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This is a Portuguese name; the first family name is de Jesus and the second is Silva.
Personal information
Full name Nélson de Jesus Silva
Date of birth 7 October 1973 (1973-10-07) (age 36)
Place of birth Irará, Bahia, Brazil
Height 1.96 m (6 ft 5 in)
Playing position Goalkeeper
Club information
Current club Milan
Number 1
Youth career
1990–1992 Cruzeiro de Arapiraca
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1992–1993 Vitória 24 (0)
1994–1998 Cruzeiro 120 (0)
1998–1999 Lugano 0 (0)
1999–2000 Corinthians 24 (0)
2000– Milan 198 (0)
2001–2002 Corinthians (loan) 8 (0)
National team
1995–2006 Brazil 91 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 February 2010.
† Appearances (Goals).

Nélson de Jesus Silva (born 7 October 1973 in Irará, Bahia), best known as Dida (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈdʒidɐ]), is a Brazilian goalkeeper who currently plays for Milan, with whom he is a two-time winner of the UEFA Champions League.


Early life and club career

Though he was born in Bahia, Dida was raised in the smaller northern state of Alagoas. His footballing role models were goalkeepers Valdir Peres and Rinat Dasayev, whom he watched on television during the 1982 World Cup.[1] A Flamengo fan,[2] he helped form an amateur team called Flamenguinho ("Little Flamengo") at thirteen, which was composed of other boys from his neighborhood.[3]

Dida's professional club career began in 1990 with Alagoas team Cruzeiro de Arapiraca (not to be confused with Cruzeiro EC). Two years later, he signed with hometown club Vitória and won the Bahia state championship in his first season. In 1993, Dida made 24 first-team appearances for Vitória after winning the Under-21 FIFA World Youth Championship as Brazil's first-choice.

Dida was acquired by Cruzeiro EC in 1994, where, in a span of five seasons, he won three Minas Gerais state titles, the 1996 Copa do Brasil, and the 1997 Copa Libertadores, along with a pair of Placar Bola de Prata awards as the top goalkeeper in the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. But with this success soon came a desire to ply his trade in Europe, and in January 1999, he decided to leave Cruzeiro in order to sign with Italian club A.C. Milan in a €5.5 million transfer.[1][4]

A.C. Milan



Dida's request to opt out of the remainder of his contract with Cruzeiro in order to go to Europe kicked off a dispute with the club that lasted for five months, during which he suited up for Switzerland club FC Lugano just to keep in game shape.[1] But when the issue was finally resolved and Dida formally joined Milan, he was third on coach Alberto Zaccheroni's depth chart behind Christian Abbiati and Sebastiano Rossi.

Milan loaned Dida to SC Corinthians in order to get him some regular first-team action. It was during this time that his reputation as a penalty saver came to the fore. His saving of two spot kicks in Corinthians' 3-2 victory over intrastate rivals São Paulo - with both penalties taken by Raí - in the semifinal of the 1999 Campeonato Brasileiro resulted in the headline "Dida is God" from sports publication Lance!.[5] In the inaugural FIFA World Club Championship (today the FIFA Club World Cup) in 2000, Dida saved a Nicolas Anelka penalty in a 2-2 draw with Real Madrid,[6] and in the final against Vasco da Gama, Corinthians won the title in a 4-3 penalty shoot-out after Edmundo's shot went wide.[7]

Milan recalled Dida for the 2000–01 season, and he leapfrogged past Rossi into the starting eleven, since Abbiati was away with Italy at the 2000 Summer Olympics. A 4-1 Champions League group stage win over Beşiktaş on 13 September 2000 marked his official debut for the club, but on 19 September, in the 89th minute against Leeds United at a rain-soaked Elland Road, he accidentally dropped a Lee Bowyer shot into his own goal, causing Milan to lose the match 1-0.[8] His explanation afterward was that since the ball was slippery from the rain, he attempted to absorb the force of the shot then catch hold of it, but it dropped into a puddle and bounced into goal.[9] Despite keeping a clean sheet in Milan's 2-0 win over FC Barcelona one week later, he was promptly benched following Abbiati's return. He made his first and only Serie A start that season as well, a 2–0 November loss to Parma in which Patrick Mboma scored both goals.

