Donato Gama da Silva
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|Full name||Donato Gama da Silva|
|Date of birth||30 December 1962|
|Place of birth||Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
|Height||1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|Playing position||Centre-back / Midfielder|
|1983–1988||Vasco da Gama||49||(0)|
|1993–2003||Deportivo La Coruña||303||(38)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He spent most of his professional career in Spain – 15 years and more than 500 official games – most notably with Deportivo de La Coruña, being part of the Super Depor squads that won several major titles, including the 2000 La Liga championship.
Having started his career as a central midfielder, Donato finished it as a central defender at almost 41. He was a strong but technical player, who was able both to destroy the opposition's attacks and to help generate his own team's.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Donato began his 20-year professional career with America Football Club in his hometown, switching to neighbours CR Vasco da Gama in 1984 and playing there for the following four years, after which he joined Spain's Atlético Madrid as one of the first signings of elusive chairman Jesús Gil. With the Colchoneros, he won back-to-back Copa del Rey trophies.
Donato moved to Deportivo de La Coruña in 1993: alongside players like Bebeto, Mauro Silva, Miroslav Đukić and Fran, he was crucial to the team's firm establishment in both La Liga and European competitions, as he scored an impressive 18 league goals in his first two seasons combined, often from free kicks, one of his main assets. He continued to feature heavily for the Galicians in the following years, helping the club win two domestic cups and the historical 1999–2000 national championship (netting three times in 29 games).
In 2002, Donato broke a 43-year-old record by becoming the oldest goalscorer in Spanish top flight history. He also held the record for the most matches played in the country's top level by a player born outside of Spain, with 466 in 15 seasons.
After becoming a citizen of Spain in 1990, Donato was called to the national team, and earned 12 caps in a two-year span. His debut arrived on 16 November 1994, starting and scoring in a 3–0 UEFA Euro 1996 qualifier win against Denmark at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium.
|1.||16 November 1994||Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville, Spain||Denmark||2–0||3–0||Euro 1996 qualifying|
|2.||17 December 1994||Constant Vanden Stock, Brussels, Belgium||Belgium||1–2||1–4||Euro 1996 qualifying|
|3.||18 January 1995||Riazor, A Coruña, Spain||Uruguay||2–2||2–2||Friendly|
- ¿Quién jubila al abuelo? (Who retires grandpa?); El País, 30 December 2002 (in Spanish)
- "El fútbol y la 'españolía'" [Football and ‘Spanishness’] (in Spanish). El País. 29 October 2013. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- "Los 11 jugadores nacidos fuera de España con más partidos" [The 11 players born outside of Spain with the most matches] (in Spanish). Diario AS. 5 September 2016. Retrieved 28 December 2016.
- Gil presenta a Donato ante el Werder Bremen (Gil presents Donato against Werder Bremen); El País, 31 August 1988 (in Spanish)
- El bando de Gil (Gil's posse); El País, 7 April 1993 (in Spanish)
- El Mallorca, finalista elemplar (Mallorca, the perfect finalists); Mundo Deportivo, 30 June 1991 (in Spanish)
- El chueco de cobre (The copper chueco); El País, 8 May 1995 (in Spanish)
- Una noche que duró seis años (One night that lasted six years); El País, 20 May 2000 (in Spanish)
- Donato passes test of time; UEFA, 23 January 2003
- Donato Gama da Silva: ´Quiero dar muchos pasos y llegar hasta Primera División´ (Donato Gama da Silva: ´I want to take many steps and reach Primera División´); La Opinión A Coruña, 19 November 2008 (in Spanish)
- Donato regresa al fútbol y asume las riendas del Viveiro (Donato returns to football and takes charge of Viveiro); La Voz de Galicia, 5 November 2015 (in Spanish)
- El jugador del Atlético Donato jura la Constitución española (Atlético player Donato swears Spanish Constitution); El País, 7 September 1990 (in Spanish)
- Clemente abre las puertas a los nacionalizados (Clemente opens doors to naturalized); El País, 8 November 1994 (in Spanish)
- España pone proa hacia Inglaterra (Spain hoist sail towards England); Mundo Deportivo, 17 November 1994 (in Spanish)
- "Mediocre debut" [Mediocre debut] (in Spanish). Mundo Deportivo. 10 June 1996. Retrieved 30 May 2015.
- Supertítulo (Supertitle); Mundo Deportivo, 28 June 1995 (in Spanish)