The 20 Best Soccer Players From Brazil

Best Soccer Players From Brazil: Brazil is a country where soccer is deeply ingrained in its culture. It is known for producing some of the greatest players in the history of the sport and has become a prominent hub for developing young soccer talents from around the globe. The Brazilian national team is consistently considered a strong contender for winning championships in international competitions.

Brazil holds the record for the most World Cup titles, showcasing their dominance on the global stage. Additionally, they have achieved considerable success in the Copa América, a prestigious tournament in South America. Their national team’s rich history and accomplishments make them a force to be reckoned with in the world of soccer.

Brazil has produced many world-class players over the years, many of whom have become legends in the sport. Some of the most iconic Brazilian soccer players include Pelé, Ronaldinho, Neymar, and Ronaldo. These players have not only excelled on the field but also left a lasting impact on the sport through their skill, creativity, and charisma. They have inspired countless young players to take up the game and strive to reach their level of success.

Pelé is widely regarded as one of the greatest soccer players of all time, and he helped lead Brazil to three World Cup victories. Ronaldo is a two-time World Cup winner and is one of the highest-scoring players in the history of the tournament. Ronaldinho is known for his technical skills and his ability to score stunning goals. Neymar is one of the best players in the world today and is a key player for both Brazil and Paris Saint-Germain. Kaká is a World Cup winner and is widely regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders of his generation.

Best Soccer Players From Brazil

In this article, we will explore the history and culture of soccer in Brazil. We will also look at some of the most famous Brazilian soccer players and a few that are less well-known but still worthy of recognition.

Here are some of the best soccer players from Brazil:

20. Thiago Silva

  • Full Name: Thiago Emiliano da Silva
  • Date of Birth: 22 September 1984
  • Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Centre-back

Thiago Silva is a professional football player from Brazil. He plays as a center-back for both the Brazil national team and Chelsea FC in the Premier League. Many people consider him to be one of the best defenders of his generation because of his strong defensive skills, discipline, and leadership abilities.

Silva made his debut for the Brazil national team before the 2008 Beijing Olympics. Although he didn’t start in any matches, he came on as a substitute in the 71st minute of the third-place match against Belgium, which helped Brazil win the bronze medal. He played a crucial role in Brazil’s defense during the 2013 Confederations Cup, where they only conceded three goals and emerged as champions. Silva was also part of the Brazilian squad that finished fourth in the 2014 World Cup, although he missed the infamous 7-1 defeat to Germany in the semifinals due to an injury.

In 2016, Silva became the captain of the Brazilian national team, taking over from Neymar. Although Brazil didn’t perform well in the 2015 Copa America and the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they had success in the 2019 Copa America, with Silva starting in the final against Peru and helping Brazil win the game 3-1 to secure his second trophy with the national team. In September 2022, Silva broke the record for the most appearances as a center-back in the history of the Brazil national team, surpassing Lúcio. He has now earned 113 caps for his country.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
2008–1137

19. Bebeto

  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Spouse: Denise de Oliveira
  • Profession: Former football player and coach

Bebeto, whose real name is José Roberto Gama de Oliveira, was born on February 16, 1964, in Salvador, Brazil. He is a former footballer and currently works as a politician.

He achieved great success in his football career, including winning the World Cup with the Brazilian national team in 1994 and being named the South American Footballer of the Year in 1989. Bebeto is considered one of the strongest Brazilian strikers of the 1980s and 1990s. Despite his small and not very powerful physique, he had excellent goal-scoring abilities and was known for his speed and the ability to score in tight spaces.

Initially, Bebeto played as a playmaker, similar in style to Zico. But later in his career, he transitioned to the role of a center-forward, which suited him better. He had refined technical skills and was surprisingly fast for his size. When he moved to Europe, he improved his consistency and determination on the field.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1985–1998 7539

18. Roberto Rivelino

  • Full Name: Roberto Rivellino
  • Date of Birth: 1 January 1946 (age 77)
  • Height: 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

Roberto Rivelino was an incredibly talented and creative midfielder, considered one of the best in history. He had amazing control over the ball and was known for his invention of a move the Elastico, which later became popularized by Ronaldinho.

Rivelino played for clubs like Corinthians, Fluminense, and the Brazilian national team. He was a key player in Brazil’s victory in the 1970 World Cup. His exceptional skills helped him create opportunities for his teammates and score goals himself, even in a team filled with other talented players.

