Diego Godín

Diego Roberto Godín Leal (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈdjeɣo ɣoˈðin];[lower-alpha 1] born 16 February 1986) is a Uruguayan professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Italian club Cagliari and the Uruguay national team.[4][5]

Diego Godín
Godín playing for Uruguay at the 2018 FIFA World Cup
Personal information
Full name Diego Roberto Godín Leal[1]
Date of birth (1986-02-16) 16 February 1986 (age 35)[2]
Place of birth Rosario, Uruguay
Height 1.87 m (6 ft 2 in)[3]
Position(s) Centre-back
Club information
Current team
Number 2
Youth career
Estudiantes del Colla
2000–2003 Defensor
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2006 Cerro 63 (6)
2006–2007 Nacional 26 (0)
2007–2010 Villarreal 91 (4)
2010–2019 Atlético Madrid 277 (17)
2019–2020 Inter Milan 23 (1)
2020– Cagliari 28 (1)
National team
2005– Uruguay 141 (8)
Representing  Uruguay
Copa América
Winner2011 Argentina
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 23:06, 16 May 2021 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 June 2021

Commonly cited as one of the best defenders in the world,[6] Godín started his professional career with Cerro and three years later was transferred to Primera División side Nacional. He since spent most of his professional career in Spain, representing Villarreal and Atlético Madrid and winning eight titles with the latter club, including the La Liga title in the 2013–14 season.

A Uruguay international since 2005, Godín is the country's all-time most-capped player. He has represented the national side at three World Cups and five Copa América tournaments, winning the 2011 edition of the latter competition.

Early life

Godín was born in Rosario to Julio Godín and Iris Leal. Aged 4, during a family gathering, he nearly drowned after trying to catch fish in a river, but eventually swam to shore without the help of anybody.[7]

Club career

Uruguay and Villarreal

Godín started his professional career with C.A. Cerro at the age of 17. After his good performances, he was transferred to Primera División powerhouse Club Nacional de Football, where he quickly became captain due to his maturity and professionalism.[7]

In August 2007, Godín signed a five-year deal with La Liga side Villarreal CF,[8] scoring in just his second game, a 2–3 away loss against CA Osasuna on 7 October,[9] and participating with 24 matches in their best league placement ever (second). He consolidated his starting position in the subsequent seasons, mostly partnering Argentine Gonzalo Rodríguez in the heart of the back four.[10][11][12]

Atlético Madrid

On 4 August 2010, after experiencing his best season at Villarreal – 36 games, three goals – Godín joined fellow league team Atlético Madrid on a five-year contract, after the two clubs agreed an initial fee believed to be around 8 million or £6.6 million.[13] He made his official debut for the Colchoneros on the 27th, playing the entire 2–0 win against Inter Milan for the UEFA Super Cup.[14]

Godín in action for Atlético in 2018

Godín signed a new contract with Atlético on 1 November 2013, keeping him at the club until 2018.[15] He scored four league goals during the campaign,[16][17][18] including one on the last matchday on 17 May 2014 against FC Barcelona which equalised the game at 1–1 to earn his team its first league title in 18 years.[19] A week later, again through a header, he repeated the feat in the final of the UEFA Champions League to put his team ahead, but Real Madrid eventually won 4–1.[20]

In 2015, Godín rejected a transfer to Manchester City, managed by his former Villarreal boss Manuel Pellegrini.[21] On 28 October 2017 he became the foreign player with most appearances for the club, surpassing fellow stopper Luis Perea after his 315th against Villarreal;[22] he was nominated for the 2016 and 2018 Ballon d'Or awards.[23][6]

On 20 February 2019, Godín scored the second goal in 2–0 home victory over Juventus F.C. in the Champions League round of 16.[24] On 7 May, the 33-year-old announced he would be departing the club after a nine-year tenure[25] and, on 1 June, he symbolically handed over the captain armband to Koke in the 1–1 draw against Sevilla FC.[26]

Inter Milan

On 1 July 2019, Inter Milan announced they had signed Godín for free on a three-year deal.[27] It was reported that he had already agreed to a pre-contract the previous January.[28] He made his debut in Serie A on 1 September, coming on for Antonio Candreva for the final 11 minutes of a 2–1 win at Cagliari Calcio.[29]

In a season in which Inter finished one point behind champions Juventus, Godín scored his first Nerazzurri goal on 13 July 2020 in a 3–1 home victory over Torino FC.[30] On 21 August he equalised against Sevilla in the 2020 UEFA Europa League Final in Cologne, a 3–2 loss for his side; only five other men had scored in the finals of European football's two top tournaments.[31]


On 24 September 2020, Godín joined Cagliari on a three-year contract.[32] He played his first match for them on 4 October, in a 5–2 away defeat against Atalanta B.C. where he also scored.[33]

International career

In 2005, at the age of 19, Godín made his debut for Uruguay in a friendly defeat against Mexico in Guadalajara. His first international goal came in another exhibition game, with Serbia and Montenegro in May 2006.[34] He represented the nation at the 2007 Copa América, playing in the opening 0–3 defeat to Peru before losing his place to Andrés Scotti in Uruguay's run to fourth place.[35]

Godín was selected for the squad at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. He started in the opening match against France (0–0) in Cape Town,[36] and played in a further four matches for the eventual semi-finalists.[37]

Godín playing for Uruguay in 2010

In 2011, Godín featured in Uruguay's successful 2011 Copa América campaign, making one appearance as a late substitute in a 3–0 defeat of Paraguay in the final after being bedridden for several days with a virus.[38][39] He also participated in the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, partnering Diego Lugano in defence in four of the team's five matches as they reached the semi-finals.