Meanwhile, Dida was among nearly a dozen Serie A players who were implicated in a scandal involving fraudulent European passports. In October 2000, it was reported that he had registered in Italy as an EU player with a Portuguese passport, which was discovered to be false following a routine check by Milan, who then promptly re-registered him as a non-EU player.[10] UEFA declined to take any action and instead handed the case over to FIGC, who fined Milan £314,000, and banned Dida from the league for one year, in addition to a FIFA-imposed year-long suspension from national team play. On 3 April 2003, following a court appearance in Milan, he was given a seven-month suspended prison sentence.[11]

Milan sent Dida back to Corinthians for the 2001-02 campaign following the passport flap, then recalled him again for the next season, which he began on the bench until Abbiati limped off with a hip injury at halftime of a Champions League qualifying stage match against FC Slovan Liberec on 14 August 2002. Dida took his place for the second half and turned in a solid performance that would result in a new first-choice keeper for Milan.


Dida soon wrote his name into Milan history after the 2003 Champions League final at Old Trafford against league rivals Juventus, in which he saved penalties from David Trezeguet, Marcelo Zalayeta, and Paolo Montero as Milan won the shoot-out 3-2 after the match had ended goalless. The praise poured in from his home country in addition to the Italian media; he was labeled "Saint Dida" by the Brazilian press, while Folha de São Paulo chipped in with the headline "Dida pushes Milan to the top of Europe."[12]

Dida was nominated for the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year award after conceding only 20 goals in 32 appearances during Milan's 2003-04 Scudetto-winning season.[13]

On 12 April 2005, with Milan leading 1-0 in the second leg of the Champions League quarterfinal derby against crosstown rival Internazionale, Inter ultras became infuriated after a second-half Esteban Cambiasso goal was nullified by referee Markus Merk – who, moments later, booked Cambiasso for dissent – due to the fact that he had just whistled Inter forward Julio Cruz for a foul on Dida in the six-yard box as players were jockeying for position inside the penalty area following an Inter corner kick. Bottles and various debris were subsequently thrown onto the pitch, but the projectiles soon escalated to lit flares. As Dida attempted to clear bottles in order to take a goal kick, a flare hurled from the upper deck struck him on his right shoulder, and Merk halted the match in the 74th minute.[14] After a thirty-minute delay in which firefighters were called in to remove the burning flares from the pitch, the match was restarted. Dida, however, was unable to continue, and was substituted by Abbiati. Less than a minute later, though, Merk finally abandoned the match after more flares and debris rained down. The match was awarded as a 3-0 victory, totaling a 5-0 aggregate, to Milan.[15]

Dida suffered bruising and first-degree burns to his shoulder, but did not miss any game time, as he was back between the posts for Milan's Serie A match on 17 April against A.C. Siena. Meanwhile, Inter were fined just over €200,000 – the largest fine ever imposed by UEFA – and were ordered to play their first four 2005–06 Champions League home matches behind closed doors as punishment.[16]

His form began to decline thereafter, as he struggled in the semifinals against PSV Eindhoven and in the 2005 CL final loss to Liverpool, in which Milan blew a 3-0 halftime lead in a span of six minutes late in the second half and the match ended 3-3 after extra time. Dida was only able to save John Arne Riise's penalty as Liverpool triumphed 3-2 in the ensuing shoot-out. He had set a CL record for consecutive clean sheets with seven, which was surpassed by Arsenal's Jens Lehmann (ten) the next season.

Dida's rough patch continued as he slogged through a mistake-riddled 2005–06 season, leading to Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira declaring that his starting position for the upcoming World Cup was not secure.[17] Though Milan's drive to return to the Champions League final fell short after a 1-0 semifinal aggregate loss to Barcelona, that series began a revival of his form with stops against Ronaldinho, Samuel Eto'o and Henrik Larsson over the course of both legs.


Dida in a home match against
ACF Fiorentina on May 6, 2007

Dida got off to a strong start in 2006–07; following a strike by Lazio's Stephen Makinwa in Milan's 2-1 season-opener victory on 10 September, he did not allow a Serie A goal for the next 446 minutes of play,[18] and he conceded only two goals in five of Milan's six Champions League group stage matches. He made his 200th appearance for Milan in a 1-0 defeat of Ascoli Calcio on 20 September, and on 28 January 2007, he played his 150th career Serie A match in a 1-0 win over Parma. On 10 March, Dida also signed a three-year contract extension that kept him at Milan until June 2010.[19]

However, '06–07 represented the first injury-plagued season of his career, and he missed eleven Serie A matches due to knee and shoulder problems; he had missed ten league games in the previous three seasons combined. His play had consequently suffered again by the start of 2007 and he was racked with inconsistency throughout the second half of the season. Dida was heavily criticized after conceding twice from Daniel van Buyten in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg against Bayern Munich, which ended in a 2-2 tie. He then turned in a man-of-the-match performance in the second leg as Milan shut out Bayern 2-0 and advanced to the semifinals against Manchester United, where he again received criticism after blunders on Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney goals in Milan's 3-2 loss. Once again, Dida bounced back in the second leg, keeping another clean sheet in Milan's 3-0 second leg victory. He maintained his second-leg form into the CL final rematch with Liverpool on May 23, where he exorcised his Istanbul ghosts with three saves from Jermaine Pennant, Steven Gerrard, and Peter Crouch as Milan won 2-1 and raised its seventh Champions League trophy.[20]

