DJALMA FEITOSA DIAS "DJALMINHA"

Date of Birth: 9 December, 1970
Nationality: Brazil (international)/Spain
Period at Deportivo: 1997 - 2004
Transfer: 1.480 mln ptas (ca €9,5 million) (1997, from Palmeiras)
Previous Clubs: Austria Wien (2002-2003, on loan), Palmeiras (1995, 1996, 1997), Shimizu (1994-1995), Guarani (1993, 1994), Flamengo (1990, 1991, 1992), Vasco da Gama
Sold: Free Transfer (2004)
Height: 176 cm
Weight: 75 kg
Position: Attacking Midfielder (central)

DJALMINHA, the gifted Brazilian playmaker, arrived in La Coruña in 1997 to form a magic partnership with Rivaldo. He had played for Vasco da Gama, Flamengo, Guaraní and Palmeiras in his native country, and also a one year stint at Japanese Shimizu S-Pulse. Before his arrival to Spanish football, he won a Copa America and 3 Brazilian Leagues.

The player grew up surrounded by the best Brazilian players. His father, Djalma Feitosa, was one of the most charismatic players of the 1940s. When Djalminha was still a kid, "O Rei" Pelé carried him on his shoulders on a football pitch.

Djalminha has been blessed with talent and that makes his football brilliant to watch. He conceives this sport as a spectacle and Djalma knows the public goes to the stadium to enjoy. Therefore, he likes to assume the showman role on the pitch. He is generous with football lovers and he suffers when a match is boring. For Djalminha, football is art.

His technique is almost perfect. The ball is the extension of his leg. But this natural talent is used in a balanced way, only to help the team's game, not for personal glory. Due to his game ideas, he makes football easier for his team mates. Keeping himself well-positioned, he helps to regain the ball and launch the attack. His speciality is to pass the ball unexpectedly, misleading his opponents with his look. He is an authentic magician, a goalscorer and an absolute "football crack." Ask the defence of Real Madrid who were stunned when one of his plays, a lambretta, outplayed them all.

Another typical Djalminha action was the way he launched most penalties. In 1976, Czech player Panenka lobbed the ball into the net, so Djalminha copied his method when he saw Italian striker Vialli doing it. He applied it when playing against Real Madrid and even dared to do it when Deportivo played a vital Champions League match at Milan in 2001, with the score still 0-0. It left the San Siro silent. Djalminha will also always be remembered for his goal on 26 September 2000 in the derby match against Celta de Vigo. He received the ball at the edge of the area, backheeled it and curled it into the far corner. One of the best goals Riazor has ever seen.

But like all geniuses, Djalminha has a very bad character that explodes when he is the object of a fault. When this happens, he is a real bomb on the pitch and receives too many cards each season. He is not a violent player, but he has his own sense of justice, and applies it wherever he goes. That's why he had a notorious headbutting incident with coach Irureta in 2002 just because he felt mistreated. Another product of his genius is his excellent drama skills: even with a minimal touch by his opponent, the foul is assured.

Some people just remember Djalminha's bad manners, his dribblings and his tricks. But Djalma will have an honorable place in Spanish Liga and the history of Deportivo, as he was an important part when the team conquered the first ever Liga title in 2000. His goals and assists to Roy Makaay were worth gold, and so Djalminha soon became beloved by the Riazor crowd. Unfortunately he never formed the duo with Rivaldo as he was supposed to, as his compatriot left the club in the same summer that Djalminha arrived.

However, his relationship with Irureta grew worse by the years and because of the above-mentioned incident, he had to pay a price. He was loaned out to Austria Wien in the season 2002/2003, but never found his place there. He returned to Deportivo and was given a second chance, altough Irureta rarely used him.

27 May 2004 was Djalminha's goodbye as both parties agreed to terminate his contract which was originally to end one season later. But his name will forever be written in the history books of the Galician club, and his tricks in Riazor will forever be remembered. When asked if he would continue his career in Spain he said that "I wouldn't like to play against Depor, especially not because of its supporters. I have always been treated in such a great way that I cannot forget." Djalminha played 17 matches for the Brazilian national team and never lost a single one.
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