Danilo reveals Rangers shining light amid darkness of injury hell as new dad vows to be Jefte father figure

Daddy Danilo revealed how the birth of his new daughter was the “daylight through the darkness” of his injury hell - as he vowed to be a Rangers father figure to fellow Brazilian Jefte.

The Light Blues star was the big summer signing 12 months ago when Michael Beale signed him for around £6 million from Feyenoord but he suffered a season-ending knee injury against Hearts at Tynecastle in December.

Danilo was in the depth of despair after that but revealed how his team-mates helped keep his spirits up before the real uplifting moment in March when he and partner Tess welcomed daughter Naya Rose Pereira da Silva into the world. The 25-year-old admitted that helped him get through the lowest points and he is now back on the training ground as he aims to hit the ground in his second season.

Lifting the lid on his injury hell, he told Rangers TV: “I always try to look on the positive things and when I had my knee (injury), my daughter was almost born and I was like ‘wow’. I didn’t want to be in that situation when she came into the world. I was working really hard for that so when she was born I was really good to take care of her and walk everywhere with her and she was giving me so much strength to get through those hard moments. She’s like the daylight of the darkness.

“The boys in the dressing room are part of the family and in those moments when my head was down a little bit and couldn’t see any progression, even though I had to be patient, the boys were like ‘Hey Danny, you are always a positive guy and always smiling’. So they told me to smile and bring happiness to them so that was really a sweet message the boys gave to me when I wasn’t having a good day or wasn’t in a good place. And now I’m back on the field they’re saying ‘welcome back’. They are really sweet and part of the family

“It’s been great to be back. The past few months have been a rollercoaster for me but now being back with the team all the hard work in the gym and outside has been paying off. It’s still going but it’s amazing just being with the boys. It was crazy. If I look backwards, every time there are things I wish I could do but I couldn’t at that moment.

“It was hard but those moments make me more stronger. It’s difficult not being able to do what I was used to every day and every weekend so it was difficult when I wasn’t with the boys but everyone was really relaxed with me and patient and if things I didn’t do well they gave me good confidence. It’s been great to be back.

“I remember my first run, my first contact with the ball. I was like a kid just starting to play football. I was in my happy place back on the field. There’s still a lot to work on and I’m not 100 per cent there but I’m working hard to achieve that.

"Last year I didn’t have the opportunity to have a full pre-season with the boys - I arrived a little bit later - so it’s good to start with them and click and get the connections.

“It’s been a really long journey for me and right now the most important thing is to take care of my knee and be 100 percent ready for the start of the competitive games but it’s still good to build up self confidence in the friendly games.”

Danilo admits he has a role to play in helping new signing Jefte settle in. The 20-year-old signed on a four-year deal from Fluminense and Danilo said: “The relationship with Jefte has been really good. He’s from a different side of Sao Paulo so it’s funny because we speak a little bit differently but we both understand each other. I have to help him quite a lot. That’s something I think I have to be responsible for - to make him feel as comfortable as possible and be part of this really nice group. He will get used to the language but he’s a really nice boy and I think he will contribute a lot.”

Clement and his squad fly to the Netherlands on Sunday for a pre-season training camp and will take on Danilo’s former club Ajax in a friendly game. The playmaker moved there as a teenager and he said: “It will be great to go to Holland and travel with the boys again and have that experience and stay in a hotel and also do hard training. It’s going to be a good week and be back in Holland, which is like my home because of how long I lived over there.”