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This name uses Portuguese naming customs. The first or maternal family name is Dos Santos and the second or paternal family name is Leite.
Personal information
Full name Rodrigo Izecson dos Santos Leite
Date of birth (1985-10-14) 14 October 1985 (age 29)
Place of birth Brasília, Brazil
Height 1.94 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Centre back
Youth career
2003–2004 São Paulo
2004–2005 Sampdoria
2004–2005 Milan (loan)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2005–2011 Milan 1 (0)
2005–2007 Rimini (loan) 23 (0)
2008–2009 Standard Liège (loan) 1 (0)
2009–2010 Lecce (loan) 2 (0)
2010 Crotone (loan) 0 (0)
2010–2011 Penafiel (loan) 11 (0)
2012–2013 New York Red Bulls 0 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 1 July 2011.
† Appearances (Goals).

Rodrigo Izecson dos Santos Leite (born 14 October 1985), commonly known as Digão (Portuguese pronunciation: [dʒiˈɡɐ̃w]), is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a central defender.

After signing with A.C. Milan at the age of 19, he spent several years on loans with various teams, mainly in Italy.

Club career[edit]

Born in Brasília, Digão joined A.C. Milan from São Paulo FC in the summer of 2004,[1] loaned by another club in Italy, U.C. Sampdoria until the summer of 2005.[2] He went on to spend the following two seasons on loan to Rimini Calcio.

Returning to Milan in the summer of 2007, Digão made his debut in a friendly match against FC Dynamo Kyiv on 6 September, in which he received a yellow card. His first competitive appearance came on 20 December 2007 in Milan's 1–2 home defeat against Calcio Catania in the first leg of the Italian Cup's round-of-16; he eventually made his Serie A debut on 1 March 2008 in a 1–1 home draw against S.S. Lazio, coming on as a half-time substitute for Marek Jankulovski in his only appearance of the season.[3]

On 13 August 2008, Belgium's Standard Liège secured Digão's services on a one-year loan.[4] He only appeared in a single first division match for the club, coming on as a late substitute in the side's 3–1 win at home against K.F.C. Germinal Beerschot on 5 April 2009, and returned to Milan at the end of the campaign.

On 11 July 2009, Digão was handed a one-week trial with newly promoted Bundesliga side SC Freiburg, joining the team in the pre-season training camp in Schruns, Austria and playing 30 minutes in a friendly with Slavia Prague.[5] On 22 July, however, the Germans decided not to sign the player, presumably because of his lack of playing time in competitive games over the last two seasons.

On 31 August 2009, Digão joined Serie B club U.S. Lecce on loan for the season. However, on 1 February 2010, he was called back due to lack of playing time, and subsequently sent on another loan spell to F.C. Crotone for the remainder of the campaign.[6]

In 2010–11 another loan ensued, with Digão moving to F.C. Penafiel in the Portuguese second division. He left after appearing in only one third of the league's matches, and was also released by Milan.[7]

In September 2012, it was reported that Digão was training with the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer. After a week-long trial, he impressed head coach Hans Backe with his physical prowess and ability to play technically out of the backline, and earned a contract;[8] however, on 19 July 2013, he cancelled his link by mutual agreement.[9]

International career[edit]

In 2008, according to newspaper O Globo, Digão was one of 74 players who could be called up by manager Dunga for his 2008 Summer Olympics squad.[10] He eventually did not make the final list.

Personal life[edit]

Digão's older brother, Kaká, is also a footballer. An attacking midfielder, he also played for São Paulo and Milan, also spending several seasons in Spain with Real Madrid. A Brazilian international on nearly 90 occasions, he helped the national team win the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

Digão was responsible for his sibling's nickname: being unable to pronounce 'Ricardo' properly as a child, he used to call his older brother 'Kaká' instead.[11]

Eduardo Delani, a footballer who played for several teams, is their double-first cousin. His father is the brother of their father, and his mother the sister of their mother.


  1. ^ Lega Calcio transfer list at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Lega Calcio transfer list at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Milan 1–1 Lazio: Rossoneri distracted by Champions League, poor show at the San Siro (Serie A matchday 26)". MCalcio. 1 March 2008. Retrieved 8 July 2014. 
  4. ^ "Royal Standard de Liège: Nouvelles – Digao" [Royal Standard de Liège: News – Digao] (in French). Standard Liège. 18 August 2008. Retrieved 30 May 2009. 
  5. ^ Remis gegen Slavia Prag (Remis against Slavia Prague); Freiburg's official website (German)
  6. ^ Salvatore Landolina (1 February 2010). "Official: Kaka's brother Digao leaves Milan to join Serie B side Crotone on loan". Goal.com. Retrieved 2 February 2010. 
  7. ^ Jorge Franclim (6 July 2010). "Irmão de Kaká (Real Madrid) emprestado ao Penafiel" [Kaká's brother (Real Madrid) loaned to Penafiel] (in Portuguese). Mais Futebol. Archived from the original on 8 August 2010. Retrieved 8 August 2010. 
  8. ^ Kristian R Dyer (15 September 2012). "Kaká's brother (Real Madrid) signes for New York Red Bulls". Big Apple Soccer. Archived from the original on 15 September 2012. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  9. ^ "Red Bulls reach mutual agreement to cancel contract for defender Digão". New York Red Bulls. 19 July 2013. Retrieved 19 July 2013. 
  10. ^ "Digão entra em pré-lista olímpica de Dunga, diz jornal" [Digão makes Dunga's olympic pre-list, says newspaper] (in Portuguese). UOL Olimpíadas 2008. 17 May 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Guilherme Aquino (28 September 2004). "Digão, o irmão de Kaká, também quer brilhar no Milan" [Digão, Kaká's brother, also wants to shine with Milan] (in Portuguese). BBC Brasil. Retrieved 17 February 2009. 

External links[edit]