Here Sports Pundit looks at the best 10 footballers hailing from Brazil of all time.
Brazil’s highest scorer in the world cups, Ronaldo may have struggled with injury in the latter part of his career, but he had already done more than he needed to, to bring himself to this list. One of the greats of this game, Ronaldo should known when to retire though.
09. Nilton Santos
A left-back who began the concept of playing as a winger, Nilton Santos is one of the fastest and best attacking full-backs of all time. He changed the way the game was played and, at times, went against his coach’s regular advice of staying back to defend.
He was Italian by birth but Brazilian by choice, and what a Brazilian at that. Rivelino was one of the most skilled players out there, someone who ran the play with his fantastic touches. Things that players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldinho do today, on the football pitch, Rivelino invented them.
At one time, the highest paid player in the world, Falcao is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world, all time. As part of a midfield lineup that also had Zico, Eder, Socrates and Cerezo, Falcao not just held his own but outshone his partners almost all the time. However, it was for his lack of presence and his ability to disappear every now and then, that puts him lower down on this list.
06. Djalma Santos
Only one of two players to be included as part of three world cup all-star teams, Djalma Santos was a defender and a genius, from Brazil. He won two world cups and is widely considered as the greatest right-back of all time. Despite being primarily defensive, Santos began the idea of foraging ahead, something that was taken up later by the likes of Nilton Santos.
A heavy drinker, a chain smoker and about 6 feet 4 inches tall – not the ideal setting for a midfielder who was skilled enough to be the best in the world. Socrates was tough and powerful, despite his lanky build, and was known to be the main midfield man when Falcao, Zico, Eder and Cerezo stood next to him. To captain the greatest team in the world is truly an honour that is handed to the best, and that is what he was.
04. Carlos Alberto
He didn’t just read the game well, he also mastered the art of dribbling, tackling and playmaking, while playing as a defender. A member of the 20th century world team, Carlos Alberto was one of the best stars the game has witnessed.
Known as the White Pele, Zico would have easily jumped over the original version had he got a world cup title to his name. A fantastic dribbler, finisher, free-kick taker and shooter, Zico had everything you needed to become the greatest footballer in the world. And he was!
He stands way above anybody else with three world cup titles and over 1200 goals to his credit. Despite accusations of playing in inferior leagues and playing with world cup winning teams that would win with or without him in the side, Pele has been one of the best strikers the game has seen. Despite the allegations he comes in at number 2 only because the reason he scored so many has to be number one.
When it comes to football, there was no better exponent of the game than Garrincha. He was born with a damaged spine, a shorter left-leg and a bent right-leg, yet he went on to be the best footballer in a team of greats. Outshining everybody, Garrincha single-handedly took Brazil to the 1962 world cup triumph and that took some doing, considering the talent in that side.
That Pele never had a good relationship with Garrincha and that Garrincha himself led a life of alcoholism & frivolous escapades, is a sign of how a poor image can actually ruin an unmatchable playing career.