Wolfsburg - While Luiz Gustavo may not be your ordinary footballer, his rise to international prominence comes straight from the textbook of dedication and hard graft.

Starting out in the lower leagues of Brazilian football with SC Corinthians Alagoano and Clube de Regatas Brasil, he had no qualms about moving to a second-division side when he joined 1899 Hoffenheim in 2007.

Step up to stardom


His ascent mirrored that of the now established Bundesliga club as he gained promotion to the top flight in his very first season in the village of Sinsheim, and after two and a half years bossing the Hoffenheim midfield - at times a little excessively, as he received four red cards in his first two Bundesliga seasons - he caught the eye of the powers that be at FC Bayern München

Only days after signing for the Bavarians in January 2011, Gustavo went straight into the Bayern team, making his debut in a 1-1 draw with VfL Wolfsburg, and quickly established himself as a reliable and consistent midfielder. His performances saw him pick up his first caps for Brazil in August 2011 and he went on to play a key role as the club reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2012, which he unfortunately missed through suspension.

World Cup glory beckons


The year 2013 saw Gustavo reach the zenith of his career thus far, winning a Bundesliga, DFB Cup and UEFA Champions League treble, before lifting the FIFA Confederations Cup with Brazil. In August he then made the decision to leave the record titleholders and join VfL Wolfsburg in order to guarantee himself regular first-team football ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in his native Brazil.

It was a plan that paid dividends, as he made 29 appearances and scored four times to help the Wolves qualify for the UEFA Europa League, and sealed a place in the Brazil squad for the World Cup in his home nation, at which he can expect to play a starring role for the Selecao.