By Chris Wright
Read any Djalminha retrospective and the same words seem to crop up; brilliant, mercurial, elusive, tumultuous, profligate, turbulent – and it’s little wonder why.
Having intermittently illuminated Spanish football with his extrovert brand of grace and skill after arriving at Deportivo La Coruna in 1997 (including a starring role in their title-winning side of 1999/2000), Djalminha looked a shoe-in for a spot in Brazil’s 2002 World Cup squad right up until he pressed the self-destruct button two days before Phil Scolari was due to announce his final draft – headbutting Deportivo coach Javier Irureta during a training ground scuffle.
Djalminha rather unsurprisingly missed the cut, the Selecao won the tournament.
By way of ‘punishment’ for his insolence, the following season he was