Garibaldi Growing Love For Lodi

There’s been plenty of hype around the Brazilian duo in Danilo and Scarpa since arriving at Nottingham Forest in the January transfer window, and rightly so. The ex-Palmerias teammates will certainly add a new dynamic to Steve Cooper’s side who are growing into Premier League life.

However, their fellow Brazilian, Renan Lodi, has started to find his feet at the City Ground.

The loan transfer to bring in the Atletico Madrid full back for the season certainly impressed Forest fans; a vastly experienced player with a CV boasting 27 Champions League appearances, 16 caps for Brazil as well as a La Liga title with Atletico back in 2021 is highly impressive for a 24-year-old.

With such an eye-catching CV, comes a certain expectation, and the transition from Madrid to Nottingham may have been slightly more difficult than anticipated at first.

Growing into the Premier League

A debut 6-0 defeat away to Man City was followed by consecutive meltdowns against Bournemouth and Fulham at home, before a highly concerning 4-0 defeat away to Leicester.

It’s safe to say fingers were being pointed at numerous players by Forest fans during their initial transition back in the top-flight, and Lodi received plenty himself on social media; rightly or wrongly.

It wasn’t until 22nd November that Lodi tasted victory in the Garibaldi, when making a 19-minute cameo in the second half against Liverpool.

However, Lodi continued to keep the faith and despite being an unused substitute against Brentford in a 2-2 draw at the City Ground, the 24-year-old took full advantage of his opportunity against Spurs in the Carabao Cup. He not only scored the opener, but it was voted goal of the round.

The day prior, Lodi and his partner announced that they were going to be parents. Perhaps the good news was the boost Lodi needed.

Cooper recognises Lodi’s progress

His performance against Spurs saw him rewarded with a start in the Forest’s last league game of the year. Lodi was part of a defence which limited Crystal Palace to zero shots on target, as they picked up a vital 1-0 victory.

English football paused and introduced its first winter break due to the World Cup, and while Lodi was not selected to represent Brazil in Qatar, this allowed him more time to gel with his new teammates.

From a Forest’s point of view, this was more than ideal – especially as Cooper would have had his head in his hands witnessing Kouyate being stretchered off when playing for Senegal v Holland.

Lodi continued to train with the current crop, as well as feature in all three friendlies during the break. On reflection, this looks to have been a positive for the full back, who was certainly showing all the right signs that he was willing to fight for his place.

The New Year brought another positive point and performance for Lodi against Chelsea, minus a clumsy last-minute tackle, the Brazilian impressed in the second half, driving down the left-hand side on several occasions, as Forest penned in Chelsea for large periods of time.

Both Lodi and Aurier used their experience and confidence to push high and threaten Chelsea, a clear sign that Forest are beginning to adapt to life in the top-flight. Rather than showing their opponents too much respect, something they’ve previously been guilty of.

Key performances in the Garibaldi

Forest went on to secure their first away victory on the road away to Southampton, another performance where Forest’s defence stood firm, frustrating Southampton who, like Crystal Palace, finished the game without testing Henderson’s gloves once. Lodi more than played his part in the win.

With confidence clearly building throughout the team, Lodi’s game has continued to progress in the Garibaldi, to the level many would have expected from the on-loan Atletico player.

His next two matches against Wolves in the Carabao Cup and Leicester in the Premier League were arguably his best since his arrival.

Despite pressure building in the second half against Wolves, Lodi’s ability in high pressure games shone through, and when Wolves introduced former Barcelona winger Adama Traore for the final 15 minutes, Lodi had him completely under control.

After Forest’s recent 2-0 win over Leicester, Lodi received high praise from Forest fans, as the Brazilian continues to warm to the Premier League as well as life in Nottingham.

His confidence and calmness when in possession has always been there, but there’s been more of an attacking edge to his game in the last few weeks, as Forest continue to be more ruthless on the break.

A Brazilian bromance

The transfer of Gustavo Scarpa has clearly been a positive for Lodi, as the pair have regularly spent time together both in training and away from Forest. It’s early days, but there’s potentially a relationship ready to build on the pitch, with Scarpa noticeably picking our Lodi higher up the field against Wolves.

With Danilo now officially within the ranks, the three may lean on each other to adapt to life in a new country and feel at home in Nottingham.

For all his praise, which has been fully deserved, Lodi has struggled with set pieces. Sharing responsibility with Gibbs-White, it’s fair to say it hasn’t been his main strength. However, the introduction of Scarpa may well see him take over Lodi’s current responsibilities when on the pitch, leaving the left back to focus on his main duties.

Forest fans have often been guilty of falling in love with loan players in the past. However, with the potential option to buy in Lodi’s contract, the recent permanent signings of Scarpa and Danilo, and with Cooper continuing to build his brand of football, the Brazilian may well be convinced that he belongs on the banks of the Trent.

*Article provided by Nathan Joyes (Nottingham Forest Correspondent).

*Main image @NFFC Forest fans are starting to see the real qualities of Renan Lodi.

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