What set Rivelino apart was his ability to see and exploit gaps on the field, whether it was to make a run, pass the ball, or take a powerful shot. He represented Brazil in 92 matches over a period of 13 years, scoring 26 goals. This made him a consistent and important member of the national team.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1965–19789226

17. Jairzinho

  • Full Name: Jair Ventura Filho
  • Date of Birth: 25 December 1944
  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Position(s): Winger

Jair Ventura Filho, also known as Jairzinho, is a former Brazilian football player. He could play as a midfielder or a striker. In 1963, he won the gold medal in the IV Pan American Games with the Brazilian national team.

Jairzinho participated in the 1970 World Cup with Brazil. He was the top scorer for his team and second overall in the tournament, behind German player Gerd Müller. He scored a goal in the first game and went on to score in every match of the tournament. This is a record he shares with Uruguayan player Alcides Ghiggia. In the final against Italy, he scored the third goal in Brazil’s 4-1 victory.

Jairzinho finished the World Cup with a total of 7 goals in 6 games. He earned the nickname “Hurricane Cup” in his country because of his speed and ability to score goals. He also played in the 1974 World Cup, where Brazil finished in fourth place. He scored two goals in that tournament but didn’t perform as well as he did in the previous one.

In total, Jairzinho played 102 games for the national team and scored 42 goals. Out of these, 81 games and 33 goals were in official matches. He agreed to play as a winger instead of his preferred position as a playmaker, as the central midfield positions were usually filled by players like Pelé, Gérson, Rivelino, and Tostão.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1964–19828133

16. Daniel Alves

  • Full Name: Daniel Alves da Silva
  • Date of Birth: 6 May 1983
  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Position(s): Right-back

Dani Alves, born Daniel Alves da Silva on May 6, 1983, in Juazeiro, Brazil, is a professional footballer who plays as a right-back for Club Universidad Nacional (UNAM) and the Brazil national team.

Dani Alves is widely recognized as one of the best players in the right-back position of his generation. Throughout his career, playing for clubs like Sevilla, Barcelona, Juventus, and PSG, he has won several titles. These include six Spanish Championships, four Copa del Rey titles, five Spanish Super Cups, one French Super Cup, two UEFA Cups, four UEFA Super Cups, three Champions League trophies, three Club World Cups, one Italian League title, and one Italian Cup. With the national team, he has won one America’s Cup and two Confederations Cups.

Tactically, Dani Alves has played in various positions throughout his career, including as a right-back, winger, and occasionally as a midfielder. Despite his slim build, he possesses excellent technique, good speed, and stamina. He also has a good understanding of the game and is known for his ability to make assists and score goals. Moreover, he is skilled in taking free kicks from both short and long distances.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
2006– 1268

15. Paulo Roberto Falcão

  • Full Name: Paulo Roberto Falcão
  • Date of Birth: 16 October 1953
  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Midfielder

Paulo Roberto Falcão, born on October 16, 1953, in Xanxerê, Brazil, is a former football player and now works as a coach.

He played as a midfielder for clubs like Internacional, Rome, and the Brazilian national team. The fans of Roma gave him the nickname “Eighth King of Rome,” similar to the recognition received by Amedeo Amadei, a great striker from the past.

Falcão is considered one of the top midfielders during his playing days. In 2004, he was honored by being included in the FIFA 100, a special list of the 125 greatest players chosen by Pelé and FIFA for the federation’s 100th anniversary. Nowadays, Falcão works as a football commentator for Rede Globo and writes articles for the newspaper Zero Hora and the radio station Radio Gaucha.

He was known for his stylish and versatile play as a central midfielder, capable of contributing both in defense and attack. His technical skills and strong character earned him praise from players like Francesco Graziani and Roberto Pruzzo, who described him as a “universal player” and a “field coach.”

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1976–1986346

14. Marcelo Vieira

  • Full Name: Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior
  • Date of Birth: 12 May 1988
  • Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Left-back

Marcelo Vieira, known simply as Marcelo, was born on May 12, 1988, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He is a professional football player who currently plays as a defender for Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team.

Throughout his career, Marcelo has achieved numerous accomplishments. He has won four Spanish Championships (in 2007, 2008, 2012, and 2017), two Copa del Rey titles (in 2011 and 2014), three Spanish Super Cups (in 2008, 2012, and 2017), three Champions League trophies (in 2014, 2016, and 2017), three UEFA Super Cups (in 2014, 2016, and 2017), and two Club World Cups (in 2014 and 2016). He has also represented Brazil in two Olympic Games (in 2008 and 2012), the 2013 Confederations Cup, and the 2014 World Cup.

