Hailing from the northeastern Brazilian state of Paraiba, Givanildo Vieira de Souza was given his nickname of Hulk by his father. An direct, powerhouse of a centre- or wide-forward, who knows his way around the box, Hulk started out in the youth ranks at Vilanovense and moved on to Sao Paulo before making his professional debut with Vitoria.

 

The player’s future lay outside Brazil, however. After failing to make much impression at the Bahia state club he was loaned out to Japanese side Kawasaki Frontale and from there to second-division outfit Consadole Sapporo, where he caught the eye by scoring 25 goals in 2006. The following season he was the Japanese second tier’s top scorer, amassing 37 goals in 42 outings for Tokyo Verdy.

 

Those statistics brought him a move to Europe in 2008, when he signed for Porto. After breaking into the national side and winning a string of trophies for the Portuguese giants, he then made a big-money move to his current club Zenit St Petersburg.

 

As the boy from Paraiba told FIFA.com, he has taken everything in his stride in his globe-trotting career: “I can adapt pretty quickly to anything. If you can move to Japan at the age of 18 and handle it, then things tend to come pretty easily.”