Eight games, seven trophies and tears after training – The bizarre Barcelona career of the misfit Douglas
The Brazilian right-back, now 30 and with Besiktas, is best known for his odd stint with the Blaugrana
Eight games, seven trophies – an almost perfect success rate for Douglas, a player Barcelona fans will remember without much fondness.
The Brazilian right-back, now 30 and with Besiktas, is best known for his bizarre stint with the Blaugrana, for whom he signed at Sao Paolo in 2014.
Douglas was a Barca player until 2019, but during that time he only made three La Liga appearances and spent the last three years of his five-year contract on loan.
How his move to Barca came about in the first place remains a mystery to fans. He had barely ripped it up in Serie A and, while part of the Brazilian squad that reached the 2009 Under-20 World Cup final, he was 24 when he moved. at Camp Nou – in terms of professional football. , hardly a young prospect.
A clue can come in his fees; Douglas joined Barca for € 4m (£ 3.5m / $ 5m) plus € 1.5m (£ 1.3m / $ 2m) in add-ons . It was a good deal to complete Luis Enrique’s team.
Douglas’ La Liga debut for Barcelona came against Malaga and in a positive sense he kept a clean sheet in a 0-0 draw. On the other hand, his personal performance was far from impressive. Reports at the time were nasty, noting that Douglas visibly lacked confidence and had particularly negative body language.
The low point came when he secured a reservation for an unnecessary tackle over Malaga midfielder Duda, a 34-year-old with no speed turn and back to goal.
Douglas came in with a weak, lopsided tackle, giving a free kick and winning an unnecessary reservation. It was the beginning of the end.
Other aspects of his early days were just as poor. Barca’s full-backs are meant to serve as an additional offensive outlet, especially against notably weaker opponents such as Malaga. Yet in that game, Douglas passed the ball back 31 times.
He was clearly not at the required level and became Barca’s third right-back, behind Dani Alves and Martin Montoya, and was limited to making occasional appearances at the Copa del Rey and making strange appearances in other competitions .
In total in his first two seasons at Barca, before his loan adventures began, Douglas made eight appearances for the club – almost as many trophies as he won in that span.
Barca won the treble in 2014-15, started the next campaign with the UEFA Super Cup and, in 2015-16, won the domestic double and the FIFA Club World Cup.
As silverware rained down for Barca, Douglas’ dream gesture turned into a nightmare. Coming out of his depth and suffering from constant injuries – he had four separate spells on the treatment table in his first season there – he admitted AS in an interview in 2016 that he was frequently brought to tears.
He said: “In Barcelona I had a difficult time with injuries. I would come home crying every day.
From the third year, Douglas was doomed to an eternal loan spiral away from Barcelona, although reports suggest he did not go without a fight. He was, after all, a team player in one of the greatest club teams of all time, with teammates such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta.
sport reported that he initially refused to sign the papers confirming his loan to Sporting Gijon, and instead staged a protest at the club’s offices, refusing to leave, before finally being persuaded to confirm the transfer.
At Sporting he played regularly during their 2016-17 relegation campaign, but it was reported that he suffered a strange injury – straining a muscle in his back after falling asleep in an awkward position on the coach of the team.
Douglas denied these allegations in his AS interview: “It was not correct at all. It was just an overloaded muscle and [all it needed was] a massage. I was training the next day and it was written that I was injured when I was not. It saddens me.
After his stint at Sporting, he spent 12 months as a reserve at Benfica, before being key for Sivasspor during his year there. Finally, Douglas permanently left Camp Nou for Besiktas in the summer of 2019.
After starting in the first squad photo with the Super Lig giants, injuries have struck again. Torn ankle ligaments and a ruptured thigh muscle limited him to just 58 minutes of first-team action after October 2019.
For 2020-21, he is not even registered in the Besiktas squad, with relations in Turkey indicating that he will be released when his contract expires this summer.
Here are some of the other articles from Goals Forgotten Men Series: