowing him to win the Superclasico De Las Americas in September 2011.
Dede is currently the fourth-choice centre-half in the Brazil squad and he will be hoping that his exemplary performances, partnered with Luiz Felipe Scolari’s insistence that he will look more to the Brazilian league set-up for options, will help his cause for regular call-ups as the team head into a World Cup year.
Strengths, style and weaknesses
Dede is strong, powerful and athletic, making full-use of his 6ft 3 inch frame in order to be adept at winning challenges in the air or on the ground. His height means that not many strikers are able to beat him in the air whilst a fine reading of the game, impressive at the relatively young age of 24, sees him able to cut out danger on the ground. His imposing height also makes him a threat at set pieces, suggested by his 18 goals during his time at Vasco.
His extremely impressive pace also means that he is rarely out-foxed by the through ball, cutting out the threat that strikers pose lying on the shoulder of the back four. As well as boasting fine intelligence and strength to block and intercept many shots and dangerous passes, he also possesses superb technical ability that allows him to be comfortable in bringing the ball out of the defence and moving it on.
As well as the two nicknames Vasco fans creatively derived for Dede, they also named him “Dedekenbauer”, suggesting his likeliness to the famous German defender who revolutionised the role of the central-defender, operating on a fine reading of the game, imperious positioning and superb ability on the ball.
Dede really is a complete defender who has attracted the interest of Manchester United, Milan, Benfica and Liverpool during his time with Vasco, all top European clubs basing their interest in the knowledge that Dede, with his physicality and ability on the ball, would not look out of place on the continent should he ever head east from Brazil.
His move to Cruzeiro
With the Selecao heading into their home World Cup of 2014, Dede has seen best to stay in his native league and head to Cruzeiro in a deal that is worth £4.7 million. The two clubs are believed to have arranged a 55% and 45% share in player ownership which helps to ease cash-strapped Vasco’s financial troubles. Three players, Diego Rennan, striker Allison and Wellington Paulista will also head to Rio in exchange for the defender.
After moving, he voiced his reluctance to leave Vasco De Gama but understood such a move would help to aid the financial crisis at his former club. He said that even though he was moving to a new setting, his heart would remain with the Rio-based club.
There has been a financial dispute with the transfer, with the move being blocked by the FERJ, a main football institution from Rio, who claim Vasco owe a debt to the Brazilian Federal Justice. They have ruled that until the dispute is sorted, Dede is unable to play for any club, disrupting his immediate start with Cruzeiro. However, that will only be a small snag in a career that threatens to go very far.
Look out for Dede at next year’s World Cup.
Written by Adam Gray
Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamGray1250
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