Gaia, Márcio dos Santos
Márcio dos Santos Gaia, Brazilian-born with a Spanish passport, appeared for City during the 2002/03 relegation season. He remained at the club for the first three Conference seasons prior to moving to Stevenage and later Weymouth.
Born in the state of Espírito Santo, on the coast north of Rio de Janeiro, Santos moved to Salvador at the age of eleven to join the youth academy of Vitoria de Baia. Progressing through the ranks, Santos was a member of the Brazilian under-17 squad at the 1995 World Cup for that age group.
Not making the grade at the top-level in Brazil, Santos moved to Spain - where he met his wife - before returning to play for Sport Club Corinthians Alagoano in Brazil’s north east. Then, after appearing for clubs such as Confiança and Campinense, Santos - now holding a Spanish passport - sought a career in Europe.
Recommended by an agent Santos, at the age of twenty-three, arrived for a trial at Exeter City in August 2002 and - with the club in somewhat dire straits - was immediately offered a deal. Making his debut against Shrewsbury Town on 10 August 2002 Santos was sent-off in his first game, scored in his fifth and was again red-carded in his sixth appearance. But, gradually settling into the role and his new surroundings, Santos made 33 League Two appearances during his first season which saw Exeter relegated from the Football League. He was a member of the team that faced Southend United in the final game of the season.
Keeping his place at the club, and in the first-team, Santos played more than eighty league and cup games over the following two seasons including both FA Cup ties against Manchester United in January 2005. He then made just eighteen appearances in 2005/06 - the last being at Grays Athletic on 10 April - before leaving the club in May 2006.Santos then signed for Stevenage Borough in June 2006 and was part of the side that defeated Kidderminster Harriers in the 2007 FA Trophy Final. The following season Santos moved to Grays Athletic, initially on loan then permanently for £10,000, before appearing for Halifax Town (on loan) and Weymouth. With recurring financial issues at the Dorset club, Santos soon moved to Crawley Town to finish the 2008/09 season. Next, back in the south west, Santos briefly appeared for Truro City ahead of returning to Brazil to be with his sick mother. At home in São Mateus, Santos played for Centro Educativo Recreativo (Associação Atlética São Mateus) for several seasons.
League 122; Cups 18 (140)