By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Nelson de Jesus Silva, better known as Dida, has firmly established himself as Brazil's number one but he has not enjoyed the best of campaigns for Milan.
A series of high-profile blunders have not gone unnoticed by Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira, who earlier in the season warned his goalkeeper that his place is under threat unless such errors are eradicated.
"I mean, all good keepers make good saves, but he gives a lot of confidence to his defence throughout the 90 minutes.''
Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon.
Regular understudies Julio Cesar and Marcos are ready to deputise should Dida be judged surplus to requirements but, barring injury, it still seems likely that Perreira will keep faith with the player who featured prominently in the qualifiers.
Dida was born on October 17, 1973, in Irara and from an early age he demonstrated a proficiency in between the posts, starting his career at Vitoria.
His progress in his homeland was seamless as a switch to Cruzeiro saw him claim three league titles, one Copa Brasil and the Copa Libertadores.
Possessing a formidable physique and fine reflexes for such a big man, Dida soon caught the attention of Europe's finest and in 1999 moved to Milan - where his career in Italy, at least at first, was a stalled and frustrating affair.
Arriving in Serie A should have been the realisation of a childhood dream but a contractual disagreement with Cruzeiro saw him shipped out to Swiss outfit FC Lugano.
Dida returned to Milan for a brief spell but was then loaned out again soon after, this time back to Cruzeiro - before finally establishing himself as Milan's undisputed number one.
The 2002/03 campaign was one that brought silverware of the highest order, as Dida's legendary ability as a penalty-saver reaped dividends in the UEFA Champions League final as Milan beat Italian adversaries Juventus, in a dramatic shoot-out that saw the Brazilian repel three spot-kicks.
The following season saw the Serie A title come to Milan, adding to the European Super Cup they secured in 2003. Milan would not, though, be so fortuitous in last season's Champions League final as they squandered a three goal lead to this time lose a shoot-out, to Liverpool in Istanbul.
Since making the breakthrough in 1995, Dida's international career has been the proverbial 'mixed bag', containing many highs but unfortunately, just as many lows.
A bronze medal at the Atlanta Olympics and a Confederation Cup success in 1997 are tempered dramatically by both the 1998 and 2002 World Cups, where Dida was expected to start but was usurped on both occasions in favour of Claudio Taffarel and Marcos respectively.
Again, Dida starts in pole position for a starring role in Germany but if his form fluctuates at all between now the tournament's commencement, then he could yet secure the most unwanted of hat-tricks.