Born in Paraguay, Ruben Dario Maldonado Brizuela is a professional footballer who has gone on to represent his country at youth and senior levels of the game. Maldonado began his career in 1997, when he made his debut for local side, Olimpia Asuncion. Over two seasons, the defender played over 60 matches, scoring 8 goals in all, before moving to Venezia in the Italian Serie A. He played at Venezia for 5 years, notching up 93 appearances and scoring 5 times. However, in that five year period, he was sent on loan to Cosenza, in the lower divisions, to gain some experience. He played 12 games on loan before returning back to Venezia to fulfill the remainder of his contract.
His next move was to Napoli in 2005 and till 2007, he remained a part of the team, helping them move closer to promotion to the Serie A. He played almost 70 games for Napoli and found the net twice before being sent on loan to Chievo Verona. He played only three games for Chievo, scored once, and then was transferred to Gimnasia La Plata in Argentina for the 2008 season. Although he is primarily a defender, his ability to score goals at crucial junctures makes him an impressive asset for any team.