Top Brazilian Talents of All Time

The sport of football brings joy to people from around the globe, uniting them in a shared love of the sport. Brazil is one of the most well known national teams in the sport, renowned for their skill and passion. These are just a few of the top Brazilian footballers of all time.


Antônio de Oliveira Filho, better known as Careca was one of Brazil’s most promising players in the 1980s, becoming a veteran of the 1986 and 1990 World Cups. This would also have included the 1982 World Cup team had he not been injured before the finals.

After his World Cup performances Careca moved to Japan in 1993 at the age of 33 to take part in the Japanese League. In 1997 he returned home to Brazil to play in lower leagues before retiring just before turning 40.


Arthur Antunes Coimbra, famously referred to as Zico, is well known as one of the greatest footballers in Brazilian history. Zico’s attacking moves were a force to be reckoned with and he specialised in free kicks.

Pelé, another legendary footballer, is quoted as saying “Zico is the only one who resembles my playing method”. He was voted the best player for both the 1978 and the 1982 World Cups.

Zico retired whilst playing for Kashima Antlers, later becoming their manager. This began Zico’s coaching and managing career, working with a number of clubs and national teams.


Manuel Francisco dos Santos, also known as, Mané Garrincha is one of Brazils most beloved and fondly remembered footballers, an expert at dribbling. Garrincha is a man who defied the odds after overcoming multiple birth defects to become one the greatest players in football history.

Garrincha was born with a deformed spine as well as a right leg that was six centimetres longer than the left. Despite this he began his professional football career playing for Botafogo, and scoring a hat trick against Bonsucesso in his debut game for the club.

Garrincha was called upon to play for the Brazilian national squad in 1958, eventually being voted to the World Cup’s All-Star Team. Thanks to his performance, he was also in the 1962 Brazilian World Cup team. Sadly for some his achievements were shadowed by his alcohol addiction, which took over his life in retirement, nevertheless the country was in mourning when he passed away. You can find out more about his fascinating life here.


Jairzinho, nicknamed ‘The Hurricane’ was an integral part of the Brazilian national team during their heyday in 1970. This team is often known as the best international football team ever.

During the 1970 World Cup, Jairzinho managed to score in all 7 games of the tournament, a record shared only with Alcides Ghiggia. At the time he wore a No. 7 shirt, considered by many to be lucky, and was recently named as one of the top 7 footballer 7s.


Ronaldinho was born in 1980, coming from a family of football players. Learning from his family he had a celebrated youth career, before starting his senior career in 1998 with Grêmio.

Just two years after his senior career began; Ronaldinho was selected for Brazil’s 2002 World Cup Team. At the time many considered Ronaldinho the best football player on earth. After the World Cup victory, Ronaldinho completed a dream of his to join FC Barcelona, winning the legendary No. 10 shirt, which is worn by the team’s most creative player.

Moving to A.C. Milan in 2008, Ronaldinho’s performance wasn’t living up to his status. Just three years later he returned to Brazil to play for Flamengo, later moving to Atlético Mineiro.


Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, popularly dubbed “The Phenomenon”, started his career playing for Cruzeiro where he demonstrated his fantastic goal-scoring capabilities. At the age of just 17 he was named to join the Brazilian national team for the 1994 World Cup, however he did not play.

Over the next four years Ronaldo moved between PSV Eindhoven, F.C. Barcelona and Inter Milan. During this time he won FIFA World Player of the Year twice. 1998 was Ronaldo’s opportunity to finally play in a World Cup, being named the Golden Ball winner (the Cup’s best player)

Following a number of injuries he competed again in the 2002 World Cup, impressing again as he won the Golden Boot Award (the Cup’s top goalscorer)


To many, Pelé was almost certainly the greatest footballer of all time. His performance in the 1958 World Cup at the age of just 17 made him a superstar. He played professionally with Brazil for two decades, during which he was an integral part in winning three World Cups.

Brazilian President at the time, Jânio Quadros officially declared Pelé a national treasure, which made it legally difficult to play for another country, despite receiving offers from many European teams.

Pelé announced his retirement in 1974, but actually went on to play in the North American Soccer League for another three years for the New York Cosmos. In 1977 he finally retired with a staggering 1281 goals in 1363 games played.

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