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Spelling Denilson de Oliveira
Gender Male
Ethnic Brazilian
Job Brazilian Footballer
Desc The exciting left-sider became the most expensive player in history when he signed for Real Betis as a sort of vanity project of then president, Manuel Ruiz de Lopera. The Spanish side liked what they saw of Denilson at the 1997 Tournoi and his transfer was ratified only days after the 1998 World Cup final. An eye-watering fee of £21.5m was agreed. All did not go to plan for the winger in Andalusia though and he departed the club on loan to Flamengo in 2000 after the club’s relegation to Segunda. His club career remained fitful throughout his tenure in Spain and winning the World Cup title in 2002 remains his highlight


Org Brazil National Team
Club as Player AO Kavala
  Dallas FC
  Real Betis
  Sao Paulo FC


Agent Santiago Gerardo
Teammate Aldair
  Roberto Carlos
1998 07 12
World Cup 1998 final where France defeat Brazil 3-0. Zinedine Zidane score 2 goals with assist from Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. also final goal came from Emmanuel Petit with assist by Patrick Vieira

2008 12 06 Retrieve

[Denilson Enjoying First Team Role With Arsenal] Brazilian guys like Gilberto and Edu helped make history at the club, they were champions, now I’m working hard here to help get more trophies. Last season I did get some games, but not many because I was injured. This season I have had more opportunities, and am training hard more every day to try to help the team. Now I am very happy, have scored a couple of goals and I have been playing well

[The former Sao Paulo player also spoke of his partnership with Cesc Fabregas in midfield, insisting that it can be a huge success] Cesc and I play well together, he is a fantastic player. I have always believed we could do it, because we have the quality

[Asked about the Gunners chances of picking up silverware this season] I still have a strong belief in the team because now we have more focus, on the Premier League, on the Champions League, on everything. In my head, it is now thinking no more lose or draw - just about win, win, win.

2011 05 20 Retrieve

[Arsenal’s Denilson says this has been the worst season of his life and it is time for him to move on] This has been the worst season of my life and I am so upset, so frustrated. I am a winner and I came here to win trophies but I’ve been here for five years and won nothing. A footballer’s career is over very quickly so it is time for me to move on

This is not a sudden decision. I made up my mind eight months ago. I was fed up of coming home and feeling down. But I haven’t said anything until now because I didn’t want to disrupt the team during the season. And I haven’t caused a big scene

I can’t see myself returning in a Chelsea shirt, or Liverpool or Manchester City - and definitely not Tottenham. I think my future will be Italy or Spain. It’s great to play beautiful football but sometimes to be a winner you have to play ugly if you want to succeed

2011 06 03 Retrieve

[Denilson says he will accept any offer from Spain, Italy or Germany from a club playing in the Champions League in order to leave Arsenal] I’ve spoken twice with Arsene Wenger and my decision is clear. I’m not happy at Arsenal and, after five years at the club, it’s best for me to go. I’m still young. If I don’t find another club in Europe, I will go back to Brazil and play there for six months.

My idea is to accept any offer from Spain, Italy or Germany from a club that is playing in the Champions League. I dream of maintaining a place in the Brazil national team. I don’t blame Arsene Wenger at all. I believe I’ve had my best season personally but want to win titles. After the Carling Cup final it all went wrong for Arsenal

2011 07 08 Retrieve

[Sao Paulo sign Arsenal midfielder Denilson on loan] I am very pleased to return. I want to help Sao Paulo become Brazilian champions. I have returned because of my family and Sao Paulo. This is the club where I was raised, where I started, who have a very beautiful history. I am realising a dream

[Denilson has confessed that one of the reasons he has decided to accept a new challenge] It was complicated, I was five years there and unfortunately we did not win anything. Now, with my head at Sao Paulo, I think I will do that. I hope to resolve everything as soon as possible to return to work and continue my career here [in Brazil].

2012 07 05 Retrieve

[Sao Paulo confirm deal with Arsenal to extend Denilson loan] I am very relieved, this is a big happiness. Now, I have to be even more focused and work hard to help Sao Paulo win titles again. I am ready. I spent some days outside Sao Paulo to rest, so I am ready to get back on track and train with my team-mates. We have a very big game on Sunday.

2017 08 11 Retrieve

[Denilson knows firsthand the pressure that comes with world-record transfer] It seems that the referee wanted go home bragging that he didn’t blow the whistle once when I was fouled. Congratulations.

[But that is not even the strangest thing that happened to Denilson] Nobody can say that I have not lived a life in football in what concerns experience about a lot of aspects in the game. And I have no problem talking about the mistakes I made along the way. They helped me be a better person

Betis wanted to be a contender in Spain, and the club invested a lot to try to make it happen. Of course, I knew they paid a lot of money for me, but I think the whole ‘most expensive player ever’ thing got way out of hand. People suddenly thought I was going to arrive and be La Liga’s top scorer. So the whole price tag thing did not help me at all.

