(Based on an article published in O GLOBO newspaper.
Interview given by Dida to Marcos Penido.
Translated by Garrincha)
The name Dida
was been written in Brazilian Football history for decades
: In the 50s/60s, Dida was a lethal striker who played for Flamengo. Today, that name is shining through the safe hands of a 'baiano'
who's writing his name on the pages of world football. The Brazilian keeper is on the list of 50 players nominated for this year's "Ballon D'or". Many Brazucas already won that prize, like Ronaldo; but this is the first time a Brazilian goalie was included in that list.
Dida himself acknowledges that his path was opened by a shining predecessor, Taffarel
. The Milan keeper sees his old Seleçao teammate (who he watched from the bench in WC 98)
as the pioneer who made European football take Brazilian keepers seriously.
The same calm and focused style he displays on the pitch is seen on interviews. Dida thinks a lot before answering and tries to be objective with his answers. The hardest in trying to make him talk about himself:
– I'm a shy and withdrawn person. I like working, and I like it when the fruit of that labor is seen on the field. I don't have to talk about myself, I just have to show my value.
In Milan, Dida has been "showing his value", just as he does with the Brazilian NT. He was signed from Cruzeiro in february 1999; but the time for registrations in the Serie A had finished in january, so he was loaned to Lugano (from Switzerland)
, then loaned back to Corinthians. At the end of that year, his return to Milan was compromised by the scandal of false passports. He spent two more years in Corinthians, conquering several trophies (among them, the 99 Brazilian championship and the 2000 World Club Cup)
. And through all that time he couldn't forget Milan.
When he did return, with a four-year contract, he knew it was the decisive moment of his career. And he's grateful to Milan's manager, Ancelotti:
– On the 2nd half of a Milan game, I came in for Abbiatti. I did well and Ancelotti allowed me to stay. I'm thankful because I consider Abbiatti a great goalie.
Yes, when the subject is other keepers, Dida feels confortable and talks with more ease; he spreads compliments all around. Among Brazilian keepers his biggest praise goes to the man who may be Dida's greatest rival in the fight for Brazil's #1 shirt: Marcos
, 2002 World Champion.
– Marcos was the finest goalie in WC 2002 – he says, completely ignoring the german Kahn, who was elected by FIFA as the best player on the tournament.
The german definitely doesn't enter Dida's list of the best keepers of the world. Without including himself, he lists the three best goalkeepers in the world today:
– I like Buffon, Marcos and Casillas. – he states, after thinking carefully for a couple of minutes.
And when he's asked why he's not in the list, he gets shy and defensive again:
– I am the best at nothing. I work hard to give the best performances possible and conquer as many trophies as I can. I only believe in work.
Even the reputation of "penalty specialist", which follows him since his days at Corinthians, is cast aside by Dida:
– It's good to have that fame. Catching penalties is just a part of the game, but I work at all the other fundamentals too, and in the end the most important part is being concentrated on the game. Concentration is everything.
With the same objectivity, Dida has no doubts about the outcome of the Ballon D'or:
– I have no chance of winning. There's a lot of excellent players on that list. But it's an honor to be nominated.
The National Team coach, Parreira, agrees with the nomination and praises his current starter:
– Dida doesn't get unsettled when he suffers a goal, and he's an extremely qualified goalkeeper.
To which Dida answers:
– I'd like to be in the team on WC 2006. It's still far away and a lot can happen. But it's a trophy that would make me very happy. Of course, you can never have too many trophies.
And he closes the interview by defining himself:
– When you write about me just say this: I'm easy-going. And that's it.