Diego Ribas da Cunha Biography
Diego Ribas da Cunha, better known as just Diego is a Brazilian professional footballer who currently plies his trade for Flamengo in the Brazilian Serie A.
He was born on 28th February 1985 and hails from Ribeirao Preto in Brazil.
He plays as an attacking midfielder, also capable of playing on the wings or as a forward, however he is best suited to role of a playmaker where he is allowed to express his offensive capabilities to full potential.
A right footed player, he is also very good with his weaker left foot.
A genius with the ball at his feet, his close control is something to be envied by the best of footballers.
He glides across the pitch duping defenders with his effective-but-not-showy trickery, often a feint timed to perfection or a back heel to free a teammate.
He was also exceptionally good on set-pieces. In his prime, he was a one-man show. However, despite having the potential to be one of the best players of his generation he failed to emulate the success of his predecessors, mostly due to his inability to work without managers who favored squad morale and understanding, where he failed to adapt himself to the team tactics.
He has won the UEFA Europa League in 2012 with Atletico Madrid and was a bronze medal winner at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with the Brazil squad.
He was playing football since the age of 6, as he trained with hometown club Comercial FC. At the age of 9, he went on to join Sao Carlos.
However, his talent was noticed by Santos, home of the legend Pele and many other stars, and was signed by them at the age of 12. He developed in the Santos youth system, where he played alongside future stars like himself such as Robinho, Elano and Alex.
He made his debut for the senior Santos squad at the young age of 16, which tells how much potential he possessed.
He made his international debut on April 2003 in a friendly match against Mexico.
However, as the senior squad was already filled with stars, he was included in the Brazil under-23 squad.
He helped the U-23 squad reach the finals of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup, where they were eventually defeated by a Mexico senior team.
Rise to Glory
Diego rose to glory in 2006 after signing for the German club Werder Bremen.
He had an immediate impact as he helped Bremen to a third-place finish in Bundesliga.
He was elected the Bundesliga Player of the Season by popular magazine kicker, in his debut season, his highlight of the season being an outrageous goal from his own half in stoppage time against Achen, videos of which still circulate across the internet.
He kept improving with Bremen as seasons progressed and he was duly called up to the Brazilian national squad. In his final and third season with Bremen in 2009, he scored 20 goals in all competitions and led to Bremen to a DFB-Pokal title. He went on to join Italian giants Juventus the same year.
Diego failed to accomplish his true potential as he travelled across clubs as he put in inconsistent performances, since his move to Juventus. Even in the national team, he played deputy to Kaka and failed to cement his place in the squad.
Diego has played for clubs like Porto, Wolfsburg, Atletico Madrid, Fenerbahce and currently Flamengo alongside Bremen and Juventus. He only managed to be successful during his stint at Madrid where he won the UEFA Europa League and the La Liga, after a fantastic time with Bremen.
He has won the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A twice, Portuguese Primeira Liga, DFB-Pokal, UEFA Europa League and La Liga each once. Furthermore, he has won two Copa Americas with the Brazil national team and was a bronze medalist at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.