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Best Brazilian Defenders of All Time

Saturday06 February 2021 | 4:30
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Although the yellow and blue jersey worn by the national team of Brazil is instantly recognizable all over the world, you might not know about the best Brazilian defenders of all time.

Brazil is the most prominent country in the field of football. Brazilian people live football. They give birth to their children, imagining the day they have become a professional footballer playing for the national team.

People are playing football on every street, no matter what age they are in. It would not be wrong to say that this sport is the most important thing in Brazilian people's lives. Brazil has the most number of players sent to other countries, as there are many more talented players in the country than the need, even though many local and domestic leagues are being held every year.

Moreover, so many of the legendary footballers of all time have been Brazilian, that has resulted in the national team's becoming the most decorated team of all countries with 5 World Cups, 9 Copa America titles, 4 Confederation cups and 4 Panamerican games trophies.

Although Brazilian football in renowned for skillful players who specialize in dribbling, attacking and scoring, no title can be achieved with a poor back line.

Here are the best Brazilian defenders of all time.

Brazilian defenders may be admired and well-known as the attackers, but they have played vital roles in winning the mentioned trophies with their national team, as well as their clubs.

Daniel Alves

  • Full name: Daniel Alves da Silva

  • Date of birth: 6 May 1983 (age 38)

  • Place of birth: Juazeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.72 m (5 ft 8 in)

  • Position(s): Right-back, attacking midfielder

Daniel Alves da Silva

, born 6 May 1983, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as either a right-back or a central midfielder for

São Paulo

and the

Brazil national team

.

Dani Alves is regarded as one of the best right backs of all time, and surely one of the greatest Brazilian defenders of all time. Alves is also one of the most remarkable football players since he is the most decorated player in the history of the sport with 41 trophies.

Alves is most famous for his luminous 8-year spell with

Barcelona

where he won 23 titles and played a very pivotal role in winning every one of them. Alves won 6

La Liga

titles, 5 Spanish Cups (Copa del Rey), 4 Spanish Super Cups, 3 Club World Cups, 3 UEFA Super Cups and 3 astonishing Champions League trophies with Blaugrana.

Moreover, he has made 391 appearances, scored 21 goals and provided 101 assists for Barcelona. He is deservedly considered as the best Barcelona right back of all time, where he made up a perfect duo with the legendary

Lionel Messi

in the right side of the pitch with the numerous assists he provided for the Argentinean.

Before joining Barcelona and starting a golden era, Alves had played for

Sevilla

for 6 years, where he came into prominence and helped them win 1 Spanish Cup, 1 Spanish Super Cup, 2 UEFA Cups (which is currently known as the Europa League) and 1 UEFA Super Cup. Eventually he left Barcelona in 2017 on a free transfer to spend a season in Turin, playing for

Juventus

, where he added 1 Copa Italia and 1

Serie A

title to his list of achievements.

Alves then joined PSG and claimed 2 League 1 trophies, 1 French Cup, 1 French League Cup and 2 French Super Cups with the loaded club. He returned to his country in 2020 and has played for Sau Paulo ever since. Furthermore, Alves had played in 118 matches for Brazilian national team and has won 2 Copa America trophies as well as 2 Confederation Cups.

Although he has not won the World Cup yet, he won the UNDER-20 world Cup trophy with Brazil in 2003.  Alves is renowned for his absolutely amazing stamina which allowed him to be constantly contributing to attacking phase, as well as being a great actual "defender".

He specializes in free-kicks and makes outstanding accurate crosses, which enable him to provide many brilliant assists. Moreover, he has excellent technique and control on the ball, so much that he is capable of playing in the midfield as well.

He is undoubtedly not only of the

best Brazilian defenders of all time

, but he is also one of the most notable players in the history of football.

Marcelo

  • Full name: Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior

  • Date of birth: 12 May 1988 (age 33)

  • Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Left back

Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior

, born 12 May 1988, known as Marcelo, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a left back for Spanish club

Real Madrid

and the Brazil national team.

Marcelo is widely known as one of the

all-time greatest Brazilian defenders

, and one of the best left backs ever. Marcelo has spent most of his professional career with Real Madrid, as he joined the club at the age of 18 in 2006 and never looked back.

Marcelo has won 5 La Liga titles, 4 Champions Leagues, 2 Copa del Rey trophies, 4 Spanish Super Cups, 4 FIFA Club World Cups and 3 UEFA Super cups with Los Blancos as a vital player. Moreover, he has provided 100 assists and scored 38 goals in a total of 517 appearances (and counting) for Real Madrid.

