Responsible for some of the best footballers in the world, Brazil has been a mainstay in world football ever since Pele led the country to its first World Cup in 1958. From the likes of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho, and Neymar, the ‘jogo bonito’ lives on.
Ronaldo shocked the world with his blend of power, speed, and remarkable dribbling technique. With 98 caps and 62 goals for the Brazilian team, the striker steamrolled his way onto the international stage with two World Cup wins, two Copa America trophies, a Confederations Cup, and 2 Ballon d’Or. Unbelievable, yes.
The scapegoat for his team’s inability to retain the World Cup in 1998, Rivaldo redeemed his loss to France by winning the 2002 World Cup. Making 74 appearances for the national side, Rivaldo scored a breath of important goals to earn the status as one of Brazil’s best.
With 92 caps and 77 goals, and 3 FIFA World Cups to boot (1958, 1962, and 1970), Pele amazed everyone with his extraordinary talent. A striker with unpredictable mobility, Pele even refused to take soft penalties. The FIFA Player of the Century who bagged over 600 career goals at Santos and scored a world record number of hat tricks (92), Pele announced the arrival of the “beautiful game” on the world stage.
Deemed one the best of all time for his stellar performances at Barcelona, Ronaldinho’s creativity, skills, and vision were unparalleled. After winning the Copa América in 1999, he joined forces with Ronaldo and Rivaldo to repeat their success of the ‘jogo bonito’ in the 2002 World Cup. After captaining the team that won the Confederations Cup in 2005, Ronaldinho’s national career went south along with his club appearances as he seemed to party harder than he did playing football.
With a remarkable 55 goals in 70 international games for the national side, Romário secured his place as one of the best Brazilian players of all time. After winning La Liga with his club team Barcelona, scoring 30 goals in 33 fixtures, he helped lead the squad that won the 1994 World Cup over Italy in which he snagged the Ballon d’Or.
With 120 caps and 75 goals for the Brazilian side, Neymar has won the Confederations Cup and Brazil’s first football gold medal at the 2016 Summer Olympics. However, the World Cup remains elusive. The flashy forward that’s won the treble twice with Barcelona is looking to redeem himself at Qatar 2022.
With 125 appearances for the Seleção, defender Roberto Carlos helped Brazil win the 2002 World Cup, a Confederations Cup, and a Copa America. The left-back was known for his powerful and bending free kicks that were known to reach up to 105 mph, most notably the rocket he hit against France in a 1997 friendly match.
The graceful midfielder Kaká is one of a handful of players to win the UEFA Champions League, a Ballon d’Or and the World Cup, which he achieved in 2002. With 92 caps to his name, the Brazilian no doubt belongs in the best of the Selecao.
Recognized as one of the best full-backs to play the game, Cafu guided Brazil to two World Cups titles (2002 as captain), two Copa América titles, and a solitary Confederations Cup. He remains the only man to play in three consecutive World Cup finals. With 142 appearances to the national side, no one will ever forget the sight of Cafu making one of his trademark runs down the right flank threatening the opposition with one of his deadly crosses.
Regarded by many as one of the best dribblers in history, Garrincha partnered with Pele to win Brazil’s first-ever World Cup in 1958. When Pele injured himself against Czechoslovakia in 1962, Garrincha stepped up to singlehandedly carry Brazil to a second World Cup.
With 68 appearances for his national side, Didi helped guide Brazil to two World Cups triumphs. Known for his quick dipping free kicks — the “dry leaf” — Didi won the best player of the tournament in 1958. He became the first Brazilian export to play in Europe, with Real Madrid no less.