Denilson joined Arsenal in the summer of 2006 after breaking through at hometown club Sao Paulo.

When Flamini, Diarra and Gilberto left Arsenal in 2008, many expected Arsène Wenger to dip into the transfer market and buy a replacement.

Instead the manager gave Denilson his chance and the midfielder rewarded him with two consistent campaigns sprinkled with spectacular strikes against the likes of Everton and Standard Liege.

But injury problems, coupled with the emergence of Jack Wilshere, meant first-team opportunities became harder to come by in 2010. So after five seasons and 153 appearances, Denilson returned to Brazil for a season-long loan with Sao Paulo in 2011/12.

The technically-gifted central midfielder, who captained his country at every age group between Under-15 and Under-19 level, enjoyed regular football for his hometown club and made his spell in the Brazilian Serie A permanent soon after.

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