Marcelo has made 58 appearances for Brazilian national team and scored 6 goals since his debut in 2006. Marcelo has taken part in 2 World Cups and 2 Olympic games, won a Bronze medal in 2008, and a silver medal in 2012. He won the 2013 FIFA Confederations cup with Selecao.

In addition, Marcelo has been named in the France Football's team of the decade (2010-19) as the best left back of the decade. Moreover, he has been named in FIFPro World XI on 6 occasions, and was voted to be in the both of the 2 World Cups' dream teams that he has played in.

He is renowned to be one of the most incursive left backs in the world, as he commenced his career primarily as a winger, thus he is mainly known for his capabilities in attacking tasks rather than defense. As any Brazilian is expected to do, Marcelo has astounding control on the ball and with his great technique, has the ability to dribble past the other player in one-on-one battles.

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Regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time, his agility, pace combined with astonishing crosses have stood him out.

Luis Pereira

  • Full name: Luís Edimundo Pereira

  • Date of birth: 21 June 1949 (age 71)

  • Place of birth: Juazeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Centre back

Luís Edmundo Pereira, born 21 June 1949, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a center back with

S.E. Palmeiras

,

Atlético Madrid

, and the Brazilian national team.

Luis Edmundo Pereira is regarded as one of the

best Brazilian defenders of all time

. Although he has played for numerous clubs, his career is mainly remembered for his spells at S.E Palmeiras in Brazil, and Atletico Madrid in Europe.

The strong center back has played in 562 games for Palmeiras, scored 34 goals and won 2 Brazilian league titles in 1972 and 1973. He joined Atletico Madrid in 1974 and went on to represent the club on 171 occasions, as well as scoring 17 times.

Pereira helped the Spanish club secure 1 La Liga title and 1 Spanish Cup. Moreover, he has made 36 appearances for Brazil national team, including taking part in the 1974 World Cup where they reached the 4th place, and he became the first Brazilian to have ever been sent off in a world cup finals match, by receiving a red card in a match against the historic Netherlands, where they lost the match.

Regarded as Brazil's first "modern center back", Pereira was renowned for his strength, speed, amazing man-marking ability as well as his expertise in leading the back line.

Branco

  • Full name: Cláudio Ibrahim Vaz Leal

  • Date of birth: 4 April 1964 (age 57)

  • Place of birth: Bagé, Brazil

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Left back

Cláudio Ibrahim Vaz Leal, born 4 April 1964 in Bagé, Brazil, better known as Branco, is a Brazilian former footballer who played as a left back

Claudio Ibrahim Vaz Leal, commonly known as "Branco" is considered to be one of the

best Brazilian defenders in football history

. During his career, Branco played for many clubs both inside and outside of Brazil.

Branco played for Internacional, Fluminense, Gremio, Flamengo and Corinthians in Brazil, Brescia and Genoa in Italy,

FC Porto

in Portugal,

Middlesbrough

in England and MetroStars in the United States; however, he was very overweight and sluggish and never meet the expectations in the English and American clubs.

He managed to win a Brazilian League (Serie A) title with Fluminense in 1984 alongside 3 annual championship of Rio de Janeiro state. 1 championship of the state of "Rio Grande do Sul' with Gremio and one other with Internacional were his other achievements in his homeland.

Moreover, Branco won a Portuguese League and a Portuguese Super Cup with Porto. Furthermore, he has made 72 appearances for Brazilian national team, and claimed the Copa America in 1989 as well as the 1994 World Cup.

Regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders ever, he stood out for his proficiency in taking free-kicks, as if he could choose the exact place he wanted the ball to end up.

Aldair

  • Full name: Aldair Nascimento dos Santos

  • Date of birth: 30 November 1965 (age 56)

  • Place of birth: Ilhéus, Brazil

  • Height: 1.82 m (6 ft 0 in)

  • Position(s): Centre back

Aldair Nascimento dos Santos, born 30 November 1965, known simply as Aldair, is a retired Brazilian footballer who played as a defender, and who was part of the Brazil national team that won the 1994 FIFA World Cup.

Aldair is regarded as one of the best

A.S Roma

defenders ever, and one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time. He has played for Flamengo,

Benfica

, Roma, Genoa, Rio Branco and Murata during his career, but he is mostly famous for his bright spell at Roma, where he played for 13 seasons and became their captain.