Godín was selected by coach Óscar Tabárez for the 2014 World Cup and captained the team in three of their four games due to Lugano's absence through injury.[40] On 24 June, he headed the only goal against Italy in the final group fixture, sending the country through to the knockout stage.[41]

In May 2015, Godín was named as captain for Uruguay's defence of the Copa América during the 2015 continental tournament in Chile.[42] He was also picked for the Copa América Centenario squad, heading home from a Carlos Sánchez long cross in the opener against Mexico where both teams ended with ten players (1–3 loss).[43] He won his 100th cap in the following match, a 0–1 defeat to Venezuela at the Lincoln Financial Field.[44][45]

Godín was also selected for the 2018 World Cup.[46] The following 25 March, at the 2019 China Cup, he made his 126th appearance against Thailand, surpassing Maxi Pereira as the most capped player in the national team's history.[47]

In June 2019, Godín skippered the team to the quarter-finals of the Copa América in Brazil.[48]

Style of play

Despite his lack of pace or significant athleticism, Godín was regarded by pundits as one of the best and most consistent defenders in the world, and as one of the leading centre-backs his generation. During the 2018 World Cup, Jack Watson of The Independent described him as "the best central defender in the world."[6][49][50][51][52]

An intelligent centre-back, Godín was mainly known for his leadership, positioning and calm composure, which allowed him to organise his back-line, read the game and anticipate plays. Aggressive, competitive and physical, he was also known for his aerial ability and his capacity to time his jumps effectively, which enabled him to defend high balls, score goals with his head on set pieces, and beat out larger players to the ball in the air.[52][53][54][55][56]

Godín also stood out for his capacity to time his challenges, make blocks, interceptions and win the ball. Moreover, he was strong in one–on-one situations as his defensive positioning often allowed opposition players little time or space on the ball.[52][54][56][57] In addition to his defensive skills, he was also known for his technique, ball–playing ability and capacity to carry the ball out from the defence, which allowed him start plays from the back and create chances for teammates.[54][55]

Personal life

Godín married Sofia, daughter of José Oscar Herrera, a Uruguayan international who played in Serie A for Cagliari alongside compatriot Enzo Francescoli.[58] He is close friends with Antoine Griezmann, who played with him at Atlético Madrid. During the 2018 World Cup quarter-finals match, the latter did not celebrate his goal out of respect for the former and also club teammate José María Giménez; Godín is also godfather to Griezmann's daughter.[59]

On 20 November 2020, Godín tested positive for COVID-19.[60]

Career statistics


As of match played 16 May 2021.[61][62][63]
Club Season League Cup Continental Other Total
Cerro 2003 Uruguayan Primera División 200020
2004 Uruguayan Primera División 14010150
2005 Uruguayan Primera División 17100171
2005–06 Uruguayan Primera División 30500305
Total 63610646
Nacional 2006–07 Uruguayan Primera División 26040162462
Total 26040162462
Villarreal 2007–08 La Liga 2413070341
2008–09 La Liga 3100070380
2009–10 La Liga 3632060443
Total 914502001164
Atlético Madrid 2010–11 La Liga 250113110302
2011–12 La Liga 27210131413
2012–13 La Liga 351501010421
2013–14 La Liga 3445210220518
2014–15 La Liga 343309120484
2015–16 La Liga 31130120461
2016–17 La Liga 31350110473
2017–18 La Liga 30031120451
2018–19 La Liga 303206110394
Total 277172847767038927
Inter Milan 2019–20 Serie A 23120111362
Cagliari 2020–21 Serie A 28100281
Total career 5082940412497067942


As of 9 June 2021[64]
International goals
As of 4 June 2021[64]

Scores and results list Uruguay's goal tally first.

1.27 May 2006Stadion Crvena Zvezda, Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro Serbia and Montenegro1–11–1Friendly
2.16 August 2006Alexandria Stadium, Alexandria, Egypt Egypt1–02–0
3.18 October 2006Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay Venezuela1–04–0
4.24 June 2014Arena das Dunas, Natal, Brazil Italy1–01–02014 FIFA World Cup
5.8 October 2015Hernando Siles, La Paz, Bolivia Bolivia1–02–02018 FIFA World Cup qualification
6.13 October 2015Centenario, Montevideo, Uruguay Colombia1–03–0
7.17 November 2015 Chile1–03–0
8.5 June 2016University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, United States Mexico1–11–3Copa América Centenario


Atlético Madrid

Inter Milan



See also


  1. In isolation, Godín is pronounced [ɡoˈðin].


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