Marcelo is a left-sided defender known for his impressive athleticism. He is particularly skilled in dribbling and possesses great speed. He is also capable of contributing to the team’s attack and has a good scoring ability. Additionally, under the guidance of coach José Mourinho in 2010, Marcelo made significant progress in his defensive skills.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
2006–2018 586

13. Carlos Alberto Torres

  • Full Name: Carlos Alberto Torres
  • Date of Birth: 17 July 1944
  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Right-back

Carlos Alberto “Capita” Torres, born on July 17, 1944, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, was a renowned football coach and player who played as a defender.

Carlos Alberto, also known as the “Tri head,” was highly regarded in the football world. In March 2004, his former teammate Pelé included him in the FIFA 100, a special list of the hundred greatest footballers of all time. During his time as the coach of Flamengo, Carlos Alberto was famously known as “O Capitão” (The Captain) for leading the Brazilian national team to victory in the 1970 World Cup.

That tournament was particularly significant for Carlos Alberto because he had been surprisingly left out of the team four years earlier. In the final match, just minutes before the end, he scored a goal that is considered by many as the greatest ever scored in World Cup history. Although Carlos Alberto started his career at Fluminense in Rio de Janeiro, he achieved his greatest successes at Santos, where he played alongside Pelé. During his eight-year tenure at Santos, he won a South American Super Cup, two Brazilian championships, and five state titles. However, he didn’t manage to win the prestigious Copa Libertadores.

While Nilton Santos initiated the transition, it was Carlos Alberto who fully perfected the wing-back role. His exceptional performance in the 1970 World Cup established him as a role model for many wing-backs worldwide, shaping the way the position is played by top players even today.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1964–1977 538

12. Garrincha

  • Full Name: Manuel Francisco dos Santos
  • Date of Birth: 28 October 1933
  • Height: 1.69 m (5 ft 7 in)
  • Position(s): Right winger

The player ranking in the top 12th of the best players in the history of Brazil is Manuel Francisco dos Santos, popularly known as Garrincha. While he may not be as familiar to the younger generation, he is widely regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian soccer players alongside Ronaldo and Pelé.

Garrincha possessed exceptional talent and had the ability to carry his team, even in difficult situations. He achieved remarkable success at the national team level, winning the World Cup twice (in 1958 and 1962) and making a significant impact in the 1962 World Cup in Chile.

When Pelé was unavailable, Garrincha stepped up and dominated the game with his incredible speed, dribbling skills, and powerful shots. Due to his remarkable abilities, he is considered one of the greatest players in the history of South American sports.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1955–1966 5012

11. Cafu

  • Full Name: Marcos Evangelista de Morais
  • Date of Birth: 7 June 1970
  • Height: 1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Right-back

The player in 11th place on our ranking is Marcos Evangelista de Morães, popularly known as Cafú. He was a right back and is considered a legend of Brazilian soccer and the sport as a whole.

Cafú holds the record for the most appearances in the history of the Brazilian national team, with 142 games played for the Canarinha.

When it comes to titles, Cafú has an impressive record. He not only won the UEFA Champions League but also lifted the World Cup trophy twice (in 1994 and 2002). Additionally, he won two Copa Américas (in 1997 and 1999) and one Confederations Cup (in 1997).

It’s worth mentioning that Cafú is the first and only player to have played in three World Cup finals. However, he fell short of Pelé’s record after losing the 1998 final.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1990–2006 1425

10. Neymar

  • Full Name: Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
  • Date of Birth: 5 February 1992
  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

Neymar Jr. started his career at Santos and has become one of the best players in the world today. Some believed he had the potential to surpass the legendary Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

However, Neymar has carved out his own style in a football world dominated by these great players. He has become the second-highest scorer in the history of the Brazilian national team, scoring over 70 goals and counting. He has also made the fifth-most appearances for Brazil.

Neymar has an impressive record, winning numerous national and continental titles in both Brazil and Europe. Notable among his achievements are the UEFA Champions League and the Copa Libertadores. Currently playing for PSG, he aims to win continental glory again, alongside Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé.