On 3 October 2007, during Milan's CL group stage match against Celtic FC in Glasgow, Celtic striker Scott McDonald scored the match-winner in the 90th minute to seal a 2-1 victory. As McDonald and his teammates celebrated near the corner flag, 27-year-old Celtic fan Robert McHendry entered the pitch and tapped Dida on the shoulder as he ran past the Milan penalty area. Dida attempted to give chase but after a few steps he suddenly collapsed to the ground, holding the side of his face; he was stretchered off the pitch and substituted.[21] Although McHendry later turned himself in to police and was given a lifetime ban from Celtic Park, Dida was charged by UEFA with breaching rules upholding "loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship," as it was deemed that his injury was feigned. He was consequently punished with a two-match suspension,[22] which Milan promptly appealed.[23]

Dida never publicly commented on the incident or its consequences to the media, but prior to Milan's first home game since the Celtic match, against Empoli on 21 October, he offered a gesture of apology to the fans by pausing to bow to each section of the crowd during warmups, and received a round of applause in response.[24] The next day, UEFA reduced his ban to one match, and he sat out Milan's 4-1 victory over FC Shakhtar Donetsk on October 24.[25]

On 19 November, Dida joined teammates Cafu, Kaká, Ronaldo and Paolo Maldini for the fifth annual Match Against Poverty in Málaga, Spain, but he missed Milan's group stage rematch against Celtic on 4 December due to illness.[26] That same month, he became the first two-time winner of the FIFA Club World Cup after Milan defeated Boca Juniors.[27] With his participation, he had also set a Club World Cup record with six appearances, a mark that lasted until the next year when Al-Ahly players Wael Gomaa and Mohamed Aboutrika both earned their seventh caps in a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United on 18 December 2008.[28]

Ongoing injury problems and sustained poor form limited Dida to just thirteen league matches in 2007-08. The death knell of his campaign came in the first derby of the year against Internazionale on 23 December, in which he inexplicably dived in the opposite direction of an Esteban Cambiasso goal that gave the Nerazzurri a 2-1 victory. The error earned him a hailstorm of criticism from the fans and media, and Cambiasso commented to reporters after the match, "'I am not going to make jokes about Dida. We are professionals. It happened that he made a mistake. These things are part of football."[29] Dida's last game was in a 5-2 defeat of Napoli on 13 January 2008, after which he aggravated a knee injury during a training session and was dropped for the next match by Ancelotti in favor of Željko Kalac, whose own solid form (which included a gamewinning save in a 1-0 win over Fiorentina on 2 February)[30] kept Dida benched for the remainder of the season. His appearance in the Goal4Africa charity match on 12 July marked his first on-pitch action in six months.[31]


With the return of Abbiati as Milan's first choice for the 2008–09 Serie A season, Dida was the starter for Milan's UEFA Cup campaign, which ended with their elimination by Werder Bremen on February 27, 2009. He made his season Serie A debut on March 15 against A.C. Siena when Abbiati was carted off with a serious knee injury in the 13th minute.[32] With Abbiati out for the rest of the year, Ancelotti kept Dida in the starting lineup over Kalac, whose poor outing in a 5-0 Russian Railways Cup thrashing by Chelsea had demoted him to third choice. He made a career-low total of ten league appearances, six of which ended in clean sheets.

Dida was unable to compete for the 2009-10 starting spot after missing the entire preseason due to injury, and therefore was benched in favor of Marco Storari, who was called back to Milan following a loan spell with Fiorentina. However, he would again make his seasonal league debut as an injury substitute, this time on 18 October 2009 in a 2-1 home win over Roma, after Storari was a late scratch due to suffering a thigh strain from a botched attempt of René Higuita's famed scorpion kick at the end of Milan's last training session before the game.[33]

