Derlei in 2005
|Full name||Vanderlei Fernandes Silva|
|Date of birth||14 July 1975|
|Place of birth||São Bernardo do Campo, Brazil|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|2007||→ Benfica (loan)||12||(1)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
He spent most of his 16-year professional career in Portugal (one full decade), having represented all three most important clubs in the country and amassing Primeira Liga totals of 187 matches and 70 goals.
Born in São Bernardo do Campo, São Paulo, Derlei began playing in the lower levels of Brazilian football, but joined Portugal's U.D. Leiria in 1999, going on to appear in 92 competitive games for the club. In his last season, as they overachieved for a final seventh place in the Primeira Liga led by young manager José Mourinho, he scored 21 goals.
Derlei signed with FC Porto in the summer of 2002, playing an important part in a successful squad that was also managed by Mourinho. He was one of the top scorers in a side that conquered the UEFA Cup and UEFA Champions League in consecutive seasons – he netted twice in the 2003 UEFA Cup final against Celtic (adding another brace in the 4–1 semi-final win over S.S. Lazio)– being nicknamed "Ninja" while playing for the northern side; the following campaign, as he was leading the domestic goalscoring chart, he suffered a severe knee injury which rendered him unavailable for several months.
In January 2005, after disciplinary problems related to his lateness in arriving from the winter break, Derlei was sold to FC Dynamo Moscow for €7 million, being granted Portuguese citizenship shortly after. After two years of Russian football where he was always one of the top five scorers, he moved to S.L. Benfica on loan in January 2007; on 2 February he played his first league match for the club, a 0–0 home draw against Boavista FC.
In late June 2007, Derlei left Benfica for Lisbon rivals Sporting Clube de Portugal, signing a one-year deal with the option for another after being freed from his two-year contract with Dynamo Moscow – he was, therefore, one of the few players to have represented the Big Three of Portugal. However, he would spend most of 2007–08 on the sidelines, with another serious knee injury.
Derlei made a comeback to competition when, on 16 April 2008, he entered the field for Leandro Romagnoli in the 61st minute during the semi-final of the Taça de Portugal against Benfica, scoring only 18 minutes later to make it 3–2 to Sporting, in a match which eventually ended with a 5–3 win as the team went on to win the tournament against another former acquaintance of the player, Porto.
In his second season, Derlei fought with Hélder Postiga for a chance to play alongside Liédson, and scored some goals including an important one in a 1–0 home triumph over FC Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League, which sealed Sporting's group stage qualification on 4 November 2008. At the end of the campaign he declined the club's offer for a contract extension on the grounds the compensation was insufficient, thus being made a free agent.
On 27 August 2009, 34-year-old Derlei joined Esporte Clube Vitória on a one-year deal. He made his competitive debut on 13 September in a match against Campeonato Brasileiro Série A leader Sociedade Esportiva Palmeiras: having taken the pitch in the second half, he scored the 3–2 winner; he transferred to modest Madureira Esporte Clube shortly after, returning to a team he had represented more than one decade prior.
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