Brazilian midfielder DenilsonNeves started his career as a professional footballer at Sao Paulo. He came through the youth system at the popular club in his country Brazil before making his first-team debut in 2005. DenilsonNeves barely spent one year in the Sao Paulo first-team before Arsenal paid £3.4m to sign him in the summer of 2006. At the time, Denilson was largely inexperienced as he had just played a handful of games for Sao Paulo though he was part of the team that won the 2005 Copa Libertadores and the 2005 FIFA Club World Cup tournament. At Sao Paulo, Denilson made four starts and eight substitute appearances in his first spell at the club.


After going through a lean spell at Arsenal, Denilson returned to Sao Paulo on loan for the 2011/12 season shortly after the midfielder said he would leave the North London club. His number 15 shirt at Arsenal was given to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain for the new season on the back of his departure in the summer of 2011.

DenilsonNeves had a lot of issues on and off the pitch when he returned to Sao Paulo especially in the opening weeks. He was sent off in two of his first three games with the second red card issued for swearing at the centre referee. The Brazilian midfielder was heavily criticised by the Sao Paulo fans on Twitter and he responded by labelling them as ‘annoying’. The row between him and the fans was intense to the extent that they didn’t want him anywhere close to the team ever again. In the end, DenilsonNeves remained a Sao Paulo player for the remainder of his loan spell and even stayed for another season on loan from the Gunners.

Arsenal and Denilson mutually decided to terminate his contract in North London in June 2013 and that paved the way for him to join Sao Paulo as a free agent.