Diogo Luis Santos
Diogo started his career at Atlético-MG, before making a transfer to São Paulo based club Portuguesa as an 18 year old in 2005. Three years later he made a widely-publicised move to Greek outfit Olympiakos FC. His strengths as a player include his flair, as well as an excellent jumping and heading ability.
Diogo made an impressive name of himself at Portuguesa, first breaking through into the first-team in 2007. He made a large contribution in aiding the team to the Brazilian state 1st division with 18 goals in 28 games. It was this form which initially prompted the Brazilian Under-20 coach Nelson Rodrigues to include Diogo in his team, having already played in previous national youth teams. In the 2008 season, Diogo had his first taste of top-flight football with Portuguesa and began the season in very good form with 6 goals in 13 games.
Diogo was also set to be in Brazil's 2008 Olympic football squad, however an injury forced him out.
Links of a move to Europe
In July 2008, several teams had been attracted to Diogo's talents, including Arsenal FC, Olympiakos FC, CSKA Moscow, AC Fiorentina, etc.
Diogo had revealed his desire to play in Europe, after long-term admirers Arsenal were joined by Fiorentina in bidding for the Brazil Under 21 International. Diogo had been monitored by Arsenal's scouting department for more than two years and the club have tried three times to sign him, failing on all three occasions. This included a £9 million bid in July 2008, rejected by Portuguesa. Arsene Wenger had also publicly stated that he had tried to sign Diogo once as a 16 year old. Italian side Fiorentina also made a bid for Diogo, but their advances were also turned down. Olympiakos FC also became interested, and in a widely-documented and somewhat controversial period of negotiation, Diogo finally signed for the Greek team in August 2008 for 9 million Euro, with Olympiakos owning 70% of the players rights.
Transfer to Olympiakos F.C.
After nearly two months of negotiations, on August 17, 2008 Portuguesa accepted an offer of around €9,000,000 from Olympiakos FC, who had two previous bids turned down. Portuguesa had similar offers from Russian clubs but Diogo was adamant he was going to Greece and stressed his desire to only make a move to Olympiakos FC. Arriving in Athens on Aug 19, 2008 he passed his medical the following day and on Aug 21, 2008 Greek champions Olympiakos announced that they had signed the Brazilian striker on a five-year contract from Portuguesa with the player earning a reported 1.2 million euros annually. The capture of the forward represented a major coup for Olympiakos with Diogo rated as one of Brazil's best prospects. "I am happy that I have come to play for a major club like Olympiakos. I will do my best to satisfy the club's administration and supporters," Diogo said.
Diogo made his debut for Olympiakos in a 3-1 win over Asteras Tripolis FC on 31 August 2008. He scored his first league goal for the club against Skoda Xanthi FC. Further goals followed against AEK and PAOK, which gave him a reputation amongst fans of being a big-game player. Diogo also showcased his good heading ability, scoring many of his goals from headers.
Diogo scored twice in the UEFA Cup 2008-09 1st round 5-0 home leg win against FC Nordsjælland and a further two impressive goals in the Group Phase 5-1 home win against SL Benfica. His two goals against Benfica showed his quality to a wider audience, and heightened rumours of a big-money move abroad in the Greek press.