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Best Brazilian midfielders of all time

Thursday21 January 2021 | 18:30
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The national football team of Brazil represents Brazil in international men's football and is governed by the Brazilian Confederation of Football (CBF), Brazil's governing body for football. They have been a member of FIFA since 1923 and, since 1916, a member of CONMEBOL.

Its capital is Brasília and Sao Paulo is its most populous city. Brazil has a lot of stars, but now we want to consider  the all-time best Brazilian midfielders.

Who are the

Best Brazilian Midfielders of All Time

? Brazil has had an abundance of amazing football players over the years. We have so far talked about the

best Brazilian Midfielders ever

, but enough of strikers or goal scorers, what about

all-time best-ever Brazilian midfielders

?  After considering

the greatest Brazilian footballers of all time

 now we want to answer these questions.

Brazil's most popular sport is football. According to the FIFA World Rankings, the Brazilian men's national team is ranked among the best in the world and has won the World Cup tournament a record five times.

Brazil has hosted many high-profile major sporting competitions, including the FIFA World Cup in 1950 and the FIFA World Cup in 2014, and the Copa América in 2019. The circuit of São Paulo, Autódromo José Carlos Pace, hosts the annual Brazilian Grand Prix.

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The List of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time

Before we get into the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion, we will have a brief look at the foundation and honors of the Brazil team.

Brazil honours

The Brazil national football team has achieved many honors and achievements throughout its glorious history. Among these honors we can mention:

FIFA World Cup:

  • Winners

    : 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002

South American Championship / Copa América:

  • Winners

    : 1919, 1922, 1949, 1989, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2007, 2019

FIFA Confederations Cup:

  • Winners

    : 1997, 2005, 2009, 2013

Panamerican Championship:

  • Winners

    : 1952, 1956

CONCACAF Gold Cup:

  • Runners-up

    : 1996, 2003

Summer Olympics: 

  • Gold Medalists

    : 2016

Pan American Games:

  • Gold Medalists

    : 1963, 1975 (shared), 1979, 1987

CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament:

  • Winners

    : 1968, 1971, 1976, 1984, 1987, 1996, 2000

The first player in the list of

Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time

in our opinion is Dunga:

Dunga

One of the Best ever Brazilian Midfielders is Dunga

  • Full name

    : Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri

  • Date of birth:

    October 31, 1963 (age 57)

  • Place of birth

    : Ijuí, Brazil

  • Height

    : 1.76 m 

  • Position

    ): Defensive midfielder

Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri is a Brazilian football manager and former professional player who played as a defensive midfielder (born October 31, 1963), widely known as Dunga. Brazil won the 1994 FIFA World Cup under his captaincy and he lifted the World Cup trophy.

Dunga played 91 times for Brazil internationally, scoring six goals. In 1983, during the FIFA U-20 World Cup, his international career began. The young Brazilian team captained Dunga and won the tournament against Argentina in the final.

After a mediocre tournament and the eventual elimination of the squad in the second round by arch-rivals Argentina, Dunga was a starter for Brazil at the 1990 FIFA World Cup, during which he was considered more accountable than his teammates for the team's worst campaign at a World Cup since 1966.

In the years which followed, Because of his allegedly "thuggish" style of playing, he will often be attacked by the Brazilian press.

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion is Zizinho:

Zizinho

One of the Best Brazilian Midfielders ever is Zizinho

  • Full name:

    Thomaz Soares da Silva

  • Date of birth:

    14 September 1921

  • Place of birth:

    São Gonçalo, Brazil

  • Date of death:

    8 February 2002 (aged 80)

  • Place of death:

    Niterói, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.69 m 

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder

He was born in Niterói, Rio de Janeiro, and played for teams such as Flamengo, Bangu, São Paulo FC, Chilean Audax Italiano, and others.

He is known as Flamengo's first idol, a club he defended - winning the state championships in 1942, 1943, and 1944 - before he was moved to Bangu just before the beginning of the World Cup of 1950.

