Date of Birth10.14.1985 (38)
How Acquired: Signed by New York on Sept. 14, 2012
The 2013 campaign marks Digao’s first full season after joining the Red Bulls in a late-season transaction in 2012. A tall, physical centerback, Digao will be competing for a starting role in New York’s defense.
Professional: 2012: After signing with the Red Bulls in mid-September, Digao spent the last few weeks of the regular season conditioning with the team in an effort to be match ready. While not used in a regular season match, Digao’s number was called for the first time in the final minute of the Nov. 8 playoff match between New York and D.C. United. In an effort to snag a late goal to level the score at one apiece, Digao placed his head on a shot that was placed into the box, directing it on frame but safely into the mitts of United’s Bill Hamid.
2004 – 2012: At the age of 19 in 2004, Digão (full name: Rodrigo Izecson dos Santos Leite) signed with Italian club A.C. Milan. For two seasons from 2005 through 2007, he was loaned out to fellow Italian side A.C. Rimini, making 23 appearances. Digão returned to Milan for the beginning of the 2007-08 season and made his lone Serie A appearance for the club in March 2008. Since then, the Brazilian defender spent time on loan in Belgium with Standard Liege, in Italy with U.S. Lecce and F.C. Crotone and most recently with Portuguese side F.C. Penafiel in 2010-11, playing in 10 matches. After his stint with Penafiel, his contract with Milan expired.
Before turning professional, Digão spent time as a youth player at Brazilian club Sao Paolo and U.C. Sampdoria of Italy before joining the youth ranks at Milan.
Personal: Digão is the younger brother of Brazilian International and Real Madrid midfielder Kaká.