Goal.com Profile: Diego

German Football
By German Football May 9, 2009 20:23

Goal.com Profile: Diego

His much publicised move away from the Weserstadion looks to be ever nearer, with Juventus seemingly on the verge of securing his services. There is, however, reported interest in the mercurial talent from both Inter and Bayern Munich. So what is it that makes Werder Bremen’s Diego so sought after?

When Diego Ribas da Cunha signed for Werder Bremen in 2006, the fans at the north German side were in raptures. The diminutive Brazilian had started his career as a 17-year-old at Santos in his homeland, and led the team as captain to two national titles, quickly earning the reputation as one of the best young talents in world football.

Shortly after his €6 million move to Werder was announced, Bremen midfielder Johan Micoud left the club for Bordeaux, meaning that Diego had to step into some big boots as the Frenchman had led the Green and Whites to the double in 2004.

Doubters Silenced

There were, of course, those who doubted that Diego would be able to live up to the expectations. At the time he was the club’s most expensive purchase ever and while at Porto he had spent plenty of time on the bench. However, on his debut he quickly blew the cynics away, scoring one goal and setting up a further two as Werder beat Hannover.

The Complete Playmaker

Diego quickly developed into the key point around which the entire Werder team turned. Werder Bremen soon became synonymous with quick, attacking football, providing a great spectacle for the fans. And much of that was down to the Brazilian.

He was seen as the complete playmaker in the traditional style – an extremely strong dribbling with the ball and always capable of delivering the killer pass. He was also a regular scorer and not just from his deadly free kicks (he has 37 goals in 82 Bundesliga matches so far).

Spectacular Goals Flow

It wasn’t just the quantity of the goals from the boot of the No. 10, but the supreme quality of many of them. Many of Diego’s goals had the fans’ jaws dropping in amazement. His unbelievable strike against Alemannia Aachen from inside his own half in April 2007 was quite rightly voted the Goal of the Season.

Against Bayern Munich he beat Oliver Kahn with a cracking shot in October 2006, which was the Goal of the Month. In the same season, he scored another brilliant goal against Hertha Berlin in a 5-1 win, where he took the ball on the turn and hit a first-time lob over the keeper. Spectacular free kicks have also become a common sight.

Suspect Temperament

There can be no doubts about the technical abilities possessed by the Brazilian, but the one weakness that does need addressing is his temper. His South American temperament often lets him down, especially when he has been provoked. Take for example his head-butt on Frankfurt’s Sotirios Kyrgiakos last season or his attack on Karlsruhe’s Christian Eichner this season, both of which led to bans.

More recently, his stupid yellow card against Hamburg in the semi-final of the UEFA Cup has seen him ruled out of the final. Accused of diving by compatriot Alex Silva he reacted unnecessarily and, thanks to his third caution in the competition, he will miss the final that he has done so much to get Werder into. In order to become truly world-class, that is an area that needs work.

Werder Fans Understand

That one day he would leave the Weserstadion for a ‘bigger club’ was always clear and Werder fans are quite understanding of the fact that he needs to move on to pastures new. In order to become a true great and take on a leading role for Brazil in the Selecao he needs to enjoy success at the highest level. Whether he will experience the same sort of success away from the Weserstadion remains to be seen and it also remains to be seen whether Juventus, for example, will allow him to be the focal point of their team as he is at Werder.

Nobody in Bremen has any animosity towards him regarding his imminent move as he has always given his all for the club. But many will have tear in the eye as they see him play his last game for the club as they remember all the good times. Although he will miss the UEFA Cup final, victory over Shakhtar Donetsk would be in a large part down to his sublime performances in the earlier games.

His last game for Werder should be the DFB Pokal in Berlin against Bayer Leverkusen. A match-winning, cup-winning performance would be the perfect end to his time at Werder Bremen.


German Football
By German Football May 9, 2009 20:23
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