He supported Brazil to advance to the final during the 1950 World Cup, but their sudden 2-1 loss to Uruguay tarnished his image. For his national team, Zizinho starred a total of 53 games, scoring 30 goals.

He turned down the CBF's last-minute invites to first represent the 1954 World Cup Squad and then the 1958 squad, citing on both occasions that it would be unacceptable to make room for the player to be cut at the last minute.

Pelé always said that the best player he'd ever seen was Zizinho. He was a full player. He played in midfield, he scored goals in attack, he was able to mark, head and cross.

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion is Roberto Rivelino:

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Roberto Rivelino

One of the all-time Best Brazilian Midfielders is Roberto Rivelino:

  • Full name:

    Roberto Rivellino

  • Date of birth:

    1 January 1946 (age 75)

  • Place of birth:

    São Paulo, SP, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.69 m 

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder

Roberto Rivellino is a Brazilian football pundit and former footballer (also Rivelino, Brazilian Portuguese; born 1 January 1946). He was one of the stars of the 1970 FIFA World Cup-winning squad in Brazil.

Rivellino now works for Brazilian TV Cultura as a pundit. The son of Macchiagodena (Isernia) Italian immigrants, he was renowned for his big mustache, bending free kicks, long-range shooting, long-passing accuracy, vision, near ball control, and dribbling ability. 

"He is a perfected football pass "flip snap," notably repeated by Romário, Mágico González, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent decades.

Rivellino was a central member of the 1970 FIFA World Cup-winning squad in Brazil, which is sometimes cited as the best team ever in the World Cup.

Rivellino was stationed on the left side of midfield wearing the number 11 jersey and scored 3 goals, including the strong bending free-kick against Czechoslovakia, which gained him the Mexican fans' nickname "Prada Atómica" (Atomic Kick).

In the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, Rivellino also competed, finishing in fourth and third place, respectively. 

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion is Paulo Roberto Falcao:

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Paulo Roberto Falcao

One of the

All-time Best Brazilian Midfielders

is Paulo Roberto Falcao

  • Full name:

    Paulo Roberto Falcão

  • Date of birth:

    6 October 1953 (age 67)

  • Place of birth:

    Abelardo Luz, Brazil

  • Height;

    1.83 m

  • Position(s);

    Midfielder

Paulo Roberto Falcão (born 16 October 1953), or simply Falcão, is a retired footballer and football manager from Brazil. He is widely regarded as one of the best players in São Paulo's international and Roma history and is unanimously regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time, especially at its peak in the 1980s. 

Falcão, along with Toninho Cerezo, Zico, Eder, and Socrates, played in the midfield of the 1982 Brazil side, widely seen as one of the best teams not to win the World Cup.

As Brazil defeated Soviet Union 2-1, he began all the tournaments, scoring the last goal as Brazil then defeated Scotland 4-1, and with another goal against New Zealand in the 4-0 draw.

His team won a 3-1 victory over World Champions Argentina in the 2nd phase of the World Cup, ensuring that the Brazilians only needed a draw in their next game against Italy to progress to the semi-finals.

In this clash, Brazil was battered by a Paolo Rossi hat trick after twice equalizing, as Italy won 3-2. With a drive from the edge of the field, Falcão got the second equalizing goal for Brazil against his adopted country.

He was said to be so distraught after the match that he decided to give up football. He managed to get a call to the Brazil 1986 World Cup team, mostly on merit, after muddling through a nondescript season for his club (although he helped to win the São Paulo State Championship in 1985).

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfilders of all time in our opinion is Gerson de Oliveira Nunes:

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Gerson de Oliveira Nunes

One of the

Best ever Brazilian Midfielders

is Paulo Roberto Falcao

  • Full name:

    Gérson de Oliveira Nunes

  • Date of birth:

    11 January 1941 (age 80)

  • Place of birth:

    Niterói, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.72 m

  • Position(s):

    idfielder

Gérson de Oliveira Nunes is a retired footballer from Brazil who played as a midfielder, usually referred to as Gérson (Portuguese pronunciation: nicknamed Canhotinha de euros).

