Top 15 Brazilian Midfielders in the History of Football

Who is the best Brazilian midfielder ever?

The midfield line of Brazil national football team is always filled with talented and highly skilled players. The Brazilian midfielders are not only good at performing super-accurate passings, but also often show beautiful playing styles. Not only shine with the national team, they also won many achievements and prestigious trophies at club level.

In this article, I present a list of 15 best Brazilian midfielders of all time. Some names, such as Kaka, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo should have been familiar to the majority football fans as they are highly famous and even a few times elected as the best footballers in the world.

15. Juninho Pernambucano

Juninho is known as one of the best free-kick takers of all time. He spent most of his career in a French League club, Lyon. At this club, Juninho won seven Ligue 1 titles for seven consecutive years, from 2002 to 2008. Unfortunately, although he performed very well at the club level, Juninho rarely got a chance to play in the national team level because the existence of other talented attacking midfielders such as Kaka and Ronaldinho.

14. Leonardo

Leonardo was a versatile midfielder who played for Brazil in the period 1990-2002. His primary position was a central midfielder, but he could also play as a winger or left back. Leonardo played for three major European clubs, AC Milan, PSG and Valencia, as well as experienced a career in Japanese League at Kashima Antlers. In addition to helping Brazil national team win the 1994 World Cup, Leonardo also won one Italian League title, one Japan League title, and two Brazilian League titles.

13. Emerson

Emerson is a retired football player who had a primary role as an anchor midfielder, but can also play as a playmaker. Along with Damiano Tommasi, he became the mainstays of Roma's midfield line when the club won the Serie A in 2000. After that, he underwent a fairly successful career at Juventus and Real Madrid. Throughout his career, he won three Serie A titles, one La Liga titles, and one Copa America trophy.

12. Rai

Rai is an ex-attacking midfielder who is regarded as one of the best players of Paris Saint-Germain. Playing for the national team of Brazil in the period 1987-1998, Rai was a key figure who helped his country win the 1994 World Cup. Not only possessed accurate passing skills, his great playmaking ability and creativity made Rai be an ideal attacking midfielder. At PSG, he won a Ligue 1 title, two French Cup trophies, and a Winners' Cup trophy.

11. Falcao

Falcao was the Brazil national team mainstay midfielder in the 1980s. He played alongside Zico and Socrates, formed one of the strongest midfield lines of all time. He underwent quite a brilliant career, where he won ten Brazilian League titles and helped AS Roma win the Serie A in 1983. Not only that, Falcao had also become the highest paid footballer in Europe when he played for AS Roma.

10. Toninho Cerezo

Toninho Cerezo is often referred as the best Brazilian defensive midfielder of all time. He has a very high stamina and very good tactical skills. Cerezo underwent a pretty good career in the Italian League in the 1983-1992 period. At two clubs, AS Roma and Sampdoria, he won a Serie A title, four Coppa Italia trophies and a Winners' Cup trophy. Together with the Brazil national football team, he played in 57 international matches and scored seven goals.

9. Gilberto Silva

Gilberto Silva is a Brazilian midfielder who underwent a brilliant career at Arsenal in the period 2002-2008. He was a hardworking defensive midfielder who had high determination. Gilberto Silva possessed very vital role, both in defense and attack of his teams. In addition to winning a Premier League title and two FA Cup trophies, Gilberto also helped Brazil national team win the 2002 World Cup and the 2007 Copa America.

8. Socrates

Socrates was famous for his frightening appearance, with a beard and mustache on his face. He is a mainstay of the Brazilian midfield who possessed accurate passing ability, great physical strength, and high creativity. Socrates spent most of his career in the Brazilian League, and only played for one season in the European League with Fiorentina. One of his best individual achievements is when he was elected as South America's best player in 1983.

7. Dunga

Unlike most Brazilian midfielders who exhibit beautiful playing styles, Dunga is a player who acted as a "destroyer." Positioned as a defensive midfielder, Dunga had to play hard and rough to stop the opponents' attack. His career with Brazil national team was very successful, where Dunga won the 1994 World Cup, the Copa America in 1997, as well as two Confederations Cup trophies. Not only that, as a coach, he also helped Brazil national team win the 2007 Copa America.

6. Didi

Didi was a central midfielder who led Brazilian national team win the World Cup in 1958 and 1962. Not only that, he even named the best player of the tournament in 1958. Didi is known as a midfielder with high techniques who often scored goals from free-kicks. In addition to a successful career in the Brazilian League, he also won two Champions Cup trophies when he played for Real Madrid.

5. Rivaldo

Rivaldo is an example of modern Brazilian midfielder who is able to show a beautiful as well as effective playing style. He played as an attacking midfielder, but could also be positioned as a winger or second striker. Together with Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, Rivaldo formed a trio called "Ro-Ro-Ri" which led the Brazilian national team win the 2002 World Cup. His best career period happened at Barcelona, ​​where he won two La Liga titles, one Copa del Rey trophy, and was awarded a Ballon d'Or in 1999.

4. Roberto Rivelino

Rivelino was an attacking midfielder with a complete techniques. He was famous for his accurate long-range passes and powerful shots that often resulted goals from outside the penalty box. Not only that, Rivelino was also known as the creator of a movement called the "flip flap," a trick to outwit the opponent by shaking the body. This flip flap technique is often performed by modern footballers such as Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo. Rivelino's best achievement at the national team level is helping his country win the 1970 World Cup.

3. Kaka

Creative, flamboyant, and prolific in scoring goals. Kaka is an attacking midfielder who helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup as well as Confederation Cup in 2005 and 2009. At club level, his best career period occurred when Kaka joined AC Milan in the period 2003-2009. During that period, he won Serie A title and a Champions League trophy as well as awarded a Ballon d'Or award in 2007.

2. Zico

With a total of 48 goals he scored, Zico is the second top scorer of all time of Brazil national team, just after the legendary striker, Pele. He was a playmaker who became a mainstay of the Brazilian national team in the 1980s and known for his great free-kicks. Although he didn't win any international trophies with Brazil national team, Zico's individual performances was highly praised by football lovers. This is proven by his success to win the title of World Footballer of the Year in 1981 and 1983.

1. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho is the one who should be crowned with the title as the best Brazilian midfielders of all time. He has a very comprehensive as a midfielder, ranging from high techniques, dazzling dribbling skills, accurate passes, great set-pieces abilities, as well as a great goalscoring instincts. Not only that, he was also a successful at club and international level. Throughout his career, Ronaldinho won the 2002 World Cup trophy, the 1999 Copa America trophy, two La Liga titles, a Champions League trophy, and a Ballon d'Or award.

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