Friday, May 24, 2024

Who is the Best Brazilian forward of all time?

Who is the best Brazilian forward of all time? It’s a tough question because each candidate has their unique style and achievements. Denílson dazzles with fancy footwork, Bebeto breaks records with powerful plays, Tostão scores in tight spaces, and Roberto Firmino orchestrates beautiful attacks. But who deserves the crown as the greatest?

Let’s take a passionate journey through the history of Brazilian football, exploring the legacies of these legends and celebrating the essence of their attacking tradition. Get ready, football fans, as we try to answer the timeless question: who is the undisputed king of Brazilian forwards?

5. Tostão

  • Date of Birth (Age): 25 January 1947 (76)
  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 7+1⁄2 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

At the fifth spot among the best Brazilian forwards, we find Tostão. Despite his smaller size and slim build, he wasn’t great in the air and lacked pace, but he made up for it with his intelligence and hard work on the field. Tostão stood out for his goal-scoring ability, relying on anticipation and precise timing in the penalty area.

He was considered one of the world’s best during his prime. He showcased excellent technique, balance, and dribbling skills. Beyond scoring goals, he contributed with numerous assists, displaying vision, creativity, and precise passing. Tostão’s work rate was also notable, often dropping back into midfield to retrieve the ball and initiate attacks.

Tostão spent most of his 11-year career with Cruzeiro and represented Brazil in two World Cups, winning the 1970 tournament. He formed a formidable offensive partnership with Pelé in the national team.

His versatility was a key asset, allowing him to play in various attacking and midfield positions, including as an attacking midfielder, second striker, left winger, or even as an out-and-out striker.

4. Roberto Firmino

  • Date of Birth (Age): 2 October 1991 (32)
  • Height: 1.81 m (5 ft 11 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

Ranked fourth among the best Brazilian forwards is Roberto Firmino. At the peak of his career, he was considered one of the greatest strikers globally, known for his clinical finishing, impressive technical skills, and exceptional work rate.

Firmino speed, close control, and vision made him effective in various positions. Under manager Jürgen Klopp at Liverpool, Firmino started as a left winger but was later used more centrally, often described as a False 9. In recent seasons, especially from 2020–21 onward, he has been deployed as a central attacking midfielder in a 4–2–3–1 formation, with added pressing responsibilities.

Firmino, often referred to as the “engine” of Liverpool’s counter-pressing system, formed a formidable attacking trio with Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mané. Despite leaving Liverpool in 2023 after eight years, Firmino remains a cult hero at the club.

He made his international debut for Brazil in November 2014 and represented the nation in several Copa América tournaments and the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

3. Gabriel Jesus

  • Date of Birth (Age): 3 April 1997 (26)
  • Height: 1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

At the third spot among the best Brazilian forwards is Gabriel Jesus. Known for his versatility, he can play as a center forward, striker, false 9, inside forward, winger, or attacking midfielder. Jesus is recognized for his speed, technical skills, dribbling ability, creativity, finishing, movement, and strong work ethic.

Former Brazilian striker Ronaldo and Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola have praised his abilities, with Guardiola considering him the “best Forward” among the players he has worked with.

In 2016, he helped Palmeiras secure their first national league title in 22 years, earning him the Bola de Ouro. He joined Manchester City in January 2017, winning multiple Premier League titles, EFL Cups, and an FA Cup. In July 2022, he moved to Arsenal in a £45 million deal.

He has been part of Brazil’s squads in the FIFA World Cups of 2018 and 2022, as well as the Copa América in 2019 and 2021, winning the latter tournament.

2. Denílson

  • Date of Birth (Age): 24 August 1977 (46)
  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

Ranked second among the best Brazilian forwards is Denílson. A highly creative and technically gifted left-footed player, he was particularly known for his exceptional dribbling skills, utilizing feints like the step-over to outmaneuver opponents.

Despite his talent, Denílson faced criticism for his lack of goal-scoring ability, failing to live up to the potential he showed early in his career.

Throughout his 17-year career, Denílson played predominantly for São Paulo and Real Betis, where he became the world’s most expensive player in 1998. His football journey also took him to teams in five other countries.

Denílson earned over 60 caps for Brazil, making his full debut before turning 20. He represented the nation in six international tournaments, including two World Cups, with Brazil winning the 2002 edition. Denílson’s legacy is marked by his dazzling dribbling skills on the field.

1. Bebeto

  • Date Of Birth (Age): 16 February 1964 (59)
  • Height: 1.78 m (5 ft 10 in)
  • Position(s): Forward

Taking the top spot among the best Brazilian forwards is Bebeto. Widely regarded as one of Brazil’s greatest Forwards, Bebeto was known for his prolific goal-scoring, excellent finishing, and unwavering determination. Despite facing criticism for being injury-prone and his character, he showcased remarkable consistency throughout his career.

Physically not imposing due to his lack of height and slender physique, Bebeto compensated with speed, opportunism, offensive movement, and intelligence to outmaneuver defenders in tight spaces. With 39 goals in 75 appearances, he is the sixth-highest goal-scorer for Brazil.

Bebeto played a crucial role in Brazil’s success at the 1989 Copa América, where he was the top scorer, and the 1994 FIFA World Cup, forming a formidable strike partnership with Romário to secure Brazil’s record fourth World Cup title.

Bebeto’s contributions extended beyond the pitch as he entered politics, getting elected to the Legislative Assembly of Rio de Janeiro in the 2010 Brazilian general elections. His achievements include winning the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and earning Olympic silver and bronze medals at the 1988 and 1996 Summer Olympic Games, respectively. In 1989, he was named South American Footballer of the Year.

Known for his vision, technical skills, close ball control, and ability to provide assists, Bebeto initially played as a playmaking attacking midfielder or supporting striker. Later in his career, he excelled as a striker or center-forward, showcasing his eye for goal. His influence on and off the field earned him recognition as one of the Ambassadors of the 2014 FIFA World Cup and Rio 2016 in Brazil.

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