Striker Diego Tardelli was introduced this Friday as a new reinforcement by Santos. He received the jersey 99 from football executive André Mazzuco. The contract is until the end of this season, with the possibility of extension for the end of the 2022 São Paulo Championship.
Upon arrival, the player highlighted that he hopes to end an unresolved history with the club. He played in the youth divisions in 2000, but was fired after trying to steal a chocolate milk from the cafeteria.
– It’s an honor to wear this shirt. It’s a very big privilege. Several idols passed through here. And to be able to continue my story that was left behind. An unresolved story since 2000, and now having the opportunity to wear the Santos T-shirt. I arrive very motivated, happy. I hope to honor it in the best possible way. To score goals and win titles, which has always been my goal, and I won many during my career – said Tardelli.
Still on the episode that resulted in the dismissal by Santos, more than 20 years ago, the striker said he regretted the outcome. Even more after he accompanied former club mates being Brazilian champions in 2002.
– I was ready for that 2002 generation that was Brazilian champion. And for an oversight, a joke, a 15 year old thing. There was this episode of chocolate milk, which was marked at the time, it was funny. But, unfortunately, the biggest loser was me. I was sad afterwards because I saw that most of the players I worked with in 2000, in 2002 were Brazilian champions. I could be part of that team. But fate wanted to bring me here again to continue my story at Santos – commented the player.
According to the athlete, the expectation is to return to acting in a maximum of two weeks, with the debut scheduled to take place between the game against Bahia, for the Brazilian Championship, and the match against Athletico, for the Copa do Brasil. Asked what role he will play on the field, he preferred to leave it to coach Fernando Diniz.
– I had this conversation with Diniz right after my arrival on Saturday. He asked where I felt most comfortable playing. He knows my characteristic in the field. I’m a player who likes to move a lot. Despite playing 9, I have this facility to get behind, to create plays. I leave that to Diniz. We get to know each other on the field, in training. But I feel very comfortable. Wherever he prefers, with me being well physically, I don’t think there’s this problem. In the clubs I played, I was center forward, left winger, right winger. I even played halfway through – evaluated Diego Tardelli.
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Diego Tardelli is presented by football executive André Mazzuco — Photo: Divulgação/Santos FC
Check out other excerpts from the press conference:
Reinforced attack and how far to reach the Brazilian Championship
– Léo (Baptistão), Marinho, with my arrival, we hope to elevate the Santos squad even more. I believe it will make a difference. I’m sure we’ll help each other a lot on the field. With me, from my experience. Leo is also an experienced player. Marino is recovering and can help us too. Santos have a very young group. I couldn’t do training with the whole team, but on a daily basis you can feel that it is a very young team, that it is on the right path. Diniz is giving a different idea, and we have to believe, focus, climb the table, which is the most important thing. Santos need to win again, have a streak of victories to give these players confidence, for me as I’m coming, for Léo. I’m sure we’ll be successful until the end of the Brazilian Championship.
– Marinho is a great friend I’ve had since I was at Grêmio, even before. Before coming to Santos I talked to several people. I spoke with Nilmar, with Leandro Donizete, with Marinho the day before I arrived. It was just positive things. He was super supportive of my coming. Just like Diniz, who we had a call two or three days before my arrival. Marinho has his story here, he’s an important player. It’s good for us to get these references, to find out more about Santos, the moment we are, behind the scenes, the group. Marinho passed it to me and I didn’t think twice.
See 10 goals from Diego Tardelli
Attack competition and coach confidence
– Diniz was fundamental in my coming here. This love affair with Santos is not new. I was asked several times when I was at Atlético-MG and in China. With Diniz’s call it made it much easier. He gave me the idea and the desire to work with me, and vice versa because I wanted to work with him because of the good work he did. It was a very good and quick conversation. I spent my desire to return to playing football in Brazil. After I left Atlético-MG I was thinking completely different. When Santos and Diniz’s conversation came, it reinforced my coming here. I really admire his work. Thank you for the opportunity to work with him. I hope we can be very successful here. I hope he can win again to have peace of mind during the Brazilian Championship and the Copa do Brasil.
Passing experience to younger players
– Time passes, but thank God I feel like a boy just like them on the field. Those of us who are more experienced, experienced in football, only have to add. Pass a little bit of our experience. They look up to us a lot. I’ve had contact with some players there, they always ask questions. It’s cool to be that reference, to be able to have this leadership in such a young group. I’m here to help you with whatever you need. You can count on me on and off the field. I hope to help the Santos youth in the best way possible.
Diego Tardelli at Santos training at CT Rei Pelé — Photo: Ivan Storti/Santos FC
– The only thing I thought is to be acting. I wanted to play football again. I had a slightly different, strange departure from Atlético-MG. But I saw myself in full condition to help the team at that moment. When he painted Santos I didn’t think about anything else. I didn’t think about salary, contract time, productivity, whatever. I wanted to be here so I could show my value. Show that I’m still able to do a lot in football. I am capable of defining a match, scoring goals. Now is letting things happen. I have complete confidence in myself. I believe in my work, in my potential. At first it’s a short contract, but I’m sure it will be extended during the games that pass. I’m preparing a lot for this moment. I feel very motivated and I hope to stay at Santos, win titles, be able to make my name here.
Willingness to play football and injuries
– I’m an athlete who takes care of myself a lot. I take care of my body, my food. I don’t have this weight problem. I know I’m 36 years old and that I need to do my jobs every day, my reinforcements. Unfortunately, 2020 was a very difficult year with my ankle injury, when I lost seven months. It was the only injury I had. Sometimes I see people commenting that Tardelli is a guy who has a lot of injuries and he isn’t. It’s a lie. The only injury I had was my ankle, which was a “tragedy”. It wasn’t in the plans. And due to the downtime, I had a posterior injury, which is normal, and that’s it. More important is taking care of me. I know how far I can go, I know I can surrender a lot with this body of mine, with my preparation. And let’s go! I’m doing everything I can to get in shape as quickly as possible. I work day by day on what has to be done. And I’m sure it will work out very well. Santos are a young team, which will help me even more on the field. A team that runs, moves a lot. It has everything to be a good idea
– At the moment I didn’t think about anything, not even salary. I had a brilliant career and I feel very resolved in this part. The focus was to return to playing at a high level, being in a big team, with weight, with a shirt like Santos. That’s why I didn’t think twice and I’m sure I made the right choice.
Who was your reference in football
– There were several athletes who helped me a lot when I arrived. In São Paulo there was Rogério Ceni, Luis Fabiano. At Atlético-MG, Ricardinho. We look up and watch what older people do to acquire and keep. The only thing I can do is help the younger ones on the field with a conversation, a piece of advice at the right time, a joke. There will be time for everything. I don’t have the profile of being a leader on the field, but my story is very respected. The only thing I can say is that we’ll get along really well here.
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