MAURO DA SILVA GOMES

Date of Birth: 12 January, 1968
Nationality: Brazil (international)/Spain
Period at Deportivo: 1992 - 2005
Transfer: ca. €1,6 million (250 mln ptas) (1992)
Clubs: Bragantino (1991, 1992), Guarani FC (1990)
Height: 177 cm
Weight: 83 kg
Position: Defensive Midfielder (central)

MAURO SILVA would be a serious contender for a ‘Mr. Deportivo’ contest and can seriously be called a 'bargain'. Despite his low transfer sum back in 1992, he became a fundamental part of the team conquering Spain and Europe since then and he was present at all the prizes the club won between 1995 and 2002. Together with Fran and Donato he has become the symbol of Deportivo since its revival in the nineties. His work as a defensive midfielder during his twelve seasons with Depor will act as a model for future players at this position, worldwide.

His history began as a humble boy in Brazil, where he spent three seasons with Brazilian clubs Guarani FC and CA Bragantino before moving to La Coruña. The Brazilian midfielder joined Deportivo at the age of 24 and signed a contract running until June 1997. It was the summer of 1992 and the club had just avoided relegation back to the Segunda División after surviving play-off matches.

He immediately took command in midfield and established himself as a key component in Deportivo's journey from provincial backwater to main player on the European stage. President Lendoiro knew he was the future when he saw him for the first time and he traveled to South America to sign him, together with another up and coming prospect, Bebeto. Although football is not an exact science, it can be concluded that both players were extremely important when the club started its amazing performances in the season 1992/93.

He made his official Liga debut on 6 September 1992 during a 2-0 home win against regional rivals Celta and would play 72 Liga matches in his first two seasons in the Primera División. He was there when the team were so close to winning the Liga in 1994 although he got compensated when Brazil won the World Cup that same year. Mauro Silva was the heart and soul of that team and played all matches during the tournament.

But injuries have played an important role in his career, and because of it Mauro Silva participated only in six games during the following season. The Brazilian midfielder didn’t make the legendary Copa final which would earn his club its first ever trophy. But after having been recovered he quickly reentered the team and became an undisputed figure again. During the season 1995/96 he was offered a contract renewal until 2000, something which he gladly accepted.

The year 2000 was important, not only for the player, because Deportivo won their first ever Liga title that season. Mauro Silva played in 33 matches that campaign but almost left the club during that summer because of family problems. However, he was persuaded to return to Deportivo, to extend his contract, and was given a hero's welcome when he arrived back in La Coruña.

Between then and 2005 he won three more trophies with the Galicians (the Copa and two Supercopas) and surpassed a triple century of Liga appearances for Deportivo during the season 2002/03. But the engine was slowly running down and, coincidence or not, so were Deportivo. In the 2003/04 campaign the Brazilian started to suffer from muscular injuries and was sent off twice (for the first time in his career), preventing him from adding to his 27 Primera starts. Mauro Silva again excelled in the Champions League though, only to miss the second leg of the semi-final defeat by FC Porto through suspension.

In 2004 statistics revealed that Mauro Silva still was one of the most effective midfielders in the Primera División. But the veteran already had decided that his time had come and he announced his retirement on the day his contract would run out. His final season at the club was disappointing, as new injuries prevented him from playing regularly and the team struggled during the whole season. His dream to win one final prize with Deportivo, the Champions League if the choice was his, wasn’t materialized but together with legendary Fran he was given an emotional farewell during his final home match.

After having spent thirteen years at the club his numbers are impressive: 369 matches at the highest level and 31.208 playing minutes. Mauro Silva lacks one thing though: scoring goals. He only scored one single goal at Deportivo, and he only had to tap the ball into an empty net on that occasion (against Valencia in 1994). But former coach Toshack of Deportivo gave Mauro Silva the best compliment he could get: "He's the best in the world on his position. When he's in form, he works like a horse".

His humble character prevented him though from being recognized as the star he really was. The big audience never fully noticed his enormous qualities, but at Deportivo they did. A legend said goodbye in 2005.
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