Giovanni Silva de Oliveira
Giovanni with Olympiacos (1999)
|Full name||Giovanni Silva de Oliveirra|
|Date of birth||February 4, 1972|
|Place of birth||Abaetetuba, Brasil|
|Height||1.91 m (6 ft 3 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking Midfielder|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
Giovanni Silva de Oliveira (born February 4, 1972 in Abaetetuba), better known as Giovanni, is a retired football player from Brazil and currently a scout for Olympiacos. His natural and favorite position was that of attacking midfielder, but he could also play as a forward, being an exceptional goalscorer. He was known for his world-class technique, his exceptional dribbling and variety of crafty moves, his outstanding creativity, as well as his passing and scoring ability. He played (most notably) for FC Barcelona, Olympiacos F.C. and Santos. Internationally, he played for the Brazilian national team, gaining 20 caps and scoring 6 goals.
In his prime, he was one of Barcelona's most valuable players, but after the arrival of Louis van Gaal at the club, he got into conflict with the Dutch manager, along with fellow Brazilians Rivaldo (whom van Gaal wanted to use as left winger, despite his protests) and Sonny Anderson. He famously called van Gaal "a Hitler for Brazilians, and an egomaniac". At Olympiacos Giovanni had the happiest and most successful days of his career, and is still remembered as a club legend by supporters.
Career in Brazil
Pelé himself paid for his transfer, and proclaimed him the "new Pelé".
In his first season he scored in just over half of the games he played, while in his second he notched 25 goals in 19 games. The peak of his career wearing Pelé's number 10 jersey was when he led Santos to the second place in the Brazilian Championship. In the semi-finals against Fluminense, Santos lost 4–1 in the first leg away, and Giovanni dyed his hair red to show faith in the team.
He displayed a splendid game in the second leg and Santos managed to win 5–2, with Giovanni scoring twice and assisting on the final Marcelo Passos goal. Unfortunately, he could not help Santos overcome Botafogo in the final game. Nonetheless, he is still known to many Santos supporters as "Messias" (Messiah) and his fans named themselves "Giovanni's witnesses" – similar to a religion, "Jehovah's witnesses".
After Santos FC, he moved to the Spanish club FC Barcelona in 1996. He was a first team regular for two seasons and scored 18 goals overall. Barcelona fans still remember him for his ability to score game-winning goals against Real Madrid. In his first year with Barcelona he won the 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup. When Louis van Gaal took the lead, however, he eventually fell out of favor, alongside Sonny Anderson, in his third year at the club, despite scoring crucial goals in games such as the 1997 UEFA Super Cup second leg game against Borussia Dortmund. Therefore he left for Greek club Olympiacos for a record transfer bid of 10.800.000 £ in the summer of 1999. Later on in his career, he caused some controversy, by referring to Van Gaal as a Hitler for Brazilians, and an egomaniac.
In Greece, he soon established himself as one of the best players of the Greek league.
A flamboyant striker, he was known for his inventive dribbling, his passing range, his ability to lob the goalkeeper and pass the ball through defender's legs (nutmeg). His technique and the variety of fascinating moves made Olympiacos fans think of him as one of the most talented players in their team and love him as a hero. His skills earned him the nickname "magos" (μάγος) "wizard" in Greece.
He was the leading goalscorer in Greece in the 2003–2004 season with 21 goals.
After his short return in Brazil, the striker played for smaller clubs like, Al-Hilal, Ethnikos, Sport Club do Recife and Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube. Finally, he decided to return to Santos again, where he still maintained his godlike status, even though he didn't play well in 2005.
Return to Santos
After passing the medical exams, Giovanni returned to Santos in January 2010. Although playing very few matches, he finally managed to win his first title with Santos, the Campeonato Paulista. In 04/05 he announced his retirement.
- Clube do Remo
- Campeonato Paraense:1993
- FC Barcelona
- La Liga: 1997–98, 1998–99
- Copa del Rey: 1996–97, 1997–98
- Supercopa de España: 1996
- Supercopa de España Silver Medal: 1997, 1998
- UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1996–97
- UEFA Super Cup: 1997
- Superleague Greece: 1999-00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2004–05
- Greek Cup: 2004–05
- Greek Cup Silver Medal: 2000–01, 2001–02, 2003–04
- Santos FC
- Brazilian Bola de Ouro (Placar): 1995 with Santos
- Brazilian Bola de Prata (Placar): 1995 with Santos
- Greek league's top foreign player: 2000 and 2004 with Olympiacos
- Greek Superleague Top Goalscorer: 2004 with Olympiacos
- The Golden Greek football Rosters: Decade 2000–2010
- 1996–97 UEFA Cup Winners' Cup
- 1997 UEFA Super Cup
- Giovanni Silva de Oliveira – FIFA competition record