Cologne – With the 2015/16 Bundesliga season just around the corner, we figured it prime time to take a closer look at some of the German top flight's most talked about summer signings.
Next up in the series is Costa Rica international and new SV Darmstadt 98 defensive recruit, Junior Diaz.
Versatile and clean in the tackle
One of eight players to have joined Darmstadt this summer with previous Bundesliga experience, Diaz can play at either left-back or in central defence and has even moonlighted as a midfielder. His father, Enrique, was also a professional footballer and he too represented Junior's hometown club Herediano as well as the Costa Rican national team. While he remained on home soil for the duration, Junior fled the nest, aged 25.
Junior amassed three league titles in four seasons at his first European station, Polish outfit Wisla Krakow, but found first-team opportunities much harder to come by when he moved to FC Club Brugge in 2010. He spent the 2011/12 campaign on loan back at Wisla, before joining a progressive 1. FSV Mainz 05 side, at the time coached by now Borussia Dortmund tactician Thomas Tuchel.
His strength: unparalleled experienced
Diaz proved an instant at the Coface Arena, collecting just ten cautions in 57 Bundesliga appearances over the course of a three-year spell in the former Roman fort city. During that time, he also represented the most successful Costa Rican team of all time, so called on account of their fairytale journey to the last eight of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, where Los Ticos were eventually beaten on penalties by the Netherlands.
At 31, Diaz will now look to channel all his energy into helping promoted Darmstadt successfully negotiate their first season back in the big time following a 33-year absence. Although only a one-time World Cup quarter-finalist, his experience of pressure-cooker football at the highest level will be absolutely priceless in the fight for Bundesliga survival.