Tuesday, July 19, 2011
Diego, Wolfsburg Outcast and Former Juventus Player: What Happened?
He arrived at Juventus full of passion, quickly became popular with the fans (and still is to some extent today) he made his debut in the Serie A against Chievo and grabbed an assist in his first game, going on to score a double against Roma not long after.
It all seemed to be going well for Diego, the Brazilian trio of Amauri, Melo and himself were working well together, Juventus were sitting top of the table in Italy (undefeated).
A loss to Napoli triggered a bad slump in form for the Bianconeri and just months later they were down 4-1 in a Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.
Out of the Champions League, sitting poorly on the table and having a host of players out saw Diego pushed to a central forward role for Juventus. Although he scored a few more goals for Juventus, they would not qualify for the Champions League for 2010/2011.
Diego's last game for Juve proved to be a 3-0 loss against Milan. Although Juventus had one of their worst seasons in the history of the club, Diego didn't fully disappoint. Fans agreed he needed a season to settle in at Juve and didn't do too badly in comparison to the performances of some of the other signings (Felipe Melo most noticeably).
After spending big in the 2010 transfer season again, Juventus surprisingly decided to part ways with the Brazilian central attacking midfielder, selling him to German side Wolfsburg in a move that would see him return to the league that made him one of Europe's most feared attackers.
The fee of €15.5 million was a record for Wolfsburg, but proved to be a €9 million loss for Juventus. Much was made in the media of Juventus' treatment of Diego, many questioned whether Juventus really understood the potential of the player they had at hand, especially because it was only his first season in the Serie A.
He continued to shine in a below-average Wolfsburg side, who had come to the conclusion that they were fighting to stay in the Bundesliga, rather than contest the title as they so brilliantly did the year before.
On the Feb. 5, 2011, Diego won a penalty in a league match, that ultimately proved to decide the future of Steve McClaren. Instead of allowing the designated penalty taker (Patrick Helmes) to step up and attempt to convert, Diego subsequently hit the crossbar and Wolfsburg went on to lose the match by a single goal.
He was fined and dropped for his actions, and from here Diego never really got another look into the squad. A combination of not following team orders off the field and not being given any playing time have seen him dropped to the fringes of the squad, in essence looking for a new club.
So where to now for this talented player? A stay at Wolfsburg isn't on the cards, but a return to Brazil? Perhaps. Many clubs have tried to lure him away from Wolfsburg, including Malaga and a couple of Premier League sides (Aston Villa and Liverpool); whether it will eventuate into anything will be determined in the coming weeks.
One thing is for certain though, Diego's great talent will go to waste if he cannot secure a transfer to a club that needs him equally as much as he needs them.