Leonardo Dede - no headline needed
What can you write about a player when everything which needs to be said has already been said a couple of times? In the case of Leonardo de Deus Santos, several stories were told since he announced that he is not going to sign a new contract in Dortmund at the end of this year's season. Our editor Ida wrote a very emotional text about Dede, several newspapers told different stories of the Brazilian who was loyal to Borussia for 13 years. So I will try not to bother you with stories that you have read a couple of times. Tough challenge, but I would like to start with two little anecdotes which were told in the BVB magazine in a big story about our number 17.
When Dede arrived in Dortmund in 1998, he had some difficulties to get used to the German culture and lifestyle. In Brazil, it is normal to burn your trash because there is no public waste disposal system. Therefore, the left defender went to his garden and burned his trash in a can... which led to a neighbor calling the police or fire department. Another thing Dede was not used to know about is the German winter. In Brazil, you do not know something like snow or degrees below zero. Thus, one morning, when Dede wanted to drive to the training session, he saw his car which was standing outside over night with frozen windows... and did not know what that was all about. Actually, he thought that there was something wrong with his car, called a technician and went to the training by taxi. When he came back, the windows were not frozen anymore and Dede thought the technician did his work. These are just two examples that make our Leonardo closer to us, even more sympathetic and someone to love.
Meanwhile, Dede became a German, knows everything about the country and loves the way how Germans live. It was hard for him to leave Dortmund – especially when he was triumphantly welcomed in the Westfalenstadion every two weeks and had to fight tears almost every week. Things like the big flashmob in Dortmund on his anniversary, the whole Südtribüne applauding to him doing the wave with him and celebrating him on May 15th will always be something to remember. And even if you have read about that before, it is not possible to write about Dede without saying that he went with Dortmund from good times to bad times, to winning the championship in 2002 to even worse times, to the nearly destruction of the club to winning the championship again in his last season for Borussia. Dede was never thinking about leaving and was loyal to the club which welcomed him to Germany, which gave him the possibility to play in the Bundesliga and which fans found a person to identify with. He overcame injuries, played for Borussia in incredible 390 matches (32.656 minutes), scored twelve times (two times in the own goal), was responsible for 57 assists, was the best provider in the whole Bundesliga in season 2007/2008, played five UEFA-Cup (Europa League) seasons and three Champions League seasons and was close to winning the UEFA-Cup. Incredible numbers underlining an incredible career. On Tuesday, it was made official that he has finally found a new club in Turkey and will again meet Michael Skibbe. With this transfer, the circle closes since Skibbe was the first coach of Dede in Dortmund in 1998.
And even if the pure numbers are not convincing you of the fact that Dede is a great player, you will only need to see a few matches of him to know what I am talking about. His Brazilian style of play leads him to clear balls in the defense with his heel or at some times with a bicycle kick, his runs on the left side are something which nobody will forget, his crosses are something which every forward can benefit from. Because I promised not to write about the most frequent stories about him, I will not talk about how he respected the fact that Marcel Schmelzer took his spot in the squad over the last years. Instead, I will leave it with that and will present you a link to a YouTube video covering some highlights of Dede's career. You know, pictures speak louder than words. And even though I tried not to repeat everthing which has been said a lot of times before, there is something which can not be left out:
Thank you, Dede! Thank you for everything you have done for Borussia! Thanks for being loyal to the team for such a long time and all the best in your future! Hopefully, we will see you back in Dortmund some day.