Munich - Having stolen all the headlines during FC Bayern's pre-season, Douglas Costa left an indelible mark on the opening Matchday of the 2015/16 Bundesliga campaign as he wowed FC Bayern fans and neutrals alike with a blistering performance in the 5-0 win over Hamburger SV.
bundesliga.com presents ten little-known facts about the Brazilian international who was named the Player of the Week after the first round of action in Germany's top flight...
Former Hamburg player
Douglas Costa de Souza, as he is formally known, was born on 14 September 1990 in Sampucaia do Sul. 11 years later he joined the youth ranks of EC Novo Hamburgo, which translates as ‘EC New Hamburg’. Perhaps it’s fitting then that the Brazilian made his Bundesliga debut against Hamburger SV on Matchday 1 of the 2015/16 season.
Gremio come calling
It took just a year for Douglas Costa to catch the eye of more established Brazilian sides and, in 2002, the then 12-year-old joined the renowned youth academy of top-tier side Gremio Foot-Ball Porto Alegrense, which has produced the likes of Marcelinho, Ze Roberto and Grafite. In 2008 Costa made the step up into the first team.
Standout talent at an early age
During his six years in the youth ranks at Gremio, Costa shone at the Punta Cup, a prominent South American youth tournament, claiming the Player of the Tournament award as well as top goalscoring honours. He followed that up by winning the Golden Boot at the Taca Belo Horizonte de Juniores, a competition for Under-20 sides in Brazil.
Big role model
When asked about his footballing hero, Douglas Costa not only named one of the greatest players in world football history, but also a fellow product of the Gremio youth academy: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho. The World Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2005 left Gremio in 2001, a year before Costa joined the club.
Well known namesake
FC Bayern’s new signing was named ‘Douglas’ by his father, who hoped the name would allow his son to “stand out” in his local footballing talent pool. It could also be to do with one of Novo Hamburgo’s most famous sons, Maicon Douglas Sisenando, know as Maicon, who won the UEFA Champions League with Internazionale de Milano against the Bavarians in 2010.
Card skills on cue
If he’s not on green grass dazzling defenders and fans alike with fancy footwork and a football at his feet, Douglas Costa’s greatest passions revolve around green felt. He is not only a dab hand at playing poker, but is also keen on a round of pool every once in while after being taught how to play by his father.
Big clubs’ interest piqued
After turning professional in 2008 with Gremio, Costa was heralded as one of Brazil’s brightest talents. FC Barcelona, Real Madrid CF, Manchester United FC, Chelsea FC and FC Bayern are all believed to have registered interest in the then 18-year-old. However, a transfer never materialised with inconsistent performances thought to be the reason.
Five years in the Ukraine
Costa was finally able to complete his long-awaited move to Europe in 2012, signing for Shakhtar Donetsk. In the top-tier of Ukrainian football he made 141 appearances and had a hand in 59 goals, while on the UEFA Champions League front Costa enjoyed 34 outings, scoring six goals and providing seven assists.
Called up to the Selecao
Costa has already won nine caps for the Brazilian national team and made his international debut under current head coach Dunga at the end of last year in a 4-0 win over Turkey. His sole goal so far for the Selecao came in the 2015 Copa America and proved a pivotal one as he came off the bench to score an injury-time winner against Peru.
No stranger to titles
Winning is mandatory at FC Bayern, but Costa is well versed in coping with the pressure of clinching titles. He won the Ukranian Premier League five times (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014) and the Ukranian Cup on three occasions (2011, 2012, 2013) with Shakhtar. Furthermore, Costa also finished as a runner-up at the U-20 World Cup with Brazil in 2009.