Football is a religion in Brazil. It is the most popular sport in the country and has produced some of the greatest players of all time. In this blog post, we will countdown the 10 most famous footballers in Brazil. From Pelé to Neymar, these are the legends that have made Brazilian football what it is today.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, commonly known as Neymar or Neymar Jr., is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for French club Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazil national team. He is widely considered to be one of the best players in the world.
Neymar began his career with Santos FC, where he helped lead the team to victory in the 2011 Campeonato Paulista and the 2010 Copa do Brasil. In 2013, he was signed by Barcelona for €57 million, making him one of the most expensive footballers in history. At Barcelona, he won numerous trophies, including two La Liga titles, three Copas del Rey, one UEFA Champions League title, and two FIFA Club World Cups. In 2017, he moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a transfer worth €222 million (the highest ever at the time), making him not only the most expensive footballer but also the most expensive athlete in history.
In addition to his club successes, Neymar has achieved individual accolades such as being named South American Footballer of the Year three times (2011, 2012, and 2014), Brazilian Footballer of the Year four times (2011–2012; 2014–2015), and La Liga’s Best Player (2015). With 56 goals in 92 matches for Brazil since his debut in 2010, Neymar is currently Brazil’s second top goal scorer behind Pelé. He was chosen as the most marketable athlete in the world by SportsPro magazine in 2012 and 2014, and was ranked the world’s fourth-best footballer by The Guardian in 2015.
Ronaldinho is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Barcelona and the Brazilian national team. He is considered one of the best players of his generation and was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. Ronaldinho began his career with Grêmio, before moving to France to join Paris Saint-Germain in 2001. In 2003, he returned to Brazil to join Flamengo before signing for Barcelona in 2003.
With Barcelona, Ronaldinho won La Liga twice, the Copa del Rey once, the UEFA Champions League once, and the FIFA Club World Cup once. He was also named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2006. After leaving Barcelona in 2008, he spent four seasons with Milan, before returning to Brazil to join Flamengo in 2012. He then moved to Atlético Mineiro in 2013, where he won the Campeonato Mineiro in 2014. In 2015, he joined Querétaro FC of Mexico before returning to Brazil once again to join Fluminense FC in 2016.
Ronaldinho has also been successful at international level, winning 97 caps and scoring 33 goals for Brazil. With them he has won two FIFA World Cups (in 2002 and 2006), as well as the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 2004 Copa América.
Pelé, born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, is a retired Brazilian footballer who is widely regarded as the greatest player of all time. He was a member of three World Cup-winning teams, and is the only player to score in two finals. Pelé began playing for Santos at the age of 15, and helped them win the Campeonato Paulista in 1958 and 1962. In 1970, he was the leading goal scorer in the World Cup as Brazil won their third title. He retired from football in 1977, but made occasional appearances for Santos and New York Cosmos until his final retirement in 1986.
Pelé’s accomplishments are numerous. He is the all-time leading goal scorer for both Santos and Brazil with 1,281 and 77 goals respectively. He also holds the record for most career assists with 504. In 1999, he was voted World Player of the Century by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS), and was one of only three players to be voted world player of the century twice (the other two being Diego Maradona and Lionel Messi). In 2013, he was named one of Time’s 100 most influential people.
Rivaldo is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder, winger and striker. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. Rivaldo became a member of the Brazilian national team in 1993 and went on to appear in 98 matches for his country, scoring 34 goals. He helped Brazil win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1999 Copa América.
Rivaldo began his professional career playing for Paulista in 1989. He spent four seasons with the club before moving to Santa Cruz in 1993. Rivaldo moved to Europe in 1994 when he signed with Spanish club Deportivo La Coruña. After one season with Deportivo, he joined Barcelona where he spent five seasons and won two La Liga titles and one UEFA Champions League title. In 1999, Rivaldo moved to Italian club A.C. Milan where he spent two seasons before returning to Barcelona in 2001.
After leaving Barcelona, Rivaldo had short spells with Greek club Olympiacos (2002–03), Brazilian club Cruzeiro (2003–04) and Angolan club Kabuscorp (2010–11). He retired from professional football in 2015 after a two-year stint with Indian club Mogi Mirim.
Over the course of his career, Rivaldo scored 287 goals in 613 appearances at the club level and 34 goals in 98 appearances at the international level. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999, won the Ballon d’Or in 1999 and was named FIFA World Player of the Century in 2000. He was inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame in 2014.
Rivaldo was born on April 19, 1972, in Paulista, Brazil. He began playing football at an early age and joined his first club, Esporte Clube Paulistano, at the age of 12. Rivaldo spent four seasons with Paulista before moving to Santa Cruz in 1993.
Rivaldo made his professional debut for Santa Cruz on August 14, 1993, against Olaria. He scored his first professional goal in a 3-1 win over Campo Grande on September 5, 1993. Rivaldo helped Santa Cruz win promotion to the First Division after finishing second in the Second Division standings.
Rivaldo moved to Europe in 1994 when he signed with Spanish club Deportivo La Coruña. He made his La Liga debut on September 11, 1994, against Valencia. Rivaldo scored his first La Liga goal on October 2, 1994, against Zaragoza. He helped Deportivo finish sixth in the 1994-95 La Liga standings.
Rivaldo joined Barcelona in the summer of 1997 for a fee of £8 million. He made his Barcelona debut on August 31, 1997, against Valencia. Rivaldo scored his first Barcelona goal on September 21, 1997, against Racing Santander. He helped Barcelona win the 1998-99 La Liga title and the 1998-99 UEFA Champions League title.
Rivaldo was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999 and won the Ballon d’Or in 1999. He was named FIFA World Player of the Century in 2000.
