- Dec 19, 2003
Diego Ribas da Cunha
Date of birth: 28 February 1985 (1985-02-28) (age 24)
Place of birth: Ribeirão Preto, Brazil
Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 8+1⁄2 in)
Weight: 76 kg
Playing position: Attacking midfielder
Fee: 24.5m €
Years Club App (Gls)2
2001–2004 Santos 64 (21)
2004–2006 FC Porto 48 0(4)
2006–2009 Werder Bremen 81 (36)
2003– Brazil 28 0(2)
Born in Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo, he was signed by the São Paulo team Santos FC at the age of 12. Diego developed in the Santos youth system, making his first team debut at the age of 16 in the Rio-São Paulo Championship in 2002 and in the same year he won the domestic Campeonato Brasileiro championship.
In May 2006, Diego signed a contract with Werder Bremen until 2010 for a transfer fee of €6 million.
His first match for Werder Bremen came in the Premiere Ligapokal (Premiere League Cup). Werder Bremen won the cup beating Bayern Munich in the final on 5 August.
The 2006–07 Bundesliga season began well for Diego. He scored the first goal and set up two more for Bremen in their 4-2 win over Hannover 96, on 13 August. In his second match in the Bundesliga he set up both goals in the 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen.
Thanks to his good performances in August, both in the Bundesliga and in the Premiere Ligapokal, he won the August Player of the Month award. As the Bundesliga season went on, Diego made several amazing performances and became one of the most valuable players for Werder Bremen, along with his team-mate Torsten Frings. They are called the "two motors of Bremen's midfield". In October 2006, he won a second Player of the Month award and again in December 2006. He was then named as the Best Player of the first half of the Bundesliga.
Werder Bremen finished in third place in Group A in the Champions League group stages, and they moved to the UEFA Cup, where they reached the Semi-finals, beating AZ Alkmaar in the Quarter finals, due in part to Diego's creative play.
On 15 April, Diego again played well, scoring in the 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund. Five days later, on 20 April Bremen played against Alemannia Aachen. Although Diego's performance was good he did not score until stoppage time when he scored a goal from 62.5 metres, which later was elected as goal of the year. Bremen won the game 3-1 and topped the table with 60 points.
Following his good performances in the first half of the Bundesliga, Diego got called up to the Brazilian national football team in November.
After the 2006–07 season ended Diego won the Bundesliga Player of the Season award organised by popular magazine Kicker. He got just over 50 percent of the votes. Unfortunately, his team did not win the Bundesliga after finishing 3rd in the table, behind champions VfB Stuttgart and Schalke 04.
Diego started his season well, scoring a penalty on the first matchday. Diego gave many outstanding performances. He was crucial as Werder Bremen got through to the Champions League's group phase. They beat Dinamo Zagreb 3-2 at Zagreb, with Diego scoring two penalties.
Diego with the Brazilian national team.
On the first Champions League Group Stage matchday, they lost 2-1 to Real Madrid, but Diego's performance aroused interest in Real Madrid's coach Bernd Schuster. But the stories were put to an end when Diego signed a new contract which will last until 2011.
After the loss to Real Madrid, Werder Bremen faced VfB Stuttgart, the defending German champions, at home. Werder won 4-1, with Diego leading the midfield. Later on in the season, Werder Bremen got a historical 8-1 win over Arminia Bielefeld, with Diego assisting three goals and scoring one himself.
Diego was voted Player of the Month in September.
Diego was called up for the Brazil national squad for the Copa América 2004 tournament, and he was instrumental in securing the tournament victory for Brazil when he scored in the penalty shootout against Argentina in the final. He and Robinho were known as a famous duo when they played for Santos.
He was transferred to Portuguese club FC Porto in July 2004. Diego did not maintain a stable place in the Porto team under coach Co Adriaanse. And because of that, Diego was left out of the Brazil squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup tournament. He was though a substitute in a friendly match against England on 1 June 2007, and scored a last minute equaliser.
* Campeonato Brasileiro: 2
* Portuguese Supercup: 1
* Intercontinental Cup: 1
* Portuguese Liga: 1
* German League Cup: 1
* Salerno Mundialito: 1
* South American Under 17 Championship: 1
* Toulon Tournament: 1
* Copa América: 2
* Olympic Bronze Medalist: 1