|Full name||Aílton Gonçalves da Silva|
|Date of birth||19 July 1973|
|Place of birth||Mogeiro, Brazil|
|Height||1.77 m (5 ft 10 in)|
|1994–1995||→ Mogi Mirim (loan)||28||(8)|
|2006||→ Hamburger SV (loan)||13||(3)|
|2006–2007||Red Star Belgrade||13||(4)|
|2007||→ Grasshoppers (loan)||13||(8)|
|2008–2009||→ SCR Altach (loan)||12||(7)|
|2010||KFC Uerdingen 05||13||(4)|
|*Club domestic league appearances and goals|
Aílton Gonçalves da Silva (born 19 July 1973), also known as Kugelblitz ("Ball lightning", due to his rotund physique and fast running speed), is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a striker. A journeyman, Aílton began his career in Brazil where he played for Ypiranga, Internacional, Mogi Mirim, Santa Cruz, and Guarani. Following a stint with Tigres UANL in Mexico, he moved to Germany joining SV Werder Bremen. He spent six seasons with Werder Bremen, winning the double of Bundesliga and cup in the 2003–04 season, before transferring to league rivals FC Schalke 04. In the latter stages of his career he played for Beşiktaş, Hamburger SV, Red Star Belgrade, Grasshoppers Zürich, MSV Duisburg, Metalurh Donetsk, SCR Altach, Campinense, and Chongqing Lifan. He ended his career in the lower leagues with KFC Uerdingen 05, FC Oberneuland, Rio Branco-SP, and Hassia Bingen.
After Stéphane Chapuisat and Giovane Élber, Aílton is the third of six foreign players to have scored more than 100 goals in the Bundesliga, along with Claudio Pizarro, Robert Lewandowski and Vedad Ibišević.
Aílton's career began in Brazil, and he played in his homeland with Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube, Santa Cruz and Guarani. He then moved to Tigres UANL in Mexico, which made way to a 1998–99 move to SV Werder Bremen in Germany.
He had some difficulties in his first season, managing only two league goals, but developed into a strong service provider. Werder Bremen won the DFB-Pokal in 1999. However, Aílton did not take part in the final, which was won on penalties against Bayern Munich. In 1999–00 he scored twelve goals, 13 in 2000–01, 16 in 2001–02 and 2002–03, the following season bringing with it 28 goals. He won the Bundesliga and the German Cup with Werder Bremen. Due to his achievements at Bremen, he was selected in 2004 as the first foreigner to win the Footballer of the Year (Germany) award. The 2004–05 season saw a lucrative move to FC Schalke 04.
Being uncapped by Brazil, in March 2004 the Qatar Football Association tried to incentivise Aílton to play for their national team by offering him Qatari citizenship, an initial €1 million and €400,000 a year for his services. FIFA intervened and blocked the move, tightening international eligibility requirements as a result.
In July 2005, Rıza Çalımbay brought him to Beşiktaş for €3.5 million, but he failed to show his full potential. Beşiktaş management brought him to the team with high hopes but his lack of scoring touch turned the fans against him and they wanted him replaced with another quality striker as soon as possible. Having failed to find himself a club in January 2006, Aílton had undertaken an escape attempt toward Brazil, but was stopped at the airport by Beşiktaş' interim manager Mehmet Eksi. However, because he had not found a new club during the winter, he returned to Istanbul and faced his old team Werder Bremen in the Efes Cup, scoring a hat trick for Beşiktaş.
He returned to Germany on loan to Hamburger SV in January 2006, but broke his jaw in only his second appearance for the club – an away game against Hannover 96 – and missed most of the remaining season. He scored three times upon his return. As a result, Hamburg did not decide to buy Aílton for a previously agreed sum of €1.75 million.
Aílton had to return to Beşiktaş where he was still out of favour. As a result, he was transferred to Serbian side Red Star Belgrade where he signed on 31 August 2006. In the winter break of the 2006–07 season Aílton was loaned out to Grasshopper Club Zürich. He managed to score eight goals during his spell in Switzerland. Grasshopper announced not to renew Aílton's contract and he was signed by newly promoted Bundesliga side MSV Duisburg in July 2007 on a one-year contract. Unfortunately, he didn't meet the expectations at his new club. He even showed unprofessional conduct by arriving late from the winter break. The contract was cancelled at end of February 2008, he turned to the Ukraine and Austria before than signed with Campinense on 12 March 2009. In the summer of 2009, he signed a contract with Chinese side Chongqing Lifan. On 2 December 2009 KFC Uerdingen 05 signed the Brazilian forward until 30 June 2011 but he left on 22 July 2010 for FC Oberneuland. The contract with Oberneuland was terminated in mutual agreement on 4 February 2011.