With the national team, Neymar scored the goal that secured Brazil’s first-ever Olympic Games gold medal. He was also a key player in the Brazil team that defeated Spain in the 2013 Confederations Cup.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
2010– 12477

9. Zico

  • Full Name: Arthur Antunes Coimbra
  • Date of Birth: 3 March 1953
  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

Zico is another player on this list who didn’t win any official titles with the Brazilian senior team. But everyone knows the significant impact Arthur Antunes Coimbra had on this sport in the 1980s.

Alongside Sócrates, Zico was a key player for the Brazilian team that had the pressure of living up to their past successes. Despite not winning major international titles, Zico scored 48 goals in 71 games for the national team, making him the fifth-highest scorer in Brazil’s history. At the club level, he is most remembered for his time at Flamengo, where he won the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1976–1986 7148

8. Kaká

  • Full Name: Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite
  • Date of Birth: 22 April 1982
  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder

Kaká, whose real name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, is a famous Brazilian football player. He played as a midfielder or striker for the team Orlando Ville.

He grew up in San Paolo and achieved success with his local team. He won the Rio-São Paulo tournament and the Paulista Supercampionato. In 2003, he joined Milan and had a successful six-year stint with the club. During his time there, he won the Italian League, two UEFA Super Cups, an Italian Super Cup, the Champions League, and the World Club title. From 2009 to 2013, he played for Real Madrid, winning a Spanish Cup, a Spanish Championship, and the Spanish Super Cup. Later, he returned to Milan and then moved to St. Paul in 2015 before joining Orlando City.

Kaká also represented the Brazilian national team in three World Cups (2002, 2006, and 2010), winning the tournament in 2002. He also participated in two FIFA Confederations Cups (2005 and 2009), winning both of them.

Kaká is considered one of the best football players of Brazil. In 2007, he received the Ballon d’Or, an award given by France Football, and was named the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
2002–2016 9229

7. Romário

  • Born: 29 January 1966

Romário, a world soccer legend, is a familiar name for FC Barcelona fans. Even though he only played for Barcelona for one year, he left an indelible mark and became a legendary figure in Spain. He is fondly remembered as one of the greats who graced LaLiga.

Romário was an unstoppable goal scorer and claims to have surpassed the remarkable milestone of 1,000 career goals (although unofficially). Many, including Romário himself, consider him one of the greatest Brazilian soccer players of all time. And we wholeheartedly agree with the talented striker from Rio de Janeiro.

On the national team stage, Romário boasts an impressive record in continental competitions. He achieved victory in the Copa América twice and was also part of the Brazilian squad that won the World Cup in 1994. Furthermore, he holds the title of the fourth highest goal scorer in Brazil’s history, with 55 goals in 70 matches.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1987–2005 7055

6. Sócrates

  • Full Name: Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira
  • Date of Birth: 19 February 1954
  • Height: 1.92 m (6 ft 4 in)
  • Position(s): Midfielder

Sócrates Brasileiro, known as a legendary player for the Brazilian national team, holds the sixth spot in our ranking. Despite his immense talent, he didn’t win any official titles with the national team.

However, Sócrates had a profound impact beyond just numbers and records. He was not only a skilled player but also a political and social activist who worked towards bringing about changes in his country. This is why he is remembered as a true legend.

On the football field, Sócrates was renowned for his intelligence and ability to see the game. He was considered one of the best players of his time and a global symbol of the contributions made by Brazilian players to the sport.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1979–19866022

5. Rivaldo

  • Full Name: Rivaldo Víctor Borba Ferreira
  • Date of Birth: 19 April 1972
  • Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder / Forward

Rivaldo, the incredibly talented striker, possesses a unique style that has captivated many. He gained significant recognition during his tenure at FC Barcelona, where he became a legend and an idol for the club. It was during his time as a “culé” that he was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1999 and was widely regarded as the best player in the world by various specialized media outlets.

On the international stage, Rivaldo holds the seventh-highest goal-scoring record for the Brazilian national team, having scored 35 goals in 74 matches. He played a crucial role during the golden years of the Brazilian team in the early 2000s and is considered one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time.

Rivaldo contributed to Brazil’s triumph in the Copa América in 1999 and the World Cup in 2002. Additionally, he achieved the remarkable feat of winning the UEFA Champions League with AC Milan in 2003.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1993–20037435

4. Roberto Carlos

  • Full Name: Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha
  • Date of Birth: 10 April 1973
  • Height: 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)
  • Position(s): Left-back

Roberto Carlos Da Silva, the legendary left-back, is a name that arises when discussing the remarkable wingers in the history of the Brazilian national team. He revolutionized the role of a full-back by introducing an attacking style, often posing a threat from an unconventional position on the field.

