15 Best Brazilian Football Clubs of All Time

What is the best football club in Brazilian League?

Although it is less popular than most European football leagues, the quality of Brazilian football league absolutely cannot be underestimated. Based on the assessment done by IFFHS, Brazilian League ranked second as the best football league in the world, just below the Spanish La Liga.

The highest division in the Brazilian League today is called Campeonato Brasileiro Série A. The competition consists of 20 teams who play against each other twice, home and away. Unlike the European leagues, the Brazilian league starts at the beginning of the year (around March-April) and ends at the end of the year.

In this article, I presented a list of 15 best clubs in the history of Brazil. The list was made by considering the number of trophies won and the quality of the footballers that ever played for the clubs.

15. Atlético Paranaense

Atletico Paranaense is located in Coritiba and established in 1924. Though it has long history, the club only won one Brazilian League title in 2001. Prior to joining the national competition of Brazilian League, Atletico Paranaense competed in local competition called Paraná State Championship. The great performances and the dominance of the club in the tournament earned it a nickname "Furacão" or "hurricanes," as it always destroys their enemies' defense by using offensive and extra-aggressive playing style.

14. Guarani

The heyday of Guarani in Brazilian League has been gone for a long time. The club was only ever won Brazilian Serie A title in 1978 and currently is competing in Serie C, the third division of Brazilian football competition. When it became the champion of the nation, Guarani was reinforced by many talented players who were part of Brazil squad at the 1978 World Cup such as Amaral, Carlos, Jorge Mendonca, and Valdir Peres. Other well-known players who played for Guarani is Careca, the number-one Brazil national team striker in the 1980s.

13. Atlético Mineiro

Atletico Miniero only won one Brazilian League title in 1971, but in the last three years its reputation rises rapidly. In 2013, Atletico Miniero even claimed the Copa Libertadores trophy. This isn't a surprising fact, considering that the club consisted of many talented players such as Ronaldinho, Diego Tardelli, and Jo. Atletico Miniero is an arch rival of Cruzeiro, and has given birth to some great footballers such as Claudio Taffarel, Gilberto Silva, and Toninho Cerezo.

12. Bahia

Just as Guarani, Bahia best day has gone for a long time. The club that was based in the Arena Fonte Nova stadium won the Brazilian League twice, the last time in 1988. Since 2000, the club is facing great difficulties in surviving in the top division, even several times were relegated to the lower division. One thing that will always be remembered in the history of Bahia is their success in winning the Brazilian League in 1959. At that time, the club managed to beat Santos -a favorite team that consisted of many star players such as Pele, Gilmar, and Coutinho- in the final.

11. Grêmio

Since it was founded in 1903, Gremio has claimed two Brazilian League titles and four times became the runner-up of the competition. The club also won the Libertadores Cup twice, in fact it even won the Intercontinental Cup after beating Europe's Champions League winner, Hamburger SV in 1983. Gremio's last victory in Brazilian League happened in 1996, under the leadership of a legendary coach Luiz Felipe Scolari. Not only that, Gremio also gave birth to one of the best playmakers in the history of football, Ronaldinho.

10. Botafogo

Botafogo is one of the 13 clubs who pioneered the first professional football competition in Brazil. The club was founded in 1904 and won the Brazilian league twice. Botafogo is known as one of the strongest clubs in Brazil in the 1960s, when the club was filled by star players such as Jairzinho, Nilton Santos, and Garrincha. The club's all-time top scorer record is held by Quarentinha, a Brazilian striker who netted 306 goals in 444 matches.

9. Cruzeiro

Cruzeiro is the Brazilian league champions in 2013. Since its founding in 1921, the club has won three league titles and two Copa Libertadores. The success of the club won in winning the Brazilian Serie A in 2013 could not be separated from the role of Carlos Oliviera as a coach. The club managed to win the competition with a difference of 11 points from the second place, when there was absolutely no player who stood out in the competition. The all-time top scorer of Cruzeiro is Tostao, a Brazilian striker who scored 249 goals during his career at the club in the 1963 to 1972 period.

8. Internacional

Internacional is a Brazilian club based in Porto Alegre and known as an eternal rivals of Gremio. The club has claimed three Brazilian League titles, the last time was in 1979. Nevertheless, Internacional has consistently occupied the top spots in the Brazilian league in the last decade, and even managed to win two Copa Libertadores trophies (2006 and 2010) as well as one FIFA Club World Cup trophy in 2006 after beating Barcelona in the final match. There are many Brazilian and international soccer stars who played for this club, such as Dunga, Diego Forlan and Sergio Goycochea.

7. Fluminense

Fluminense won four Brazilian Serie A titles, the last time in 2012. The club is based at the Maracana stadium, which is once used as a stadium for the final match of the 1950 World Cup. The club also has given birth to several famous Brazilian stars, such as the legendary defender Carlos Alberto and an agile left-wingback who is currently the mainstay of Real Madrid, Marcelo. Waldo Machado is the top scorer of all time of Fluminense with a total record of 319 goals.

6. Vasco da Gama

Vasco da Gama is named after a Portuguese explorer. The club won four league titles and one Copa Libertadores trophy. One of the most remembered Vasco da Gama's matches happened in the Copa Mercosur tournament in 2000. In the final match, Vasco da Gama who was behind 0-3 against Palmeiras successfully reversed the situation and finally won by a score of 4-3 due to the excellent performance of Romario. The game is often referred as the most dramatic match in the history of Brazilian football.

5. Corinthians

Since the 1990s, Corinthians transformed into a new power in the world of football in Brazil. The club has won five Brazilian Serie A titles, first time was in 1990 and the last time in 2011. Not only that, the club also claimed one Copa Libertadores trophy and two FIFA Club World Cups. Since the first time it was founded, the club is filled by a lot of star players such as Roberto Carlos, Dida, Socrates, Rivelino and Carlos Tevez.

4. Flamengo

Based on a survey conducted in 2010, Flamengo is the most popular club in Brazil, with more than 39 million fans. Along with Santos, Sao Paulo, Internacional and Cruzeiro; Flamengo is a club that has never been relegated from the highest division of Brazilian football league. Flamengo's best period occurred in 1981 when it won the Libertadores Cup. In the same year, Flamengo managed to be the best club in the world after beating Liverpool 3-0 in the Intercontinental Cup final. Flamengo's success at that time cannot be separated from Zico, a Brazilian playmaker who became the mainstay of the club.

3. São Paulo

Sao Paulo is a Brazilian club that won the most international trophies. In total, the club claimed 12 international trophies, including three Copa Libertadores, two Intercontinental Cups and one FIFA Club World Club. In domestic competition, the club won six Brazilian League top division. Two of the Sao Paulo's biggest stars are Rogerio Ceni, a goalkeeper who scored the most goals in the world; and Leonidas, the top scorer of the 1938 World Cup.

2. Palmeiras

With eight league titles that they won, Palmeiras is recognized as one of the most successful clubs in Brazilian football. However, the club last major trophy was claimed in 1999, in Copa Libertadores tournament. Due to his success in winning various domestic and international titles, Palmeiras was awarded as the Best Team of the 20th Century of Brazil by the FPF. Palmeiras' most notable player is Marcos, Brazil's number one goalkeeper in the 2002 World Cup whose jersey number, 12, is retired by the club.

1. Santos

Santos has won numerous trophies, including eight Brazilian League titles, two Intercontinental Cups and three Copa Libertadores trophies. Santos is also the place where Pele spent most of his career as a professional footballer. Not only that, Santos has raised some great football stars such as Alex, Robinho, Diego Ribas, and Neymar.

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