Aldair in 2005
|Full name||Aldair Nascimento dos Santos|
|Date of birth||30 November 1965|
|Place of birth||Ilhéus, Brazil|
|Height||1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|Playing position(s)||Centre back|
|2005||Rio Branco A.C.||2||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Aldair Nascimento dos Santos (Brazilian Portuguese: [awdaˈiʁ]; born 30 November 1965), known simply as Aldair, is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as a defender, and who was part of the Brazil national team that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
He spent most of his professional career at Italian club A.S. Roma, where he later also served as captain, winning the Serie A title with the club in 2001. He is one of the members to have been inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame.
Aldair started playing at Flamengo where he won the most important title in Brazil, the Campeonato Brasileiro. He moved to Europe in 1989, playing with Benfica, winning the Portuguese Supercup, and reaching the European Cup Final during his only season with the team.
Aldair subsequently moved to A.S. Roma in 1990 and played with this club during 13 seasons, until 2003. He played a total of 436 matches with the Giallorossi, scoring 20 goals in total. During this period he won the Serie A in 2001, one Supercoppa Italiana, and one Coppa Italia in 1991 (also reaching the UEFA Cup Final in the same year). Aldair was recognised in 2000 as one of the best players in the world by being selected in the FIFA XI; still, he remained loyal to Roma in spite of the club not having won any major international honours during his time there.
Due to his long career with Roma, Aldair is currently the most-capped foreign player in the Italian club's history and the club decided to retire his number 6 jersey when he left the team in 2003. However, this retirement was not permanent, as in 2013 the shirt number 6 has been conceded to Kevin Strootman, with Aldair's approval. In 1998, he was chosen to be the captain of the Giallorossi but preferred to grant the armband to the then 22-years old Francesco Totti. For his contribution to the club, Aldair was included into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame in 2012, and thus recognized as one of the best footballers in the club's history. He was nicknamed "Pluto" by Roma fans.
After Roma, Aldair then briefly joined Genoa CFC. In July 2005, Aldair announced plans of playing for Rio Branco Atlético Clube, and played two games for the club in the estadual championship, helping his team to win the title.
Former teammate and good friend Massimo Agostini convinced him to play in San Marino for S.S. Murata in order to boost their Champions League campaign. After Murata's dreadful 7–1 aggregate defeat to Cypriots APOEL in the first round of qualifying for the 2006–07 UEFA Cup, Agostini decided to call upon Aldair to join him on the Italian Peninsula. Aldair took part in the Champions League qualifying stage in July 2007.
Aldair was part of the Brazilian squad that took part at the 1990 FIFA World Cup. In 1994, he reached the pinnacle of his career when he played for the Brazilian squad that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup. He also played for Brazil in the 1998 World Cup, as Brazil went on to reach the final once again, only to be defeated by France. He took part in three Copa América's with Brazil, winning the title in 1989 and 1997, whilst earning a runners-up medal in 1995. Aldair won a bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics, and was part of the Brazilian team that won the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. In addition to these tournaments, Aldair also took part in two friendly tournaments with Brazil, winning the 1995 Umbro Cup, and finishing in second place in the 1997 Tournoi de France. In total, he appeared 81 times for Brazil between 1989 and 2000, scoring three goals.
Style of play
An elegant and tactically versatile defender, Aldair was capable of playing both as a sweeper and centre back, due to his vision, technical ability and passing range. His confidence on the ball and, in particular, his adeptness at long balls enabled him to advance into midfield and create chances for teammates. Although he was not particularly quick, he was a strong defender who excelled in the air. He also excelled at anticipating opponents with well-timed challenges due to his ability to read the game. In addition to his defensive and technical skills, Aldair was also known for his leadership and sportsmanship throughout his career.
|Brazil national team|
- Campeonato Carioca: 1986
- Campionato Sammarinese di Calcio: 2007–08
- FIFA World Cup: 1994; Runner-up 1998
- Copa América: 1989, 1997; Runner-up 1995
- Summer Olympic Games: Bronze medal 1996
- FIFA Confederations Cup: 1997
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