Aldair won 1 Serie A title, 1 Coppa Italia and 1 Italian Super Cup with Giallorossi, played in in 436 matches and scored 20 goals. He was also selected in the 2000 FIFA World XI due to his performances with Roma. Moreover, Aldair is the most-capped foreign player in the history of the Italian club, and his number had been retired before Strootman wore the number 6 in 2013, with Aldairs's approval.

Before joining Roma in 1990, he had played for Flamengo, where he won the State championship of "Campeonato Craioca" (Rio de Janeiro) in 1986. Aldair had also a 1-year spell at the Portuguese club Benfica where he won the Portuguese Super Cup and reached the final match of the European Cup, however, they lost to

Milan

.

Later on, he played for Genoa, Rio Branco and the Sanmarinese club,

Murata

, where he won 1 League title. Furthermore, Aldair has compensated for his lack of international trophies with his clubs, by winning 1 World Cup, 2 Copa America titles and 1 Confederations cup with Brazil.

He has taken part in 3 World Cups, won the 1994 one and reached the 1998 final match where they were beaten by France. He has also earned an Olympics Bronze medal in 1996. Aldair has played in a total of 81 games for Selecao and has scored 3 goals. He won the 2008 golden foot, an award which is given to the players above the age of 28.

Regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian defenders of all time, he was renowned for his versatility, vision and chance-creating abilities with his expertise in long balls.

Lucio

  • Full name: Lucimar Ferreira da Silva

  • Date of birth: 8 May 1978 (age 43)

  • Place of birth: Planaltina, Federal District, Brazil

  • Height: 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)

  • Position(s): Centre-back

Lucimar Ferreira da Silva, born 8 May 1978, commonly known as Lúcio, is a Brazilian former footballer who played as a central defender.

Lucio is widely known as one of the

best Brazilian defenders in football history

. Although he has played for a number of different clubs, his career is mainly remembered for his time in

Bayer Leverkusen

, where he stayed for 3 years and reached the Champions League final,

Bayern Munich

, Where he played for 5 years, and

Inter Milan

, where he stayed for 3 years.

Lucio played for Bayern Munich from 2004 to 2009, and helped them secure 3 BundesLigas, 3 German Cups (DFB-Pokals) and 2 German League Cups. He joined Inter Milan in 2009, and was a part of the golden team that won the treble-the Serie A title, Coppa Italia and Champions League- in 2010. He went on to win a FIFA World Cup and 1 Italian Super Cup with Black and Blues as well.

Lucio joined Juventus in 2012, and even though he played in only 4 matches for Bianconeri, one match in Serie A, 2 in Champions League and 1 in Italian Super Cup, he won the 2013 Serie A title and the Italian Super cup with Juventus because of his name being on the list. He went on to play for a couple of other clubs including one Indian one, until he declared his retirement in 2020.

Furthermore, Lucio is considered as one of the

best Brazilian defenders of all time

also due to his achievements with Brazilian National team, where he has made 105 appearances. In addition, Lucio won the 2002 World Cup and 2 Confederations cups in 2005 and 2009.

He was known for his tenacity, strong and tall stature, adeptness in the air and technique on the ball that enabled him to distribute the ball astonishingly. Moreover, he excelled in aerial battles and leadership abilities.

Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini

  • Full name: Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini

  • Date of birth: 7 June 1930

  • Place of birth: Itapira, Brazil

  • Date of death: 20 March 2014 (aged 83)

  • Place of death: São Paulo, Brazil

  • Height: 1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)

  • Position(s): Defender

Hilderaldo Luiz Bellini, 7 June 1930 – 20 March 2014, was a Brazilian footballer of Italian origin who played as a defender and was known in Brazil as one of the nation's most solid central defenders ever.

Bellini is indubitably one of the most symbolic iconic Brazilian players ever, and definitely one of the best Brazilian defenders ever. He is the first Brazilian captain to win the World cup in 1958. He lifted the trophy triumphantly into the air as the captain, and the act of lifting the cup was done for the first time, became a tradition and is being continued now as a symbol of victory.

An statue of Bellini in that pose  is erected outside of the Maracana Stadium as a tribute to him He won another World Cup in 1962, even though he was not given a game in the tournament. Moreover, he was also called up to the squad for 1966 World Cup. Bellini has played for

Vasco de Gama

, Sau Pauolo and Atletico Paranaese in his career.