His notable career at Real Madrid solidified his status as one of the greatest players in the history of the prestigious club. Similarly, his contributions to the national team were equally significant. Like Cafú, Roberto Carlos holds one of the highest appearance records for the Brazilian team, with an impressive 125 caps to his name.

When it comes to an impressive list of achievements, Roberto Carlos’ trophy cabinet is the envy of every footballer. He has clinched the UEFA Champions League three times, along with two Copa América titles, one World Cup, and one Confederations Cup.

Moreover, he is renowned for scoring what is popularly regarded as the best goal in the history of the national team: “The smart bomb” against France in 1997.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1992–2006 12511

3. Ronaldinho

  • Full Name: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira
  • Date of birth: 21 March 1980
  • Height: 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Attacking midfielder, winger

Ronaldinho Gaúcho, whose real name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, may not be well-known to those who haven’t closely followed his career. However, he is often regarded as the player who had the potential to be the best in the history of football but chose not to.

During his career, numerous clubs sought to acquire the services of this exceptional striker who effortlessly eluded his opponents. Ronaldinho’s talent was so immense that he would invent new dribbles and tricks every day to surpass himself and find joy on the football field. This is why he is widely known as “The smile of football” or the person who brought smiles back to Camp Nou. Undoubtedly, he is also considered one of the greatest players in the history of FC Barcelona due to his significant contributions during his prime years.

In terms of pure skill and natural talent, Ronaldinho is arguably the most gifted player in the entire history of the sport. His speed, audacity, and intelligence led him to win the Ballon d’Or award in 2005. However, his level of performance quickly declined due to his indulgences and busy personal life.

Nevertheless, Ronaldinho has an impressive list of achievements, including a World Cup, a Copa América, a Confederations Cup, and a UEFA Champions League title, among others. Additionally, Ronnie ranks as the 9th highest goal scorer for the Brazilian national team, having scored 33 goals.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1999–2013 9733

2. Ronaldo Nazário

  • Full Name: Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima
  • Date of Birth: 18 September 1976
  • Height: 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
  • Position(s): Striker

Ronaldo Phenomenon and Ronaldinho Gaucho had contrasting paths in a specific aspect. While Ronaldinho had the potential to become the greatest player in history, he didn’t fulfill it due to his preference for alcohol and parties. On the other hand, Ronaldo Nazario had the potential to be the best player ever, but his knee injuries prevented him from achieving all his goals.

Ronaldo Nazario was an exceptional center forward, known for his remarkable dribbling, shooting, and goal-scoring abilities. He became the third-highest goal scorer in Brazil’s history with 62 goals and held the record for the most goals in World Cups (15) for many years until it was surpassed by Miroslav Klose in 2014.

Although Ronaldo played for prestigious clubs like Real Madrid, FC Barcelona, and Inter Milan, he couldn’t secure a UEFA Champions League title with any of them. However, he did achieve the remarkable feat of winning the World Cup twice with the Brazilian national team. In the 2002 final against Germany, he even scored two goals to contribute to his team’s victory.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1994–2011 9862

1. Pelé

  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)
  • Spouses: Rosemeri dos Reis Cholbi

Pelé, also known as O Rei, is an exceptional football player who has left an indelible mark in the world of soccer. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest players ever, with his incredible skills and contributions to the game. Pelé stands out for winning three World Cups, playing a pivotal role in securing these victories for the Brazilian team. He is also a legendary figure for Santos, the club where he started his career and achieved great success.

During his time representing the Brazilian national team, Pelé played 92 matches and astonishingly scored 77 goals, making him the all-time leading goal scorer for Brazil. Although Neymar, another talented player from Santos, has come close to breaking Pelé’s record, he has yet to surpass it. Pelé’s extraordinary abilities were evident from his early years in football, and he has rightfully earned the title of the player with the most goals in the history of the sport, according to Guinness World Records.

In short, Pelé’s exceptional talent and achievements on the field, including his World Cup wins and record-breaking goal scoring, make him the greatest player in the history of Brazil.

Career Statistics in Brazil Team:

YearAppsGoals
1957–1971 9277

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