Leonardo Jardim, Fabinho’s coach at Monaco, made a bold positioning decision with the Brazilian early on in his career — and Liverpool are reaping the benefits.
While Reds would argue that Fabinho is one of the best in the world at his position, being a defensive midfielder wasn’t always the plan. Speaking to FourFourTwo recently, Fabinho explained how his current role came to be: the best in t
He was a very important coach in my career. My first season with him at Monaco [2014-15], I still mainly played as a full-back, but then in a few games he started pushing me into midfield.
I remember him asking me during pre-season if I’d ever played in that position and I told him I had, so he played me there in a friendly and I was the best player on the pitch.
Then, before the beginning of the 2016-17 season, Jardim called me for a chat and told me, ‘Listen, I’ve signed Djibril Sidibe to play in your role – from now on, I want you to play as a defensive midfielder.’
Considering my situation with the national team, plus the smaller pool of top-quality full-backs, I thought it was a negative change.
It was tough. Everybody knew me as a full-back and I was a regular for the national team there – my agents, and I suppose me to begin with, weren’t happy at all with the situation. I accepted the challenge because I knew I could adapt.
Looking back, though, that was a life-changing moment. Jardim helped me a lot, and that season we won the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League semi-finals. I was in the form of my life and ended up moving to Liverpool as a midfielder.
It definitely proved to be the right decision.