He joined sixth division side Hassia Bingen for the 2012–13 season where he scored two goals on debut after being substituted in the 68th minute and helped the club attract a league record 1,300 spectators for the game.
Aílton's wife Rosseli Judith Rodriguez is Mexican and the couple have four children. In January 2012, he took part on Ich bin ein Star – Holt mich hier raus!, the German version of the television game show I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!.
|Guarani FC||1996||Campeonato Brasileiro Série A||23||13||–||–||–||23||13|||
|Tigres UANL||1998||Mexican Primera División||16||5||–||–||–||16||5|||
|Hamburger SV (loan)||2005–06||Bundesliga||13||3||0||0||–||–||13||3|||
|Red Star Belgrade||2006–07||Serbian SuperLiga||11||3||0||0||2||1||–||13||4|||
|Grasshoppers (loan)||2006–07||Swiss Super League||13||8||1||0||–||–||14||8|||
|Metalurh Donetsk||2008–09||Ukrainian Premier League||2||1||0||0||–||–||2||1|||
|SCR Altach (loan)||2008–09||Austrian Bundesliga||12||7||0||0||–||–||12||7|||
|Campinense||2009||Campeonato Brasileiro Série B||1||1||0||0||–||–||1||1|||
|Chongqing Lifan||2009||Chinese Super League||5||0||0||0||–||–||5||0|||
|KFC Uerdingen 05||2009–10||Oberliga Niederrhein||13||4||0||0||–||–||13||4|||
|FC Oberneuland||2010–11||Regionalliga Nord||12||3||1||0||–||–||13||3|||
|Rio Branco||2011||Campeonato Paulista Série A2||2||1||0||0||–||–||2||1|||
Red Star Belgrade
- Bundesliga top scorer: 2003–04
- Footballer of the Year (Germany): 2004
- kicker Bundesliga Team of the Season: 2003–04
- "Ailton und Bremen: Wie der "Kugelblitz" aus Brasilien in Bremen landete" [How the "Kugelblitz" from Brazil landed in Bremen]. Sportschau (in German). 22 October 2022. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
- Kelly, James (10 February 2019). "Overweight, lazy and brilliant: remembering Werder Bremen legend Aílton". These Football Times. Retrieved 29 December 2022.
- "Ailton accepts Qatar offer". Union of European Football Associations. 3 March 2004. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
- "Fifa rules on eligibility". BBC Sport. 18 March 2004. Retrieved 17 October 2018.
- "Ailton novi igrač Crvene Zvezde". sportin.ba (in Bosnian). 31 August 2006. Archived from the original on 1 September 2007. Retrieved 8 July 2008.
- Matthias Arnhold (28 May 2014). "AÍLTON Gonçalves da Silva - Matches and Goals in Bundesliga". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- "Trennung am Wochenende vollzogen". msv-duisburg.de (in German). 25 February 2008. Archived from the original on 7 March 2016. Retrieved 15 February 2008.
- "Oberneuland-Coup: Ailton zurück in Bremen". kicker.de (in German). 22 July 2010. Archived from the original on 23 July 2010. Retrieved 23 July 2010.
- "Ailton löst seinen Vertrag auf". kicker.de (in German). 7 February 2011. Retrieved 7 February 2011.
- "Ailton schießt Hassia bei seinem Comeback zum Sieg" (in German). Fussball.de. 11 August 2012. Retrieved 20 August 2012.
- Dorow, Olaf (12 November 2010). "Einmal Bremen und zurück". Weser Kurier (in German). Retrieved 27 February 2020.
- "Ich bin ein Star – Lasst mich wieder rein: Kandidat Aílton" (in German). RTL. 8 August 2015. Retrieved 25 January 2021.
- "AÍLTON Gonçalves da Silva - Matches and Goals in Bundesliga". RSSSF. Retrieved 25 March 2019.
- "Ailton » Club matches". worldfootball.net. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- "Ailton". Soccerway. Retrieved 13 July 2018.
- "Liberec 0-1 Schalke (Aggregate: 1 - 3)". uefa.com. Archived from the original on 26 August 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2020.
- "China's Chongqing Sign Brazilian Striker Ailton". Goal.com. Retrieved 24 November 2018.
- "Bundesliga Historie 2003/04" (in German). kicker.