On 21 October 2009, after catching an Esteban Granero shot during his first Champions League appearance of the season against Real Madrid, Dida hurried to move the ball upfield without having complete control of it, causing him to accidentally bounce it off his knee, and Raúl immediately pounced on the loose ball and put it into an empty net. His mistake ultimately did not prove costly as Madrid keeper Iker Casillas erred himself on two goals that allowed Milan to take the lead and win 3-2.[34] However, on the back of strong league performances thereafter, such as a point-blank stoppage-time save from a Pablo Granoche header in a 2-1 victory over Chievo Verona on 25 October,[35] and a man-of-the-match effort three days later in a 2-2 draw with Napoli that included double and triple saves minutes apart from each other,[36] Dida remained in the starting lineup despite Storari's full recovery and his excellent form prior to his injury. Storari was consequently loaned to Sampdoria on 15 January.[37]

International career

Olympic medal record
Competitor for  Brazil
Men's Football
Bronze 1996 Atlanta Team Competition

With 91 appearances in 11 years,[38] Dida is Brazil's fourth-highest capped goalie, behind Émerson Leão (107 caps), Cláudio Taffarel (101), and Gilmar (94). The only Brazilian keeper to be known by his nickname, he made his Canarinho debut at the 1993 Under-21 FIFA World Youth Championship, where Brazil won the championship for a third time. His first cap for the Seleção came in a 1-0 defeat of Ecuador on 7 July 1995.

Dida was the starting keeper for Brazil at the 1996 Summer Olympics, but an error-laden campaign — which included a penalty-area collision involving Dida and teammate Aldair — resulted in defeats to Nigeria and Japan and left them with the bronze medal.[1] Two years later, coach Mário Zagallo, who had helmed the team at the Olympics, lured 1994 World Cup hero Taffarel out of retirement and back into the #1 jersey for the 1998 World Cup in France, which Dida would watch in its entirety from the bench. He did his part in Brazil's 1999 Copa América victory by conceding only twice in six matches, in addition to saving a Roberto Ayala penalty that preserved a 2-1 win over arch rivals Argentina in the quarterfinals.[39]

Despite Dida's run of good form with Corinthians at the time of the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Luiz Felipe Scolari, who had replaced the fired Wanderley Luxemburgo following Brazil's lackluster qualification, made Marcos his number one. Dida, along with third-choice keeper Rogério Ceni, never played a minute in Brazil's winning campaign, which caused him to set a team record with fourteen consecutive WC final matches on the bench, in 1998 and 2002 combined.

Dida played four out of five matches in the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup (Marcos made one appearance due to squad rotation), conceding four goals and ranking second in total saves behind Mexico's Oswaldo Sánchez. One memorable moment of the competition was during Brazil's 1-0 group-stage loss to Mexico, when he saved a Jared Borgetti spot kick that had to be retaken twice due to repeated player encroachment into the penalty area, which also marked the only penalty save of the competition.[40]

Overall, Dida is the most successful player in the history of the Confederations Cup. In addition to being a two-time winner in 1997 and 2005, he is the competition's all-time leader in caps (22) as well as the only player to participate in five consecutive tournaments (1997 to 2005).[41]

2006 World Cup

Despite never playing a match during his brief tenure at Lugano, Dida received a warm reception from the local supporters during Brazil's training sessions in Weggis, Switzerland prior to the 2006 World Cup finals. During the team's two-week stay, he also organized a Ping-Pong tournament in which he and many of his teammates participated; Dida was defeated by Juninho Pernambucano in the championship match.[42]

He conceded only two goals in five matches as Brazil defeated Croatia, Australia, Japan, and Ghana before being eliminated by France in the quarterfinals, a match which saw the Verdeamarela manage only one shot on goal in the entire contest. Due to his consistent play in goal, Dida was one of few Seleção players to avoid the wrath of the Brazilian media and fans after the team's elimination. He was also the first Afro-Brazilian goalkeeper to start in the World Cup finals since Moacyr Barbosa in the 1950 competition; for this accomplishment, he was hailed as Dida, o homem que quebrou o tabu ("Dida, the man who broke the taboo").[43] He assumed the role of captain against Japan when regular skipper Cafu was rested for that match, thus becoming only the second Brazilian goalie ever to wear the armband since Emerson Leão in the 1978 World Cup.

Brazil's defeat by France ultimately became Dida's swan song. On 1 October 2006, Brazil coach Dunga announced during a television interview, "Dida told me that the Seleção is no longer a priority in his career."[44] Despite his World Cup heroics, he has not been called up for national team play since the July 2006 inception of Dunga, who had eschewed many of the veterans in favor of a predominantly younger roster for Brazil's post-World Cup matches.








