DONATO GAMA DA SILVA

Date Of Birth: 30 December, 1962
Nationality: Spain (international)/Brazil
Period at Deportivo: 1993 - 2003
Transfer: 160 million pesetas (1993) (ca €1 million)
Previous Clubs: Atlético de Madrid (1988-1993), Vasco da Gama, América de Rio
Sold: - (has quit football)
Height: 178 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Position: Defender/Defensive midfielder (central)

DONATO, nicknamed "el abuelo" (granddad) at Deportivo, never seemed to retire. But in 2003, the club eventually forced him to at the age of forty.

His nickname in fact came from a mistake in his passport, which made him 10 years older than he really is. But playing ten seasons at the Galician club made him more or less a grandfather to many of the other players.

The Brazilian-born defender started as a midfielder in his native land, having great shot and vision. After playing a tournament in Madrid, it was Atlético de Madrid literally pulling him out of the airplane to have him playing for them in 163 Liga matches (scoring 11 goals). At the age of 31, he was considered close to the end of his career, and Deportivo, still small back in 1993, used this chance to get him.

Donato was an important piece in the Superdepor team from 1992, and he went on to score a great goal, from a long distance, against Bilbao in 1999. He usually played as a defensive midfielder, but on occasions was used as central defender. That was the position he was used during the final years of his career.

He almost quit the club at the end of 1999, when he was close to signing at Compostela. That didn't happen though and Deportivo continued to make use of his experience. After every season, Deportivo and Donato negotiated about renewing his contract. This would go on until 2003.

In 2002, an injury seemed to endanger his career at the club, because he was supposed to play a certain amount of matches to earn a renewal. Deportivo president Lendoiro quickly reacted and announced that a player like Donato didn't have to prove his worth anymore because the people already knew it.

But the end of his career was not far away as he was't presented a new contract in 2003. Nevertheless, he broke the record twice by being the oldest player ever to score a goal in the Primera División. His goal against Bilbao gave him the record while he broke his own by scoring against Valencia. Donato played an incredible amount of 303 Liga matches at Deportivo, in 10 seasons, and scored no less than 38 goals in them.

Despite being born in Brazil, Donato made his international debut for Spain on 16 November 1994 against Denmark. He had been picked once for the Brazilian team to replace the injured Mozer. But in the end he didn't participate in the match and he would play 12 matches for Spain, scoring 3 goals. His last Spanish match was on 9 June 1996.
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