Claudemir Jeronimo Barreto, better known as Cacau, could be described as icing the cake for a Germany side whose attacking flair has developed considerably in recent years. The classy Stuttgart goalgetter gives added impulse to Joachim Low's front line and provides a real alternative to the more established attackers in the squad such as Miroslav Klose, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez.
Born in the Brazilian city of Santo Andre, the versatile forward tried his luck with heavyweights Sao Paolo as a 13-year-old, but was released just three years later and subsequently forced to work as a street seller to keep his head above water. Only a stroke of good fortune revived his footballing dream when an expatriate relation helped him move to Germany in 1999, where he joined fifth division outfit Turk Gucu Munich.
A string of explosive displays in the amateur leagues alerted Nuremberg to the livewire marksman's talents and the Bavarians promptly signed him for their reserve squad. This was to be the kick-start Cacau's career needed and the level-headed striker soon impressed with a number of energetic displays.
The pacey attacker made his first Bundesliga appearance for Der Club in the second half of the 2001/2002 season, winning the hearts of the fans with several goalscoring displays early on. When the Bavarians were relegated in 2003, Cacau joined Stuttgart, where he again cemented his place in the team before celebrating Bundesliga title glory in 2007. After receiving German citizenship in February 2009, the deeply religious 29-year-old made his international debut under Joachim Low just three months later in a friendly match against China PR in Shanghai. Now Cacau is hoping to continue to shine for his adopted homeland at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.