Barcelona full-back Douglas reportedly initially refused to sign papers confirming his loan move to Sporting Gijon and attempted to “squat” at the Camp Nou.
That’s according to Ivan San Antonio of Sport, who stated that the Brazilian looked “broken” when it came to finalising his temporary switch at the club offices and initially declined to put pen to paper.
“The Brazilian would not listen to reason and seemed very upset at having to have to leave the Camp Nou,” San Antonio noted. “So much so that everyone present saw the player was broken. In fact, Douglas was [so] upset at how events were going he took the decision neither to sign the papers nor leave the offices.”
Eventually the deal was confirmed on August 26 and the player will be “actively involved in the team during his loan year,” according to a statement on Barca’s website
Evidently it was galling for Douglas to give up on his Barcelona dream, although the 26-year-old must have been aware of the fact he needed to get first-team football under his belt. Indeed, he’s started just one LaLiga game since joining from Sao Paolo in 2014; at Gijon he’s already featured in one full match.
In the brief outings he has had in Barcelona colours, Douglas has never looked quite up to the standard needed to cut it at the Camp Nou. The tools are there for him to become a decent full-back, although his skills are not matched by a defensive awareness needed to become elite.
As noted by Dermot Corrigan of ESPN FC, in his debut for the club, a 5-0 loss to Atletico Madrid at the Vicente Calderon, Douglas was used in many different positions:
It’d be a huge surprise if the defender was to ever don the Barcelona colours again and perhaps that’s something that dawned on him as he faced up to life away from Catalonia. Plenty expected the player to be an eventual replacement to compatriot Dani Alves when he signed in 2014, although Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal are ahead of him in the pecking order.
Douglas has never totally convinced when playing for Barca, although he’s never been handed a consistent run of games. Perhaps this move to Sporting, with some consecutive appearances and a change of scenery can be the trigger for the right-back to rebuild his reputation.