Denílson Pereira Neves, known as Denílson, is a Brazilian footballer who currently plays for Sliema Wanderers. Denilson mainly features as a central midfielder who at times can also play in the role of defensive midfielder. He is also a former youth captain of Brazil. Born in São Paulo, Brazil, Denílson is the second of four sons born to José Neves and Luciene Pereira. His father José is a former midfielder at Botafogo-PB in Northeast Brazil. However, he was forced to quit football in order to support his family. Denílson and his family survived extreme poverty as his parents struggled to raise him and his brothers in the dangerous favelas of São Paulo. Many of Denílson’s childhood friends have since died due to their involvement in the drug trade.

Match Worn & Signed Boots

Sao Paulo F.C.

Did you Know?

He started his career at São Paulo, where he was part of the side that won the 2005 Copa Libertadores and the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup. However, he was underutilized for São Paulo FC, having only made twelve appearances for the club, eight of those coming off the substitutes’ bench. Denílson returned to former club São Paulo on loan for the 2011–12 season after confirming he was to leave Arsenal earlier in the summer. His number 15 squad number at Arsenal was given to new signing Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the 2011–12 season. Denílson was sent off twice in his first three matches, with the latter of the red cards coming after he swore at a referee. Denílson thereafter received a number of angry messages in response to his playing upon Twitter. He then in response described the fans of whom spoke adversely about then São Paulo head coach Adílson Batista as being ‘very, very annoying’. Denílson also claimed that he did not mean for his comments to be taken in a negative way towards all of the fans of the club. This was followed by a row of which ensued to such a level that several supporters demanded that Denílson was never to play for São Paulo again. On 6 October, he scored his first goal whilst upon loan, a long range strike for São Paulo against Palmeiras in a Brazilian Serie A game. Denilson was instrumental in Sao Paulo getting to the final of 2012’s Copa Sudamericana where in the second leg of such Club Atlético Tigre refused to play the match in its entirety. As so Sao Paulo went on to victoriously lift the trophy with Denilson copping a winners medal altogether. On 3 June 2013, Denílson’s agent confirmed that both Arsenal and Denílson had agreed to terminate his contract by mutual consent. On 14 June 2013, Denílson signed a four-year contract with São Paulo. His transfer was praised by Ney Franco.

Things to Know:

Denílson has played for and captained Brazil at every junior level since he was a member of the under-15 squad. He captained the U17s to a runners-up spot at the 2005 FIFA U-17 World Championship. In November 2006, Denílson was called up to the Brazilian national side for a friendly match against Switzerland to replace his Arsenal team mate Gilberto Silva who pulled out for personal reasons. However, he did not make his debut, as he was an unused substitute in the match. Denílson is described as “very quiet and polite” and is often compared to Gilberto Silva, his former teammate at Arsenal. Denílson often credits Gilberto Silva with his current success as he acted as a “father” to him when he first moved from Brazil to London. Denílson is fond of Brazilian music and the samba—he can even be found on YouTube singing and dancing with his former Brazilian Arsenal teammates Gilberto Silva and Júlio Baptista. He typically celebrates his goals by going to the corner flag and dancing a samba in front of fans, which he did when he scored his first Premier League goal for Arsenal. He is also married, and has a son from his marriage. Denílson is also a fan of Arsenal.