He has won several national titles for Flamengo, Botafogo, São Paulo, and Fluminense club sides. He is generally accepted as being The "the brain" behind the 1970 FIFA World Cup-winning Brazilian football team in Mexico.

Gérson is considered one of the greatest passengers in the history of the World Cup. While he did not play well in 1966, in the 1970 tournament he was the mastermind behind the entire Brazilian national team.

In that edition of the World Cup, in that Brazilian team, and the best player in the 4-1 win over Italy in the final, he is considered the best passer and midfielder.

Overall, he played for Brazil 70 times, scoring his country's 14 goals, including one in the 1970 World Cup final. 

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion is Kaka:

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Kaka

One of the Best Brazilian Midfielders ever is kaka

  • Full name:

    Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite

  • Date of birth:

     22 April 1982 (age 38)

  • Place of birth:

    Gama, Federal District, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.86 m

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder

Commonly referred to as Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite (Brazilian Portuguese; born 22 April 1982), is a former professional footballer from Brazil who played as an attacking midfielder for A.C. Milan.

A time marked by his imaginative passes from midfield, goal scoring, and dribbles, Kaká is generally considered one of his generation's greatest players.

One of the players who, with the club and international achievement, won the FIFA World Cup, the UEFA Champions League, and the Ballon d'Or.

Kaka was appointed for the 2001 FIFA World Youth Championship, but in the quarter-finals, the Brazilians smashed Ghana. Several months later, in a friendly match against Bolivia on 31 January 2002, he made his debut for the senior Brazil team.

He was part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning team of Brazil in Korea/Japan, but only played 25 minutes, all of which on 13 June was in the 5-2 first-round victory over Costa Rica. 

Kaká was the captain of the 2003 CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2003, where Brazil finished as runner-up to Mexico, playing with its under-23 side. During the tournament, he scored three goals.

The next player in the list of

Best Brazilian midfielders of all time

in our opinion is Socrates:

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Socrates

One of the Best ever Brazilian Midfielders is Paulo Roberto Falcao

  • Full name:

    Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira

  • Date of birth:

    19 February 1954

  • Place of birth

    : Belém, Pará, Brazil

  • Date of death:

    4 December 2011 (aged 57)

  • Place of death:

    São Paulo, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.92 m

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder

A Brazilian footballer who played as an attacking midfielder was Sócrates Brasileiro Sampaio de Souza Vieira de Oliveira, (19 February 1954-4 December 2011), simply known as Sócrates.

The pseudonym "Doctor Socrates" earned him his medical degree and his political awareness, along with the style and content of his plays.

Between May 1979 and June 1986, Sócrates was capped 60 times for Brazil, scoring 22 goals. At the 1982 FIFA World Cup, he captained the national team, and also played in the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

He scored twice in the latter edition, starting with the game's only goal in the group stage against Spain.[9] In the round-of-16, he added another 4-0 victory over Poland, He shot his penalty kick without running; he attempted to score it in the same manner against France in the next contest, but had his shooting attempt stopped by goalkeeper Joël Bats; France finally advanced to the semi-finals. 

In the 1979 and 1983 Copa América tournaments, Sócrates also represented his country. He played in the latter is only one match, the second leg of the final against Uruguay (1-1 home draw, 1-3 overall loss). 

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfielders of all time in our opinion is Didi:

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Didi

One of the

Brazilian Greatest Midfielders ever

is didi

  • Full name:

    Waldyr Pereira

  • Date of birth:

    8 October 1928

  • Place of birth:

    Campos dos Goytacazes, RJ, Brazil

  • Date of death:

    12 May 2001 (aged 72)

  • Place of death:

    Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.72 m

  • Position(s):

    Midfielder

Waldyr Pereira, better known as Didi, was a footballer from Brazil who played from 8 October 1928 to 12 May 2001 as a midfielder or as a forward.

