At the end of 2010, Diego Cavalieri jumped at the chance to return to his homeland when Fluminense expressed an interest after spending a couple years on the benches of Liverpool and Cesena.
The goalkeeper swiftly retasted something he had dearly missed: first-team football. However, a dip in form in February saw him lose his place to Ricardo Berna. Once again, the former Palmeiras man found himself in an undesired yet familiar position, acting as understudy to a rival.
Following a 2-0 loss to Corinthians on June 12, though, new Fluminense coach Abel Braga decided to drop Berna and reinstate Cavalieri between the sticks for their next game against Bahia. And while the Rio de Janeiro side lost that match 1-0 at home, a series of saves from the 28-year-old prevented a much bigger defeat. Cavalieri followed that up with another impressive display as ten-man Fluminense hung on for a 1-0 win at Avai on Sunday.
“I needed these two good performances,” he told the press. “I played only five times before [losing my place], and always knew I'd have difficulties to start with. I needed a period of adaptation. But I kept my head in the [right] place and strove for a new opportunity.
“The arrival of Abel was important. He, Marquinhos [Fluminense's goalkeeping coach] and the backroom staff gave me a lot of encouragement. I gained confidence. I have to be grateful.”
Next up for the defending champions, who have climbed to eighth place in the standings, six points off the pace, is the visit of second-from-bottom Atletico-PR on Thursday and Cavilieri hopes the Round 6 success is a sign of what's to come.
“We achieved an important victory, which has given us confidence,” he continues. "We all deserve congratulating. I hope it's the start of a good run.”