[To make matters worse, he found out that the agent responsible for his ground-breaking transfer to Spain had siphoned away his share of the money] It was a horrible moment for me because things were already complicated on the pitch. My head was all over the place. These days, I look back and actually feel that being betrayed taught me to be more aware of business and people around me.

[He went back to Betis and was one of their main players in their return to the top level, but by the time he was sold to French side Bordeaux in 2005, the Brazilian was already a peripheral player in the squad] The irony is that my season in France was probably the best I had in Europe. Bordeaux had a great championship and finished second at a time nobody could beat Lyon for the title. I was happy and there was the chance to play the Champions League

[Denilson’s knees were troubling him enough for him to contemplate retirement, but then came an offer from Vietnam] I accepted because I was promised enough structure to heal my knees, but the club had nothing. I wanted to leave, but the president refused to let me because he feared the embarrassment and a riot. I played 45 minutes, basically dragging myself across the pitch, despite the fact I scored a goal

[Denilson still tried a comeback in Greece at AO Kavala before finally calling it a career in 2010. He was 32. That year, he took part in his third World Cup – this time behind the microphone] I don’t regret anything because many people dream of playing football and never get to the top level. I had a career in Europe and played for my country, becoming a world champion. I have nothing to be ashamed of. Even if I did, you journos never let me forget that I once was the most expensive player in the world. Every time the line moves, someone calls me

[Denilson is all seriousness when talking about the new kid with the tag] Listen: He spent four years at Barcelona before making his move and is a much more experienced guy than I was. But he is taking a big risk going to a club where he will be totally under the spotlight. No disrespect to guys like [Edinson] Cavani, but Neymar will personify this PSG team, and a lot of people will expect him to do things to justify the money paid for him. I am under no doubt he has the potential for that, but the pressure will be immense

Brazil apparently has 73 world champions still alive. I am one of them, and people still recognize me on the street. This won’t cease to be an honor. I am always thankful when people remember who I am.

2019 09 27 Retrieve

[Denilson, who spent seven years in Spain with Real Betis and was part of Brazil’s triumphant 2002 World Cup-winning squad, told reporters in his role as a La Liga ambassador] Yes, I miss Neymar because he was happy here. He was playing for one hell of a team with really good players alongside him. But he made a decision and who are we to go against that. He wanted success somewhere else. I also had the opportunity to play in France and it’s not the same as Spain. The quality here in Spain is impressive. There, it’s more physical. It was a long story with Neymar, if he would come (back) or not. Let’s see what happens in January when he has the chance to leave again.

[He added on Vinicius and the stars of the future] I experienced something similar to him because I arrived at 19 years old, he was a kid who left for a country that has a very different football culture. When he arrived he played very well for two or three months and now I think he has less pressure and is starting to adapt better. People demand a lot but he is very young. A little patience with him and with Rodrygo is required, they are very young and both of them will succeed in Spain if given time

2020 01 02 Retrieve

[Talks about surviving growing up in violent neighbourhood] I saw a lot going on, just running into the house. Even at curfew, there was a lot of gunfire. I have many childhood friends. Some have died for making the wrong choices

[Unsurprisingly, Denilson struggled to comprehend his rapid ascent to first-team football on such a big stage] I thought I’d be on the bench for a few seasons adapting. Every day I’m working to show my potential

[He actually secured slightly more game time the following year but Denilson had already made up his mind to leave] Spending five years alone was very depressing. You see 90,000 fans cheering you on a game and when it’s over you have no one to talk to. People are very cold in England. I lived in a condominium and didn’t even know my neighbours. They didn’t even say hi to me. I am shy, but I like a good chat with friends. Here, after a game, I gather my family and friends in a steak house and we talk. For me, the best thing about coming back to Brazil is being home again.

2020 04 25 Retrieve

[Denilson on Arsene Wenger] My grandchildren are going to know exactly who Arsene Wenger was. I say that because he really helped me on a personal level. We worked a lot on tactics and my technique, which really improved, especially my passing. But he also made a difference away from the pitch. Normally, a coach doesn’t care how a player is. It, ‘Sod it, I want him to do his job.’ End of conversation. But he showed a great deal of concern and kindness to me. So for me, he’s not just an excellent coach. He’s the best I ever worked with, not because he is a big name or because he spent so many years at Arsenal, but because of the way he treated me

2020 05 10 Retrieve

[Former Brazil international Denilson has slammed Botafogo’s efforts to lure Arjen Robben out of retirement, suggesting that the Rio club would have more luck in trying to add a superhero to their ranks] Now, I’m a Botafogo player, I haven’t been paid, my wages are getting cut and someone comes along talking about signing Robben. For the love of God, a little more responsibility please. Botafogo fans don’t need to get carried away with this situation. They are a team who have been struggling for a while now, now someone is talking about signing Robben. In the state they are in, they shouldn’t be thinking about any signings. Football is now a joke. Since they’re after Robben, why not go after Batman too?