United hopes Diego doesn't do a Romario

January 8, 2007
By Daniel Brettig

Adelaide United is hoping its latest Brazilian signing from American club Miami FC does not go the same way as heftily priced striker Romario.

United lost valuable momentum and points when trying to accommodate the ageing striker, and the club believes new man Diego Walsh, 27, can help it regain poise and confidence ahead of the A-League finals.

Billed as an attacking midfielder with plenty of creativity, Diego has signed for two and a half years after spending a month training and becoming acquainted with the Adelaide set-up.

With only one win from their last seven games, the Reds need someone to rescue a flagging season, a commission that sits easily with Diego.

"Hopefully I can be that guy, to bring something different, I feel like I'm a player who can score some goals, can create something different," he said.

"I'll bring something different to the table, I'm a very creative player, I like to take guys on."

Coach John Kosmina said Diego, with previous experience in the United States' MLS, was a player with plenty of flair but also maturity.

"It's always difficult to come in, I guess the beauty of this signing is that Diego's been here for quite a while," he said.

"He's comfortable with everyone, we know him, he knows us, I expect him when he gets his opportunity to show what he's capable of.

"Diego's a creative player and that's why I liked him when he played for Miami FC against us.

"He's at a good age as well, he's in the second half of his 20s so he's mature and he can add a bit of leadership."

Another advantage for Diego will be his low profile - certainly nothing like that of Romario, who seemed to be marked by three defenders every time he ventured near the ball.

"Look at someone like (Nathan) Burns or Jason Spagnuolo, when they first start no-one notices them or pays much attention, now all of a sudden they both come in for a lot more attention," Kosmina said.

"That's what Diego has up his sleeve.

"But this isn't just a signing for this weekend, it's for the finals, for Asia and for the two years ahead because we've got him on a two and a half year deal."

Pending the arrival of clearance papers, Diego should make his first appearance against Sydney FC this Sunday.