Rivaldo moved to Italian club A.C. Milan in the summer of 2001 for a fee of £17 million. He made his Milan debut on August 25, 2001, against Lecce. Rivaldo scored his first Milan goal on September 16, 2001, against Inter Milan. He helped Milan win the 2002-03 Serie A title and the 2002-03 UEFA Champions League title.
Rivaldo left Milan in 2003 and had short spells with Greek club Olympiacos (2002–03), Brazilian club Cruzeiro (2003–04) and Angolan club Kabuscorp (2010–11). He retired from professional football in 2015 after a two-year stint with Indian club Mogi Mirim.
Rivaldo is widely regarded as one of the greatest footballers of all time. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999, won the Ballon d’Or in 1999 and was named FIFA World Player of the Century in 2000. He was inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame in 2014.
Romário was born on 29 January 1966, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He played for various Brazilian clubs as a striker, including Vasco da Gama, Flamengo, and Fluminense. Romário was known for his quick feet and finishing ability. He helped lead Brazil to victory in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, scoring five goals in the tournament. In 2004, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers.
After retiring from football in 2008, Romário became involved in politics. He was elected to the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil as a representative of the Socialist Party in 2010. He has since been re-elected to two more terms.
Ronaldo, also known as Ronaldo Luis Nazário de Lima, is a retired Brazilian professional footballer who played as a striker. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest footballers of all time and is one of the most famous athletes in the world.
Ronaldo began his career with Cruzeiro, before joining PSV Eindhoven in 1994. He then moved to Barcelona in 1996, where he won his first major trophy, the Copa del Rey. After two seasons with Barcelona, Ronaldo transferred to Inter Milan in 1997. In his first season with Inter, he helped the club win the UEFA Champions League, their first European title since 1965.
In 2002, Ronaldo signed for Real Madrid for a then world record fee of €94 million (£77 million). With Madrid, he won the La Liga title in his first season and the FIFA Ballon d’Or in 2008. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2009.
In 2013, Ronaldo joined Italian club Juventus for a fee of €100 million (£88 million), becoming one of only four players to have been bought for more than €100 million. With Juventus, he won Serie A in each of his first three seasons and was named Italian Footballer of the Year twice; he also reached the final of the UEFA Champions League twice but lost on both occasions, firstly to Barcelona in 2015 and then to Real Madrid in 2018. In 2020 Ronaldo became Juventus’s top scorer of all time, with his 77th Serie A goal.
Ronaldo has won a number of individual awards, including the FIFA World Player of the Year three times, and the Ballon d’Or four times. He has also been named the best Portuguese player of all time by the Portuguese Football Federation. Ronaldo is the first footballer to earn over $1 billion in their career.
Kaká is one of the most famous footballers in Brazil. He is a midfielder who plays for Milan and the Brazilian national team. Kaká is known for his speed, dribbling ability, and passing skills. He has won many awards, including the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007.
Zico, full name Arthur Antunes Coimbra, is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest players of his generation and is one of the few footballers to be included in Pelé’s list of 125 Greatest Living Footballers.
Zico began his career with Atlético Mineiro in 1971, where he won two Campeonato Mineiro titles and helped the club win the Copa Libertadores in 1976. He moved to Flamengo in 1977 and won four consecutive Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles, as well as the 1981 Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup. He joined Udinese Calcio in 1983 and helped the club win the Serie A title in his first season.
He returned to Brazil in 1985 to play for Corinthians, where he won the Campeonato Paulista title. He rejoined Flamengo in 1989 and helped the club win three more Campeonato Brasileiro Série A titles, as well as the 1990 Copa do Brasil. After leaving Flamengo in 1992, he had brief spells with Kashima Antlers and Jubilo Iwata before retiring in 1994.
In 1999, Zico was voted Player of the Century by the IFFHS. He was inducted into the FIFA 100 list of greatest living footballers in 2004 and was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. In 2006, he was declared by FIFA as one of the world’s greatest living players.
Zico has coached several clubs, including Japanese side Kashima Antlers, Turkish club Fenerbahçe, the Iraq national team and Olympiacos. He was appointed as head coach of the Ivory Coast national team in 2012.
Cafu is a retired Brazilian professional footballer who played as a right back. He was a member of Brazil’s World Cup-winning teams in 1994 and 2002. He is widely considered one of the best right backs of all time, and was included in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in both 1994 and 2002.
Cafu began his career with Sao Paulo FC, where he won two Copa Libertadores titles and three domestic competitions. He then moved to AS Roma in 1997, where he won the Serie A title and the Supercoppa Italiana. In 2003, Cafu joined AC Milan, where he won the UEFA Champions League in 2003–04 and the Coppa Italia in 2002–03. He returned to AS Roma in 2005, before retiring from football in 2008.
Cafu made 142 appearances for the Brazil national team, winning two FIFA World Cups, four Copa Américas, and two CONCACAF Gold Cups. He was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team on three occasions (1994, 2002, 2006), and was inducted into the FIFA Hall of Fame in 2016.
Roberto Carlos is a Brazilian retired professional footballer who now works as a football ambassador, and occasionally as a pundit on television. He started his career in Brazil as a forward but spent most of his time playing as a left-back and was nicknamed “The Bullet Man” because of his powerful bending free-kicks.
In 1997, he moved to Europe to join Inter Milan, where he won several trophies including the UEFA Cup. He then spent 11 seasons with Real Madrid, winning four La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League three times. After retiring from football in 2007, he became a sports ambassador for Madrid and later joined the coaching staff of São Paulo FC. In 2011, he was named by Pelé as one of the 125 greatest living footballers.