Dida is a five-time nominee of the IFFHS World's Best Goalkeeper Award. He was also the first Brazilian keeper ever to be nominated for the Ballon d'Or, doing so twice in 2003 and 2005. On 15 January 2008, he was ranked 13th out of 70 nominees in IFFHS' All-Time World Goalkeeper Ranking from 1987 to 2007.[45]


  1. ^ a b c d "Player Profile: Dida".,21236,. 
  2. ^ "25 Questions 25 Answers: Dida". FIFA Magazine. January 2006. 
  3. ^ "Official site (Archived)". 
  4. ^
  5. ^ "Chilavert sets record on goalkeepers' day". Indian Express. 12 December 1999. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  6. ^ "Dida vs. Anelka, 2000 FIFA Club World Championship". YouTube. 
  7. ^ "Corinthians-Vasco penalty shoot-out, 2000 FIFA Club World Championship". YouTube. 
  8. ^ Phil Shaw (20 September 2000). "Football: Leeds feast on Dida's calamity". The Independent. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  9. ^ Dodgy keeper? - ESPN Soccernet, 4/7/06
  10. ^ "UEFA to probe Milan over Dida reports". Sky Sports. 29 October 2000.,19528,11863_2194418,00.html. 
  11. ^ "Milan keeper Dida handed suspended sentence". ABC News Australia. 2003-04-04. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  12. ^ "All-Italian final fails to stir Europe's media". 29 May 2003. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  13. ^ "AC Milan takes title; Leeds slide". Taipei Times. 4 May 2004. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  14. ^ "Milan derby halted after Dida hit by flare". 12 April 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  15. ^ "Milan game ended by crowd trouble". BBC Sport. 12 April 2005. Retrieved 22 March 2008.  (includes photo gallery)
  16. ^ "Inter handed stadium ban and fine". BBC Sport. 15 April 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  17. ^ "Parreira ups pressure on Dida". 6 February 2006. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  18. ^ "Spotlight: Stan the Man (Archived)". Football Italia. 16 October 2006. 
  19. ^ "Dida renews contract with AC Milan". International Herald Tribune. 10 March 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2008. 
  20. ^ "2007 CL Final Match Report". 23 May 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  21. ^ Kenny MacDonald (3 October 2007). "Milan won't appeal after Dida hit in Celtic win". Reuters. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  22. ^ "Dida gets two-match ban". 11 October 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  23. ^ Nadia Carminati (12 October 2007). "Milan to lodge Dida appeal". Sky Sports.,19528,11095_2795607,00.html. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  24. ^ "Galliani Happy To See Dida Ban Cut". 23 October 2007-. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  25. ^ "Dida UEFA ban reduced". 21 October 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  26. ^ "‘I’m desperate to sort out our away form’". The Herald. 5 December 2007. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  27. ^ "Dida, o primeiro bimundial da Fifa" (in Portuguese). 16 December 2007. 
  28. ^ A tale of records and revenge -, 12/10/08
  29. ^ Inter Milan rally to win city derby over AC Milan -, 12/23/07
  30. ^ Italian Soccer Serie A: Results Week 21: Fiorentina 0-1 Milan -, 2/3/08
  31. ^ "Team lineups". Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  32. ^ "Abbiati 'out for six months'". Football Italia. 15 March 2909. 
  33. ^ Report: Rene Higuita's Scorpion Kick Behind Milan 'Keeper Marco Storari's Injury -, 12/27/09
  34. ^ Pato settles five-goal thriller - ESPN Soccernet, 10/22/09
  35. ^ Serie A - Milan snatch win at Chievo - Yahoo! Eurosport, 10/25/09
  36. ^ Napoli 2-2 Milan - Football Italia, 10/28/09
  37. ^ Samp swoop for Milan's Storari -, 1/15/10
  38. ^ "Nelson de Jesús Silva "Dida" - International Appearances". Retrieved 1 June 2009. 
  39. ^ Brazil "march on as Argentina's penalty jinx continues". 12 July 1999. Brazil. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  40. ^ "Mexico beat Brazil to reach semis". BBC Sport. 19 June 2005. Retrieved 13 October 2008. 
  41. ^ South Africa 2009 in numbers -, 6/12/09
  42. ^ "Zebra no ping-pong brasileiro" (in Portuguese). 3 June 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  43. ^ "Dida, o homem que quebrou o tabu" (in Portuguese). GloboEsporte. July 2006.,,AA1291817-4840,00.html. Retrieved 14 October 2008. 
  44. ^ "Dida calls it a day for Brazil". New Zealand Herald. 29 December 2006. Retrieved 22 March 2008. 
  45. ^ "All-Time World Goalkeeper Ranking (1987-2007)". 15 January 2008. Retrieved 14 October 2008. 

External links

Preceded by
FIFPro Goalkeeper of the Year
Succeeded by
Gianluigi Buffon


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