Top 15 Brazilian Defenders of All Time

Who is the best Brazilian defender ever?

In addition to having great midfielders and strikers, the strength of Brazil national football team also lies in its defensive players. Although the defenders don't show too glamorous, flashy performances compared to the attackers; they have extremely important roles in helping the country become one of the strongest football nations in the world.

Not only at the national team level, those Brazilian defenders are also successful at the club level. Some of them joined the strongest European clubs such as Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, ​​and many other great teams. They won a lot of team as well as individual awards in various competitions.

15. Alex

Alex is a central defender who had successful career at three different clubs of three different countries: Chelsea, PSV, and Paris Saint-Germain. This player has strong and tall body as well as powerful shooting power. Due to his physique and skills, Alex is nicknamed "The Tank." Throughout his career, he won three Eredivisie titles, one Premier League title, and a Ligue 1 title. Not only that, Alex also helped the national team of Brazil won the 2007 Copa America.

14. Roque Júnior

Roque Junior spent five years playing for Palmeiras in Brazilian League before moving to Europe in 2000. In Europe, he played for several clubs such as AC Milan, Leeds United, Duisburg, and Siena. Throughout his career, Roque Junior is known as a tough and strong central defender. He helped Milan win the Champions League 2002-2003 and had instrumental role in helping his country win the 2002 World Cup.

13. Marcelo

After the era of Roberto Carlos and Cafu, there are only few Brazilian wing-backs who show distinctive playing styles. Marcelo is one of the few players. His name became famous when he joined Real Madrid in 2007. Much like Roberto Carlos, Marcelo also plays as a left back and has high offensive ability. At Madrid, Marcelo so far has won three La Liga titles and one Copa del Rey trophy.

12. David Luiz

In the last two years, David Luiz is regarded as a defender with the most consistent performance in Chelsea. Not only reliable and strong in defense, Luiz also often scored important goals. He even became a major figure of Chelsea's back line when their captain, John Terry, was absent due to a long injury. At Chelsea, Luiz won a Champions League trophy and a Europa League trophy.

11. Luís Pereira

Occupying a position as central defender, Luis Pereira played for Brazil in the period 1973-1977. At that time, he became an important figure for the team. His job was to stop the world's best players in the World Cup 1974 tournament, such as Johan Cruyff and Gerd Muller. Although he did not win any single trophy for his country, Pereira had quite a successful career at the club level. Together with Palmeiras, he won four league titles in Brazil. Not only that, Pereira also won the La Liga in the 1976-77 season when he played for Atletico Madrid.

10. Aldair

Aldair is a retired defender who had a long career playing for the national team of Brazil. This player played for his country from 1989 to 2001, won a World Cup and two Copa America trophies. At club level, Aldair is regarded as one of the best players AS Roma, where he joined the club for 13 years. Throughout his career, Aldair is known as a low profile defender who always showed stable and consistent performances.

9. Domingos da Guia

Domingos is a legendary defender who played for Brazil in the period 1930-1946. He is regarded to be the first Brazilian defender whose ability was internationally recognized. Due to his toughness as a defender, he was often called by the nickname "the Divine Master." He became a mainstay of Brazil in the 1938 World Cup tournament. Not only that, Domingos also managed to win football league in three different countries: Brazil, Uruguay, and Argentina.

8. Thiago Silva

Considering his complete skills as a defender, it is not an exaggeration to name Thiago Silva as the best Brazilian defender who is still actively playing. His performances began to steal the public's attention when he played for AC Milan in 2009. He helped the club win the Italian League in the 2010-11 season and was named the Serie A Defender of the Year in the same season. After three years playing for Milan, Silva moved to Paris Saint-Germain and won the Ligue 1 title in his debut season.

7. Dani Alves

Not only vital in defense, Dani Alves also has very important role in the team's offense. It has been more than five years that his position as number one right-back in Barcelona is irreplaceable. He is trusted to guard the right flank zone of the team so that players like Iniesta, Xavi, and Fabregas can freely construct the offense from the center part of the pitch. So far, Alves has won four La Liga titles, two Champions League trophies, two FIFA Club World Cup trophies and two UEFA Super Cup trophies.

6. Lucio

Lucio is a Brazilian central defender who win a lot trophies, both at club level and national team level. In addition to winning a World Cup and two Confederations Cup trophies with the national team of Brazil, Lucio also claimed three Bundesliga titles, one Serie A title and a Champions League trophy. Although he did not contribute much in the team's offense and only score few goals throughout his career, Lucio's toughness as a defender is unquestionable. He has almost perfect abilities of marking, tackling and heading.

5. Carlos Alberto Torres

Carlos Alberto's best achievement was leading his country to be a 1970 World Cup champion. In the tournament, Carlos Alberto who played as a right-back was trusted to be the team captain. He also scored a goal that is regarded as being one of the best goals in the history of the World Cup in a match against Italy. Despite his wonderful performance, Carlos Alberto has never played in the European club. He ended his career at New York Cosmos in 1982.

4. Djalma Santos

Djalma Santos is a former right-back who helped Brazil win the World Cup twice in 1958 and 1962. Besides Franz Beckenbauer, he is the only player to get selected into the all-star team in three different World Cup tournaments. He spent most of his club career playing for two teams, Portuguesa and Palmeiras. He also became one of the few defenders who was never red carded throughout his entire career.

3. Nílton Santos

Nilton Santos is a retired left back who has exceptional dribbling ability. He showed a riveting performance in a match against Austria, where he dribbled the ball from the his own defense area to the opponent's penalty box, shot the ball powerfully to score a beautiful goal. He is one of the most important players who led Brazil win the World Cup in 1958 and 1962. Nilton Santos spent his entire professional career playing for only one club, Botafogo.

2. Cafu

Cafu is one of the best Brazilian defender who possesses defensive and offensive skills equally well. Playing as a right-back, Cafu presented two World Cup trophies for his country. One of his best performances occurred in the 2002 World Cup, where Cafu served as a captain and led his country to be the champion of the tournament. At club level, he won two Serie A trophies, a Champions League trophy, and one FIFA Club World Cup.

1. Roberto Carlos

Considering the offensive and defensive capabilities, it seems appropriate to name Roberto Carlos as the best Brazilian defender of all time. Although he is short, this left-back possessed very high running speed and strength. He also scored a lot of goals, mostly from free-kicks and long-range shots. His career at club and international level are also quite successful, where Roberto Carlos won two Copa America, a World Cup trophy, four La Liga titles and three Champions League trophies.

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