He won the state of Rio de Janeiro championship thrice with Vasco de Gama, as well as one "Torneio Rio-Sau Paulo" and 1 "Copa Rio", which was the first intercontinental football clubs tournament with participating teams from Europe and South America and was hold only on 2 occasions in 1951 and 1952.

The "gentle Giant", as he saw himself, was a peaceful man off the field, but a combative hard-tackler powerful player on the pitch that is worthily regarded as one of the

all-time greatest Brazilian defenders

.

Carlos Alberto Torres

  • Full name: Carlos Alberto Torres

  • Date of birth: 17 July 1944

  • Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Date of death: 25 October 2016 (aged 72)

  • Place of death: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)

  • Position(s): Right-back

Carlos Alberto "Capita" Torres (17 July 1944 – 25 October 2016), also known as "O Capitão do Tri", was a Brazilian football player and manager who played as an attacking right-sided full-back or wing-back.

Carlos Alberto is widely regarded as one of the best right backs of all time, and one of the

best Brazilian defenders ever

. He captained Brazil in winning the 1970 World Cup, alongside scoring a goal in the final match that is said to be one of the best goals of the tournament's history.

Alberto played in 53 matches for Brazil and scored 8 goals. He Has played for Fluminense, Santos  and Flamengo in Brazil, as well as winning 4 domestic titles with Fluminense, and 6 trophies with Santons, including 4 1 Recopa Sudamericana, a tournament between the champions of the Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana- the two South America's main club competitions.

Moreover, he had a spell in the United States playing for NY Cosmos and California Surf, where he managed to win 4 NASL Soccer Bowl title with

New York Cosmos

. Furthermore, regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders ever.

Exclusive SPORTMOB video

Alberto was named in the 1970 WC all-star team, world team of the 20th century, second-best XI of all-time by France Football, and is an inductee in the Brazilian and national hall of fame. He was renowned for his outstanding tackling and anticipating the game abilities, as well as his excellent ball control, playmaking, vision and adeptness in dribbling.

Nilton Santos

  • Full name: Nílton dos Santos

  • Date of birth: 16 May 1925

  • Place of birth: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Date of death: 27 November 2013 (aged 88)

  • Place of death: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

  • Height: 1.84 m (6 ft 1⁄2 in)

  • Position(s): Left back

Nílton dos Santos, 16 May 1925 – 27 November 2013, was a Brazilian footballer who primarily played as a wingback. He was a member of the Brazil squads that won the 1958 and 1962 World Cups.

Nilton Dos Santos is widely regarded as one of the best left backs in the history of football, and one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time. He was a one-club player who stayed loyal to his club, Botafogo, for his entire career.

He represented the club in more than 700 matches and won 4 State of Rio de Janeiro (Campeonato Carioca) titles with them, as well as 2 Torneio Rio-Sau Paulo cups- a competition between Rio de Janeiro and Sau Paulo teams. 

Santos has made 75 appearances for Brazilian national team and was a pivotal player in winning 2 consecutive World Cups in 1958 and 1962. Moreover, he won the 1949 South American Championship-today known as the Copa America- and the Panamerican championship in 1952.

Furthermore, Santos was regarded as a pioneer in the left back position as he is said to be one of the first incursive full backs to make attacking runs up the field. In addition, he has been awarded many individual titles including being named in the 1958 WC all-star team, World team of the 20th century, placing 9th in the IFFHS (International federation of football history & statistics) list of best Brazilian players of the 20th century and being and inductee in Brazilian football museum hall of fame. Santos is unquestionably one of the

greatest Brazilian defenders of all time

.

Roberto Carlos

  • Full name: Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha

  • Date of birth: 10 April 1973 (age 47)

  • Place of birth: Garça, São Paulo, Brazil

  • Height: 1.68 m (5 ft 6 in)

  • Position(s): Left back

Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha, born 10 April 1973, commonly known as Roberto Carlos, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who now works as a football ambassador.

Roberto Carlos is considered as one of the best left backs in the history of football, and is indubitably one of the best Brazilian defenders ever. Carlos, known to have one of the strongest legs in football history, has played for several clubs.

Yet, his career is remembered for his time at Real Madrid, where he spent 11 glittering years and Brazilian national team. Carlos made 527 appearances for the Whites and helped them secure 4 La Liga titles, 3 Champions Leagues, 3 Spanish Super Cups, 2 Intercontinental cups and 1 UEFA Super cup.

