“After the accident happened, I felt really bad as Diego, my youngest, would never get the chance to see me in a 'big stadium', as he used to call it. That's never going to happen now, and it's a regret I'm going to have for the rest of my life”.- Dario Silva in an interview for FIFA.com in April.
I am confident that most of you reading this article know about the tragic incident that finished off Dario Silva’s career. Dario Silva, born in November 2nd 1972 in Uruguay, was a forward who played for several clubs starting from Defensor Sporting and ending with Portsmouth.
In 1992 he began his career with Defensor scoring four times in 18 appearances. He then moved to Penarol for one season where he scored 27 goals in 44 games. After moving to Cagliari in 1995, he was sent back to his old club for a loan spell during which he scored eight goals in 12 appearances. Espanyol snatched him up in 1998 from Cagliari.
Despite scoring only three goals in 15 appearances, Silva was able to secure a move to Malaga in the 1999 season. He scored 36 goals in 100 games for Malaga. Next was Sevilla’s turn to sign him. With 9 goals in 48 appearances to his name, Silva cancelled the last year of his contract.
This was due to the fact that the then Sevilla coach Joaquin Capparo didn’t include Silva in his plans for 2005-06 season. Silva thus went to Portsmouth on a free transfer. Due to a previous ankle injury, Silva was unable to make any impact and with only three goals in 13 appearances, he was released from the club in 2nd Feb, 2006.
Dario Silva played 49 times for Uruguay and scored 14 goals.
Silva was still a free agent in September 25th 2006. On this day, Silva was driving in Montevideo with two other former footballers Elbio Papa and Dardo Pereira. He lost control of the vehicle he was driving and was thrown from it. He hit a lamppost and fractured his skull and right leg.
The next time Dario Silva woke up, he was lying down in a hospital bed without a leg.
The following lines are from uefa.com in an interview with Dario Silva six weeks after the accident:
uefa.com: You are giving interviews and seem to be very calm about what has happened to you.
Darío Silva: Well, when I woke up after the accident and realised I was in hospital, I looked under the sheets and saw that my right leg was missing. I started to panic a bit, but ten minutes later, when the doctors explained what had happened, I started crying.
uefa.com: Tears of gratitude, rather than sadness?
Silva: Of course, because I had come back to life. My family and friends have been a great support to me. And even the general public. That has been important to me because everyone wants to see you do well.
uefa.com: Was it particularly hard to explain your condition to your children, Elina (nine) and Diego Darío (three)?
Silva: My son is still very young. When I play football with him, he laughs because I can't kick the ball with my right foot. My daughter is more intelligent and she knows what's happened.
Silva will most probably receive a prosthetic limb in Italy. He wants to row in the 2012 Olympics. He still takes life with a smile. I find this fact amazing and almost unbelievable. When I first read about Dario Silva, I felt extremely sorry for him. The way in which Dario Silva reacted is just a lesson for everyone out there who suffers from conditions like that of Silva’s.
He can’t play professional football anymore but that doesn’t mean that he can’t move on to some other sport. Dario is hoping to win gold medals in the 2012 Olympics. The saddest thing is, Dario never got a proper farewell from club football. He had planned to return to Penarol after the disappointments in Portsmouth.
Unfortunately that never happened. I would like to finish with a few lines from the FIFA.com Interview in April 2007
Fifa: Finally, if we were to chat again in, say, five or ten years time, what kind of Dario Silva could we expect to find?
Dario Silva: The same one. I hope I'll have gone on to win a dozen Olympic gold medals. I'll still be smiling, friendly and blessed with a sense of humour. That's how I've been all my life and nothing will ever change me.