He played in three FIFA World Cups (1954, 1958, and 1962), winning the latter two, and was awarded the Golden Ball for his success in the 1958 competition, given to the best player in the game.

His greatest accomplishment came at the FIFA World Cup in 1958, where he was a tournament player. He masterminded the first of his two FIFA World Cup victories for Brazil from midfield.

He scored 20 goals in 68 international matches, including a dozen using his signature free-kicks.

True Madrid of Spain signed him in 1959. He played just 19 matches with 6 goals for the Spaniards despite his great popularity during the 1958 FIFA World Cup, and frequently clashed with team leader Alfredo Di Stéfano, who felt insulted by the break in the interest of the fans with this newcomer; His departure from the club was precipitated by this circumstance.

He wanted to become a coach after success at the 1962 FIFA World Cup.

The next player in the list of Best Brazilian Midfilders of all time in our opinion is Ronaldinho:

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Ronaldinho

One of the all-time Best Brazilian Midfielders

is Ronaldinho:

  • Full name

    :Ronaldo de Assis Moreira

  • Date of birth:

    21 March 1980 (age 40)

  • Place of birth:

    Porto Alegre, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.82 m

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder, winger

A former Brazilian professional footballer and current spokesperson for Barcelona, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980), generally known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho or simply Ronaldinho played as an attacking midfielder, but he was used as a winger as well.

In 1997, Ronaldinho was part of Brazil's first team to win the FIFA U-17 World Championship, held in Egypt, where his first goal in the first group match was a penalty against Austria, which Brazil claimed 7-0.

As Brazil scored a record of 21 goals by just conceding 2, Ronaldinho finished with two goals and was given the Bronze Ball trophy.  In terms of international competition, 1999 was a busy year for Ronaldinho.

He appeared for the first time in the South American Youth Championship, where he scored three goals in nine games and helped the U20s achieve third place.

Then Ronaldinho took part in the FIFA World Youth Championship in Nigeria that same year, scoring his first goals during the last group match of Brazil.

He scored two first-half goals in the round of 16 in a 4-0 victory over Croatia, and ended with three goals as Uruguay defeated Brazil in the quarter-finals.

The next player in the list of

Best Brazilian midfilders of all time

in our opinion is zico;

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Zico

One of the Brazilian Greatest Midfielders ever

is zico.

  • Full name:

    Arthur Antunes Coimbra

  • Date of birth:

    3 March 1953 (age 67)

  • Place of birth

    : Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height:

    1.72 m

  • Position(s):

    Attacking midfielder

Arthur Antunes Coimbra, born in Rio de Janeiro on 3 March 1953, is a retired footballer and Brazilian coach who played as an attacking midfielder.

He was an imaginative playmaker, also dubbed the "White Pelé" with exceptional technical ability, vision, and an eye for goal, who is known to be one of the most clinical finishers and finest passers ever, as well as one of the greatest players of all time.

Zico nearly gave up on his career following an episode linked to Brazil's national football team. In the 1972 Summer Olympics South American Qualifier, he made his global debut, playing 5 matches and scoring the qualifying goal against Argentina.

Despite this reality, he was not called to the games in Munich. He was deeply disappointed and told his dad, dismayed, that he decided to avoid playing soccer.

He was also absent from Flamengo training for 10 days, and his brothers later persuaded him otherwise.

In the 1978 World Cup opening group match against Sweden, in the final minute of the match, Zico headed a corner kick into the net, seemingly breaking a 1-1 tie.However, the Welsh referee Clive Thomas disallowed the goal in a decision that became notorious, stating that he had sounded the whistle to end the match when the ball was already in the air from a corner.

He scored on a penalty in a 3-0 victory over Peru in the second round. Zico ultimately won the tournament's bronze medal for Brazil, beating Italy in the third-place final. In the 1979 Copa América, Zico also shared another bronze medal for Brazil.

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source: SportMob