Moreover, the legendary left back has scored 68 goals for Los Blancos and provided 88 assists. Moreover, he has won 2 Brazilian Serie A title with Palmeiras, and 2 Turkish Super Cups with

Fenerbahce

. Furthermore, Carlos is Brazilian national team's second-most capped player with 125 caps.

He has participated in 3 World cups, reaching the final match in 1998 and winning the cup in 2002, and was named in the all-star team of the tournament in both World Cups. He has also taken part in 4 Copa America tournaments and has won 2 of them.

In addition, Carlos won the 1997 Confederations cups, and claimed a Bronze medal in the 1996 Olympics with Selecao. He has been runner-up to the FIFA Best player of the year award in 1997 and the Ballon d'Or in 2002. Regarded as the most incursive left back in the history of football, he had extremely powerful and bending shots that could reach the speed of 169km/h.

He was also renowned for his expertise in taking long-shot free-kicks, as well as his astounding pace, dribbling skills. He was a physically strong player with the ability to cross the ball precisely and accelerate easily. He is deservedly one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time that will forever be remembered for the fans.

Djalma Santos

  • Full name: Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos

  • Date of birth: 27 February 1929

  • Place of birth: São Paulo, Brazil

  • Date of death: 23 July 2013 (aged 84)

  • Place of death: Uberaba, Brazil

  • Height: 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)

  • Position(s): Right back

Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos known simply as Djalma Santos (27 February 1929 – 23 July 2013) was a Brazilian footballer who started for the Brazil national team in four World Cups.

Djalma Santos is commonly known to be one of the all-time Brazilian defenders and one of the best right backs ever. Santos represented his country in 98 games, including taking part in 4 World Cups and winning 2 of them in 1958 and 1962.

He is one of the 3 players to have been named in the FIFA World Cup dream team on 3 occasions, as well as Philip Lahm and Franz Beckenbauer. He played for 3 clubs during his career; Portuguesa, Palmeiras and Atletico Paranaese. He won 2 Torneio Rio- Sau Paulo titles with Portuguesa and 1 With Palmeiras, as well as 6 other domestic championships with the latter.

Moreover, he has won the Panamerican cup on 1952 with Brazil, has been named in the magazine World Soccer World XI on 3 occasions, and was voted in the FIFA XI in 1963.

Regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders in football history, he is an inductee in the Brazilian football museum hall of fame due to his achievements and performances for his cubs and national team.

Cafu

  • Full name: Marcos Evangelista de Morais

  • Date of birth: 7 June 1970 (age 51)

  • Place of birth: Itaquaquecetuba, Brazil

  • Height:1.76 m (5 ft 9 in)

  • Position(s): Right back

Marcos Evangelista de Morais, born 7 June 1970, known as Cafu, is a Brazilian former professional footballer who played as a defender.

Cafu is regarded as one of the best right backs in the history of football, and one of the best all-time greatest Brazilian defenders. The legendary right back holds a number of records; he is the most Brazilian capped player with representing his national team in 142 games and he is the only player in the history of football who has played in 3 World Cup finals.

He has taken part in a total of 4 World Cups and won the cup twice in 1994 and 2002, with the latter being the captain and lifting the trophy. Moreover, Cafu has participated in 4 Copa America tournaments and claimed he title on 2 occasions in 1997 and 1999, as well as winning the Confederations Cup in 1997 with Selecao.

He has played for Sao Paulo, Zaragoza, Juventude, Palmeiras, Roma and Milan during his luminous career. Cafu won 3 Brazilian League title, 2 Copa Libertadores trophies and 2 Intercontinental cups with Sao Paulo before joining Zaragoza in 1995. He managed to win a UEFA Cup winners' Cup with the Spanish side.

After a short spell at Juventude and Palmeiras, Cafu joined AS Roma in 1997, made 218 appearances and secured 1 Serie A title and 1 Italian Super Cup with Giallorossi.

He moved to AC Milan in 2003 to reach the pinnacle of his club career, where he stayed for 5 years and played in 166 games, and played a key role in winning 1 further Serie A trophy, 1 UEFA Champions League, 1 Italian Super Cup, 1 FIFA Clubs World Cup and 2 UEFA Super Cups. Cafu is widely regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time due to his hard-working spirited style of play combined with his speed, intelligence, stamina and technique on the ball which enabled him to be an excellent ball distributor with precise crosses.

Some other defenders such as their national Team's current captain,

Thiago Silva

, and Maicon could also be on this list. However, it is no easy task to compile a list of the best football players from a country where almost every player is a star.

 

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