Top 10 Greatest Brazilian Soccer Players Ever

Brazil is a country in South America, the continent renowned for producing some of the greatest soccer players the world has ever seen. The players include Pele, Diego Maradona, Alfred Di Stefano, Ronaldinho, Kaka, Ronaldo De Lima, and most recently, Lionel Messi. While some showed glimpses of being great players from a very young age, others, like Messi, had to be treated with peptides to achieve the desirable height required by soccer. Brazil has arguably produced the most players in the above list. In fact, no other country has produced iconic football players like Brazil. Italy, Germany, and Argentina have all been soccer powerhouses for decades running, but the United States has not matched Brazil in terms of producing soccer stars. Brazil’s teams, who dominated world soccer from the 60s up to 2002, have been mentioned as one of the greatest soccer sides ever. But who are the top 10 players in Brazil history?

1. Pele

Known as Edson Arantes do Nascimento in full, Pele is a retired Brazilian soccer player regarded by many as the greatest the world has ever seen. He helped his country win three World Cups, and perhaps the most notable memory of him is when he scored a hat-trick in semi-finals and a brace in the finals at just 17 years old. Many soccer stars who managed to see Pele play or played with him say that he was the best soccer player the world has ever seen. He is Brazil’s all-time top scorer, with 77 goals from 92 appearances, and he amassed over 1200 goals in his illustrious soccer career.

2. Garrincha

Garrincha joined Botafogo soccer club at 20 years old, and this was after he nutmegged Nilton Santos, one of the club’s stars defenders, in a training session. He had a collection of tricks, which were so entertaining that they made him a hero among soccer fans. His right leg was bent due to a surgery conducted on him to correct some physical deformities, but this did not stop him from amazing high speeds with a soccer ball. He was on the 1958 World Cup team, and was named the player of the tournament four years later. Brazil won the World Cup in both occasions.

3. Ronaldo

Ronaldo Luis Nazario De Lima is considered one of the world’s greatest players. Perhaps he could have had a high stake on the claim, were it not for a career marred with injuries. At 21 years old, heading into the 1998 World Cup, Ronaldo had already scored more than 200 career goals, had won a World Cup, and had also been crowned FIFA World Player of the Year. He won the golden ball in that World Cup, even though they lost to France in the finals. But perhaps the most notable moment was when he bagged eight goals to help his country win the 2002 World Cup.

4. Zico

This is another of the legends in the 80s generation. The player had already made a name at 18 years old, after he helped Flamengo claim the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental titles. He would then go on to win four Brazilian championships and seven state titles in a career spanning 16 years at the club. He played for the Flamengo over 800 times, managing to hit the back of the net over 500 times.

5. Socrates

The attacking midfielder is regarded as one of the best in his position due to his exceptional passing ability with both feet and his excellent ball distribution. He is famous for using the back heel pass, a technique he always used effectively. He was also a dangerous player, both in open play and set pieces. He spent six years playing with Corinthians, but fans of Fiorentina, Flamengo, and Santos had the opportunity to see this great player, a former Brazilian captain, grace the pitch.

6. Jairznho

Having won the 1970 World Cup with his country, this player, whose position of play was not quite defined, is regarded as one of the Brazilian greats. While at Botafogo, he played as a center-forward, and later moved to the right wing before playing as a second striker. He was the top scorer of the 1970 World Cup, hitting seven goals in six matches, cementing his status as one of the greatest players to have donned the Brazilian jersey.

7. Ronaldinho

He won the world cup with Brazil in 2002, and he is one of the Brazilian players who managed to have a successful career at club level outside of Brazilian soil. He played for Barcelona for five years, where he helped the club win two league titles and a champion league title. In early 2000, he was considered to be the best player in the world. His greatness can be attested by the fact that he won the FIFA World Player of the Year twice, in 2004 and 2005.

8. Romario

Having won the 1994 World Cup golden ball, a tournament in which his nation also triumphed, Romario has been praised for his extraordinary exploits on the field. His five goals in the 1994 World Cup were crucial in helping Brazil to be crowned the champions. His importance to the national team cannot be overlooked in that he managed to score 55 goals in just 70 matches. Injuries and indiscipline cases limited his World Cup appearances to just two, but he is still one of the greatest players to wear the Brazilian jersey.

9. Nilton Santos

This is the first defender to appear on the list. He is a great player who played for Botafogo, and he helped his country claim the 1958 and the 1962 World Cup titles. In addition to that, he also helped his country win the South American championship. Playing as a full-back, Santos amazed over 75 caps for his country. He also helped Botafogo win four state championships and two national titles.

10. Carlos Alberto Torres

Nicknamed “O Capitao” for the leadership role he played for his nation in the 1970 World Cup triumph, the wingback also scored a goal, which many consider being the best ever scored in a World Cup competition. Although he started his career at club level with Fluminese, it was at Santos where he managed to have great success. He spent eight years at the club winning two Brazilian championships, five state titles, and a South American Super Cup.     

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