Diego Tardelli Martins is a Brazilian footballer born on 10th May 1985 in Santa Barbara. Named by his father after Italian legend Marco Tardelli, Diego plays as an attacking midfielder. Representing Brazil at the international level, Tardelli currently plays for the club Shandong Luneng in China’s top division league.
Diego began his career with Santa Barbara’s local team, União Barbarense in 2001 before joining São Paulo’s youth team in 2003. With his exceptional speed and unmatched skills, he broke into the senior team in the short span of a year.
In 2005 he represented Brazil in the U20 format making two goalless appearances for the team.
Diego Tardelli made his professional debut with São Paulo in 2004. Staying with the team for three years, Tardelli made 90 appearances while managing to score in 18 of them.
2006 saw him being transferred to La Liga’s Real Betis on loan, where he couldn’t impress much. He was transferred back to São Caetano in the same year, again on loan.
He made 7 appearances for the team and scored one goal, before being transferred again on loan to the Dutch club PSV Eindhoven. He stayed there for a year, making 13 appearances and scoring 3 goals.
His international debut came in July 2009 in a friendly match against Estonia. Managing to impress the selectors, Tardelli was included in the 2010 FIFA World Cup backup squad. However he did not get a chance to play.
Rise to glory
Diego Tardelli’s career shot upwards in 2008 after his transfer to Flamengo, a Brazilian football club which holds the record of never being relegated. Tardelli marked his arrival with a winning goal in the final of Taça Guanabara against Botafogo. He repeated his success in Rio de Janeiro State League final against the same opposition by scoring the winning goal once again.
Tardelli joined Brazil’s Series A team, Atletico Mineiro after leaving Flamengo in 2009. His two years at Mineiro were statistically the best for the Brazilian. Appearing in 114 games, he scored on 73 occasions across all competitions.
Following a successful stint with Mineiro, Tardelli moved to Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011. He could not adapt to Russian conditions and transferred again, without scoring once for the team in 13 appearances. He was bought by Qatar’s Al-Gharafa in 2012, where he made 24 appearances for the team and netted 13 goals.
2013 saw him coming back to Atletico Mineiro for a year where he carried his team to victory in Campeonato Mineiro, Copa Libertadores and Copa do Brasil tournaments.
2015 saw him being transferred to his current team, Shandong Luneng. Carrying his team to a triumphant victory in Chinese FA Super Cup in the first season, Tardelli became a star of the team. Appearing 49 times for the team, he has scored 24 times.
Diego was part of the Brazilian team that won Superclásico de las Américas in 2014, where Tardelli scored 2 goals in Brazil’s 2-0 win against Argentina. Having playing in several Leagues, Tardelli would be carrying a lot of experience to the upcoming World Cup and would be looking forward to a successful campaign.