8 Famous Players Who Were Produced by Little Known Uruguayan Club Danubio FC

Formed by Bulgarians in the 1930s and named after the mighty River Danube in Europe, Danubio FC are relatively small when it comes to club football in Uruguay.


Danubio have been crowned Primera Division champions on just four occasions - the last of which came in 2014 - with Montevideo neighbours Penarol and Nacional both dominating on the domestic front and accounting for all eight of Uruguay's Copa Libertadores triumphs.


But Danubio, who are based in the semi-rural north of Montevideo away from the busy coast, have produced several big stars in recent memory who have enjoyed major success in Europe.


Here's a look at eight familiar names who went on to achieve great things...

8. Diego Forlan

Diego Forlan never played a first team game for Danubio, but the forward who would go on to win the Golden Ball award at the 2010 World Cup spent three years in the youth ranks and the club was his last in Uruguay before venturing to neighbouring Argentina and beyond.


Forlan joined Argentine giants Indepdendiente as a 15-year-old in 1994 and later had spells at Manchester United, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and Inter, before a globetrotting existence in the final years of his career. He didn't return to Uruguay until 2015 when he joined Penarol.

7. Marcelo Zalayeta

After emerging from the youth setup at Danubio, striker Marcelo Zalayeta spent one season in the first team, then one year at Penarol, before a decade-long stay at Italian giants Juventus that saw him win three Serie A titles and play in the 2003 Champions League final.


Zalayeta was often behind Alessandro del Piero and David Trezeguet in the pecking order in Turin, although he was usually first alternative from the bench and made 160 appearances. He also had a two-year loan at Sevilla and later helped re-estbalish Napoli as a top flight club.

6. Cristhian Stuani

Cristhian Stuani was named in Uruguay's World Cup squad this year and has scored goals for numerous clubs in Spain, as well as briefly Middlesbrough in England, since leaving Danubio as a 20-year-old back in January 2008.


Stuani's first call in Europe was Reginna in Italy, but Spain is where he has thrived, first during loans at Albacete, Levante and Racing Santander, and later with Espanyol. Last season, he plundered 19 La Liga goals in 30 appearances for Girona.

5. Jose Gimenez

Jose Gimenez forms one half of one Europe's best defensive partnerships alongside veteran star Diego Godin at Atletico Madrid, a combination that also makes the Uruguayan national team a force to be reckoned with, as shown at this year's World Cup.


Gimenez left Danubio for Atletico in the summer of 2013 for a fee of just under €1m. Still only 23 years of age even now, he began to establish himself as a regular midway through the 2014/15 season and would have played many more games than he has done but for injuries.

4. Walter Gargano

With over 100 Primera Division appearances for Danubio to his name, Walter Gargano left to join a Napoli team that was newly promoted back to Serie A in 2007, becoming an immediate regular and helping the club qualify for the UEFA Cup in his debut season.


A defensive midfielder, Gargano was crucial as Napoli improved to qualify for the Champions League in 2011, as well as winning the Coppa Italia in 2012. He left for loans at Inter and Parma in 2013 and 2014 respectively, later heading to Mexico and then joining Penarol.

3. Ruben Sosa

Of a slightly older generation that the rest of the players on this list, forward Ruben Sosa emerged from the Danubio youth team in the early 1980s and went on to enjoy a fine spell in Europe with Real Zaragoza, Lazio and Inter, winning the Copa del Rey and UEFA Cup.


Sosa,who went to four Copa America tournaments and the 1990 World Cup with the national team, also won a Bundesliga title with Borrusia Dortmund, before returning home to Uruguay in 1997 and joining Nacional.

2. Alvaro Recoba

Left-footed Alvaro Recoba is best remembered as a set-piece specialist gifted with a fine range of passing and an incredible strike. He was a Danubio player during the 1994 and 1995 Uruguayan seasons, briefly moving on to Nacional and then heading to Inter in 1997.


Recoba initially took time to settle in Europe but found his feet during an impressive loan spell at Venezia in the latter half of the 1998/99 season. He hit the ground running on his return to Inter and eventually left in 2007 after two Serie A titles, two Coppa Italias and a UEFA Cup.

1. Edinson Cavani

Edinson Cavani has scored over 270 goals since 2010 when he joined Napoli and is now easily one of the most feared strikers in world football - in each the last two seasons alone, the former Danubio talent has netted at least 40 goals for Paris Saint-Germain.


Having joined the Danubio youth ranks in 2000, Cavani only spent around 18 months in the first team before being scouted by Palermo and moving to Europe at the age of 20. All in all, he's won 14 major trophies to date, including four Ligue 1 titles in the last five seasons.