In terms of international football teams, Brazil is widely known as one of the best. With five FIFA World Cup victories they’ve won the tournament more than any other team and are also the only team to participate in every single tournament.
Brazil is currently sitting at the top of the South American World Cup qualifying group, a massive 9 points ahead of Colombia. The 2018 World Cup will be held in Russia, and the Brazilian national team is sure to be favourites for a sixth win.
We’ve had a look at Brazils different players for the team over the years and have picked our top 5 players.
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, better known as Ronaldinho has been called the greatest player ever, whilst this is a hotly debated topic, most still believe he is at least the best player of his generation. Ronaldinho was born into a football family, his father was a former professional player and his older brother Roberto Assis also played the sport professionally, this helped Ronaldinho to develop an early interest in football.
At the age of just 13, Ronaldinho first caught the media’s attention after a youth club match against a local team. The end result of the match was 23-0, with Ronaldinho scoring all 23 goals.
Ronaldinho eventually went on to play for Copa Libertadores and Paris Saint-Germain. In 2002 he played a major role in the Brazilian squads fifth world cup victory. He then fulfilled one of his dreams in 2003, joining the Spanish club FC Barcelona and being awarded the No. 10 shirt, which is often worn by the team’s most creative player. Sportskeeda ranked Ronaldinho the second greatest Barcelona No. 10 of all time.
Ronaldinho has a number of awards to his name, including winning the FIFA World Player of the Year award back to back in 2004 and 2005. In 2005 he also became a recipient of the Ballon d’Or, awarded to players with the best performance the previous year.
Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, dubbed ‘The Phenomenon’, was one of Brazil’s top players. Many believe he could have been the greatest football player of all time, had he not suffered an unfortunate set of injuries.
At the age of just 17, Ronaldo was chosen for Brazil’s 1994 World Cup team, though he was on the bench for the entire tournament. It was four years later in the 1998 World Cup that Ronaldo would have his chance to play in the legendary tournament. Despite having a convulsive fit before the final, Ronaldo received the Golden Ball award.
Ronaldo would later go on to play in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup’s for the Brazilian national team, as well as playing for top European clubs Real Madrid, FC Barcelona and AC Milan.
Similarly to Ronaldinho, Ronaldo was the recipient of many awards over the years. Most notably he won FIFA World Player of the Year in 1997, 1998 and 2002, as well as receiving the Ballon d’Or award in 1997 and 2002.
Manuel Francisco dos Santos, nicknamed ‘Garrincha’ (Wren) by his sister for his small stature. Garrincha’s football career for Brazil is an inspirational one of him overcoming a series of physical birth defects to become known as one of Brazil’s greatest players of all time.
At age 21, Garrincha received a spot on the Brazilian national team for the 1954 World Cup. Despite being born with a deformed spine and a shorter left leg, Garrincha stunned crowds with his impressive dribbling skills. Due to his incredibly entertaining play style, he received another nickname – “Alegria do Povo” (Joy of the People).
In the 1958 World Cup he played along other well-known Brazilian players, including a 17-year old Pelé. It was here that Brazil would win their first World Cup trophy. Garrincha would go on to take part in two more World Cup tournaments in 1962 and 1966. His final game in the 1966 World Cup was his only loss in 50 international appearances for the team.
Jair Ventura Filho, also known as Jairzinho, was a member of the 1970 Brazilian national team that is widely believed to be the greatest football team to ever play the sport. Jairzinho made his international debut for Brazil in 1964, at the age of 19. It wasn’t until he succeeded Garrincha’s role on right wing that he would come into his own.
During the 1970 World Cup in Mexico, Jairzinho made football history, becoming only the second player ever to score in every game of the tournament. This feat earned him the nickname “World Cup Hurricane”. Many believe that it was the lucky number 7 shirt that helped him to achieve this record.
After his impressive performance in the 1970 World Cup, he played for the French team Marseille for a short while, before returning to Brazil to play for Cruziero. His last appearance in a World Cup tournament was in 1974, with the team securing a fourth place finish.
After retiring from playing the sport, Jairzinho became an accomplished coach and manager. He worked with a number of teams in Brazil, Japan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Many say his greatest achievement as a coach was spotting a then 14-year old Ronaldo while coaching São Cristóvão.
Our pick for the top Brazilian footballer, and probably most other peoples, is of course Pelé. Pelé is known as the greatest football player of all time, not just in Brazil, and not many people would disagree.
Pelé became a superstar at the age of just 17 with his performance in the 1958 World Cup; at the time he was the youngest player to ever take part in a World Cup Tournament. Despite receiving numerous offers to play for some of the top European clubs, Brazil’s President’s declaration that Pelé was a national treasure made it difficult for him to accept any.
Pelé went on to attend three more World Cup tournaments. In the 1962 and 1966 tournaments, he unfortunately suffered injuries in the early stages, forcing him to the sidelines for the remainders of each tournament.
His final and perhaps most triumphant World Cup appearance came with the legendary 1970 team. Pelé scored a total of four goals, with one in the final game, which gave Brazil the infamous victory over Italy.
After announcing his retirement in 1974, Pelé was persuaded to carry on and play for the New York Cosmos, which he agreed to. Thanks to this, he helped make the North American Soccer League the attraction that it is today. Finally, in 1977 he retired for good, finishing with a staggering total of 1281 goals in 1363 games. In 1999 FIFA named Pelé “Co-Player of the Century” alongside Diego Maradona.