Diogo Dalot signed for Jose Mourinho at Manchester United as a teenager in the summer of 2018. After 23 appearances in his first campaign, he played in 11 games in all competitions in his second season as he struggled with injuries.
He was loaned out to AC Milan in his third season and many believed this would be the end of his United career, with him getting plenty of game time in Serie A.
However, he then returned to United and has fought Aaron Wan-Bissaka for a starting role at right-back, with Milan interested in making the deal permanent and Borussia Dortmund keen to take him on loan.
Speaking to the United Podcast, Dalot has reflected on how glad he is that he stayed put.
I remember I was in a phase of [being] with injuries, with struggling to get minutes and to play and now, looking back to that and seeing the position that I am today, that’s what makes me proud.
It’s not the way that I might be playing or what people might say about me, it’s just myself, inside of me. I look back and I see, okay, I didn’t give up. And I remember that I told you that I was going to fight for my position and I was going to fight for that. And, sometimes, it’s just the way football is. The easiest way sometimes is to go away to, I don’t like to say give up because football has different paths and different ways. Sometimes, you’re just knocking on a door that’s not going to open. You have to go to another one. But I always felt that I could do something here. I could achieve something here, which I feel that I still can do even more. But that feeling at that moment to know that, okay, I have to. I cannot leave here without feeling that I can prove that I can play here for a while, or I can be a starter or whatever.
And I’m happy to look back and see that progress and I fought for that. I mean I like to think that what this club brings you and you can see, not just me – other players – [have a] big mentality. When things are not going well and you just keep fighting, keep fighting, keep fighting. It’s just a matter of time for you to get the rewards and this club has this special thing of when it’s good, it makes you feel really, really special and it has the opposite [effect].
When things go wrong, it obviously makes you feel really bad. So you have to find that balance of always trying to be the best version.