The Thin, Wild Mercury Genius Of Djalminha

Chris Wright

27th, August 2011


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 extradited on loan to Austria – a self-inflicted footballing sabbatical which proved to be the beginning of the end.

Feeling his age (he was 33/34) after a year in the wilderness, Djalminha fled for Mexico in 2004 with Club America, but retired after one season in Mexico City having played just a handful of games due to his continually lapse fitness – and that, as they say, was that.

It all seemed so transient but, for a spell at the turn of the 21st century, Djalminha – Deportivo’s artist in residence – glowed with a nigh-on unparallelled fluorescent shimmer, before falling apart at the hands of his own barely-concealed temperamental imbalance and fading almost entirely from memory.

That said, Djalminha’s brief flirtation with greatness was living testament to the fact that, while a strain of genius like his doesn’t necessarily need to be flawed to prevail, it’s so much more exciting when it is….

Suggested further reading/viewing…

Vision And Finesse: Michael Laudrup
Ronaldo’s 62 Brazil Goals In The Space Of Four Minutes
Thierry Henry’s 226 Arsenal Goals In The Space Of 14 Minutes

Posted in Featured, Retro, Videos

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  1. MGJ says:

    I saw him at Depor many times and he was such a talent. He added so much to our creative flair. So sad that he was just mentally unstable.

  2. Lukass says:

    What a legend,best of the bunch in a fantastic Deportivo team,my fav Spanish team of all time… Quite a few others from the Super Depor generation should feature in these posts… Valeron anyone?

  3. Sex God says:

    Ah yes, Djalminha.

    A true future potential Sex God understudy.

  4. Jay says:

    Simply Awesome. Thank you Pies! Had no idea who this guy was! Have never felt so happy after watching a footy compilation, since the Michael Laudrup vid you posted!! Love Pies!!

    ps-Shades of Jermaine Beckford from afar in the face department?

    Djalminha seemed to really enjoy his goals and played with such brilliant school boy flair……Sad to hear about his illness….Hope he’s doing ok now. He should come back for some Legends matches!

    He’s like the original Rivaldo,lol.

  5. Nick Wiper says:

    Incredible skill, his fake passes, rabona’s and goals. How hadn’t I heard of this guy!? Thank you for opening my eyes pies :)

  6. Nick says:

    Djalminha briefly shone as my favourite player in the world, and award not lightly given out, and highly prized within the footballing community. I think it was a throw-back to my love of Denilson, similarly gifted, similarly troubled, and playing for a similarly unfashionable team in Spain.
    It really isn’t often that one player drags a team up to another level, but he really did, and I’d love to have seen him strutting his stuff in the Premiership

  7. Gary Barlow says:

    Great player, great post and no shit music for the You Tube video.

  8. :) says:

    i love what’s he doing after he passes to his team-mate at about 2.15ish

  9. Troll God says:

    Not a worthy Troll God understudy.

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