FOOTBALL – Extraordinary moves of Denilson, the step-over king - The Solihull Observer

FOOTBALL – Extraordinary moves of Denilson, the step-over king

Solihull Editorial 20th Dec, 2023   0

Denilson de Oliveira Araujo, known as Denilson, is seen as a remarkable football player due to his unpredictable moves. Representing Brazil for its national team, Denilson is known as an icon for green and gold football.

The talented football player was born in Brazil in 1977. He has acquired 60 cups for Brazil and played for the national team six times. He was successful in his full debut before turning 20.

He was even selected to join the World Cup squad in 1998, which they lost. But then, he was picked again as a substitute player for Brazil’s national team for the FIFA World Cup 2002 and helped them win the game.

Early debut

Debuted as Sao Paulo’s team at 17 years old, Denilson had played more than 190 times in its name. A year before playing in the FIFA World Cup season 1998, Denilson was chosen to be in the team playing in Copa America and the FIFA Confederation Cup.




Denilson’s career was unpredictable as he has transferred to many clubs across countries and continents. He travelled from club to club in Europe to Asia – France to Saudi Arabia, and back to Europe – Vietnam to Greece.

He managed to be one of the most expensive footballers in 1998 as he transferred to Real Betis for £21.5 million worth, breaking the world-record transfer fee for that period. He played more than 195 times for the team as a midfielder. Seven years in Real Betis made him remembered most as its team by the Brazilians.


French club Bordeaux in 2005 and Vietnamese club Hải Phòng F.C. in 2009 were the other prominent markings Denilson joined within his club transfers history. In January 2010, Athlītikos Omilos Kavala was the latest team he joined before he had a break for almost 13 years.

Signature style

Denilson is very well known for his dribbling technique. Being left-footed brought him a fortune. He can physically deceive his opponents using his fast-moving-foot skills or so-called step-over. He stepped over the ball while leading in a very ambiguous way that the opponent could not predict where to go. His moves were so beautiful. People felt amused watching him play.

However, Denilson was infamous for his front goal. Added to the lack of his right foot, Denilson once prolonged his dribbling tricks when he was supposed to do a shot or cross. He did his famous step-overs more and eventually got into trouble.

Due to his past lack of tactical discipline and his tendency to relent to his instinct to dribble, some teams eventually avoided hiring him in later days. Roma team’s coach, Zdenek Zeman, once said, “Denilson? We don’t need a linesman.

Football expert Tim Vickery suggested that Denilson might have lost his touch because “he believed all the hype about himself, thought that he was well on the way to being crowned the world’s best player, and when he saw that it wasn’t going to happen he lost momentum.”

The later days of his footballing career might have been in a slump, but the footballer always has a place in the hearts of football lovers. He has always been an entertaining skillful footballer for the spectators. People loved witnessing his tricks as he was crowned the step-over king.

After his long hiatus, Denilson made a shocking move to be back in the field at the age of 44. He joined the worst club in the world, Ibis, in March 2022 and retired again less than a month later.

Denilson is now a sports commentator for Rede Bandeirantes, also on the TV show Jogo Aberto. He was also appointed as the global ambassador of online casino and sportsbook operator Sportsbet.io in 2019. Joe McCallum, Director of Sportsbook, Sportsbet.io, said that Denilson remains “one of the most famous faces in football, remembered for his wizardry on the pitch and winning the ultimate prize in the famous yellow shirt of Brazil.”

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