Harry Redknapp’s wife fancied Dani, he destroyed Man United and Liverpool legends, went to film premieres with Brad Pitt and won titles with Ajax and Atletico Madrid
https://players.brightcove.net/6023583704001/default_default/index.html?videoId=6218754276001&cmsid=6294&cust_params=section%253D3048%25252Fd.talksport.amp%25252Ffootball%25252Fpremier-league%2526topics%253Dharry-redknapp%25252Cwest-ham-united%2526kw%253Dharry%25252Credknapps%25252Cwife%25252Cfancied%25252Cdani%25252Che%25252Cdestroyed%25252Cman%25252Cunited%25252Cand%25252Cliverpool%25252Clegends%25252Cwent%25252Cto%25252Cfilm%25252Cpremieres%25252Cwith%25252Cbrad%25252Cpitt%25252Cwon%25252Ctitles%25252Cajax%25252Catletico%25252Cmadrid%25252Canton%25252Cstanley%25252Cmodel%25252Cprofessional%25252Cfootball%25252Cpremierleague%25252Charryredknapp%2526aid%253D824754%2526url%253Dhttps%253A%252F%252Ftalksport.com%252Ffootball%252F824754%252Fwest-ham-harry-redknapp-dani-man-united-liverpool-brad-pitt-ajax-atletico-madrid%252F%2526amp%253Dtrue%2526content_type%253Dpost%2526pos%253Dvideoplayer%2526&iu=%2F3048%2Fd.talksport.amp%2Ffootball%2Fpremier-league&vpaid=true&playsinline=trueBy Anton Stanley30th January 2021, 10:11 amUpdated: 30th January 2021, 10:12 am https://011ccd5e7a7bfa7770b770c43685cc23.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
“My missus fancies him. Even I don’t know whether to play him or f*** him,” said Harry Redknapp when Dani joined West Ham on loan in January 1996.
An outstanding young talent from Portugal, he was devilishly handsome and joined a rough and ready Hammers side looking to push on to the next level and dazzle the Premier League.
Dani’s looks dominated the narrative around his arrival, it wasn’t difficult to see he might encounter problems in the notoriously banter-heavy English dressing room.
After one of his first training sessions, Redknapp couldn’t help but reiterate the point and actually dismissed claims his aesthetics might cause an issue.https://011ccd5e7a7bfa7770b770c43685cc23.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
“He can’t help being good looking, can he, the boy?
“[His teammates] have been very impressed, he’s a very good footballer. He doesn’t look any different to Ryan Giggs or anybody else to me.
“He’s an outstanding young player, you’ve only got to ask the England Under-21 side who got knocked out of the European Championship [qualifying] by Portugal.
“He absolutely destroyed us in the that game and got the goals that knocked England out. We had an outstanding team of young players who are all regulars in the Premier League and this kid was the outstanding player on the field, so he’s got real talent.”https://011ccd5e7a7bfa7770b770c43685cc23.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
In that England Under-21 side that Portugal beat on September 2, 1995 were Manchester United stars David Beckham, Phil Neville, Nicky Butt, and Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler.
On February 12, 1996, against Tottenham at White Hart Lane, he made his debut and had Hammers fans swooning.
Just four minutes in, against their rivals, he nodded home the only goal of the game when Ian Walker palmed a Julian Dicks shot straight onto his head in the aftermath of a corner.
A stunning way to announce yourselves to fans, perhaps this could work.https://011ccd5e7a7bfa7770b770c43685cc23.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-37/html/container.html?n=0
Behind the scenes, though, young Dani found it extremely hard to cope away from friends and family.
Speaking to Tribuna Expresso, Carvalho admitted: “For the first two or three weeks I cried every day.
“I spent hours on the phone with my parents. I was 18, alone in London, living in a two-story apartment with no driving license.”
Settling on the pitch with a debut goal is one thing, but it’s hard to maintain when you’re strolling the red carpet and being touted as one of the capitals most eligible bachelors.
He added: “One of the newspapers wrote ‘Lock up your daughters! Dani has arrived!’
“Then I was contacted by a modelling agency who built and strengthened my image as a ‘handsome boy’.
“They started to take me to the film premieres and they introduced me to producers and so on and that’s when I began to live London life in earnest.
“I was suddenly with Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis and Kate Moss by my side at movie premieres.
“Twelve Monkeys was the first one I went to. Sometimes I couldn’t believe what was happening!
“I thought it was a joke to be in those places so I tried to play and maintain that social life.”
Those late nights caught up with him, especially when being romantically linked with Louise Nurding (who would later marry Jamie Redknapp) and Kylie Minogue.
West Ham had the option to buy him but no price was set to trigger a deal.
According to Dani, Redknapp chose to leave him out of the Hammers side after a trip to Spain in a bid to get the Sporting Lisbon asking price lower.
The player, who had made nine appearances and scored two goals, was furious, his chances of making Euro 96 with Portugal went up in flames. Instead, he would go to the Olympics.
He claims he was accused of misdemeanours and in the end he refused to do what he was told by the West Ham boss.
“We didn’t have a professional relationship anymore,” Dani said. “He started saying I was a bad professional, that I smoked and things like that.
“Then I misbehaved, angry at him for cutting my chances of going to the Euros as an 18-year-old. I’d go to practice just for the sake of being there and wouldn’t respond if he talked to me or demanded anything during reserve team matches. If I had to arrive late or skip practice, I’d do it. I lost all respect I had for him.”
In his autobiography, Redknapp recalls things slightly differently.
He claims Dani didn’t attend a training session the morning after the team had been given permission to leave the hotel for the evening on the mid-season break.
Redknapp said: “Come 1.30pm, there was still no sign of him. We were relaxing by the pool… suddenly there’s this tanned figure walking towards us, hair immaculate, sunglasses on, every inch the film star. He couldn’t, or rather wouldn’t give me an explanation. All the lads knew he had picked up a bird, maybe even two or three, but there was no way he was going to tell me.”
Whatever really happened, Dani’s time at West Ham was cut short, he would join Ajax in the summer of 1996 and scored 12 goals in 72 league appearances before leaving in 2000.
He wasn’t very often as a starter though with the likes of Marc Overmars, Patrick Kluivert, Jari Litmanen, and Benni McCarthy, all at the club with him at various points, but he did win one league title and two KNVB Cups.
And he also scored a famous Champions League quarter-final goal against Atletico Madrid in 1997 which has gone down in folklore.
Benfica were next to try and harness his ability but a tumultuous start to the season saw him start one game under a certain Jose Mourinho, who spent nine games in charge of the club before resigning.
He made another four league appearances under their next boss Toni but by January he was in the Spanish second division with Ateltico Madrid.
Here it was an eye-opener to start with, a club on hard times, and at the first match he attended he saw his tires slashed by Atleti fans.
With Dani playing regular minutes, though, things began to pick up and in the 2001/02 he helped them win the title, and promotion back to LaLiga, grabbing six goals and eight assists.
He even starred alongside Fernando Torres, in his first season in the senior side.
In LaLiga though, Dani, across 2002/03, would play just eight minutes of football and was released from his contract.
He would retire in 2004 having failed to find another club, despite talk of a trial with Celtic.
A TV career has followed, perhaps understandable given his looks, as well as punditry work, but he could have been far more than that.