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The Best Footballer of all time to come from Brazil

Brazil has produced some of the best football players and many of them have had the opportunity to move over to Europe and play in some of the biggest leagues for some of the biggest teams in the world.

They are the most successful team in the World Cup, having lifted the trophy five times, their most recent being in 2002. Despite hosting the 2014 World Cup, Brazil were knocked out by eventual winners Germany 7-1 in the semi-final, meaning the Germans are one World Cup behind the Brazilians ahead of the 2018 World Cup which will be held in Russia and football betting is likely to see them remain one of the favourites once again.

But who is the best Brazilian football player? We take a look at some of the greatest Brazilians to step foot on a football pitch and their individual honours and well as those won with both club and country.

Pele
Edson Arantes do Nascimento or as he’s more commonly known, Pele, is generally regarded as the greatest player to ever play football. Known amongst players and fans as “The King of Football”, the Brazilian managed to win three World Cups during his illustrious career.

Pele is one of the few great Brazilians to have never played in Europe for a European club, having spent the majority of his career at Brazilian club Santos before ending his career at American football club New York Cosmos.

He made his debut for Santos aged just 15 and holds the record for the most appearances for the club and is the record goal scorer. He made over 1100 appearances for Santos scoring over 1000 goals in an eighteen year spell with them.

Internationally, as well as winning the 1958, 1962 and 1970 World Cups, Pele also managed to become the top scorer for Brazil, with 77 goals.

Ronaldo
The original Ronaldo, is a player who is generally considered to be one of the best pure strikers in the game. He won two World Cups, in the United States in 1994 and in South Korea & Japan in 2002. He helped Brazil reach the final of the 1998 World Cup, however on the eve of the final, he suffered a fit and was rushed to hospital. Despite being cleared to play and making himself available, he was unable to find the same form he was in during the previous matches in the tournament and hosts France would beat Brazil 3-0.

At club level Ronaldo played for club rivals in both Spain and Italy, having played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid in Spain and Inter Milan and AC Milan in Italy. He won the UEFA Cup with Inter Milan in 1998 and La Liga with Real Madrid in the 2002/03 and 2006/07 seasons. He was named Fifa World Player of the Year three times; in 1996, 1997 and 2002.

The Brazilian striker’s career was ravaged by knees injuries and later, weight issues and were it not for these issues, Ronaldo may have overtaken Pele as the top scorer for Brazil.

Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho moved to Europe in 2001 as he left Gremio to join French club Paris Saint-Germain, where he began to establish himself as a top player, even if he showed some inconsistency. He spent two seasons in Paris before leaving for Spanish club Barcelona, where the Brazilian attacking midfielder made a name for himself globally, winning two La Liga titles and a Champions League during his five years at the club.

He was an integral part of the 2002 World Cup winning Brazil team, in particular against England in the quarter-final, where he showed his immense talent in setting up Rivaldo to score the equaliser before scoring a memorable free-kick which caught the England goal keeper David Seaman off guard.

His final club in Europe was AC Milan, where he played for three seasons, winning the Serie A title in the 2010/11 season. He moved back to Brazil and finally called an end to his career in 2015.

Romario
There are few players who were quite so clinical in the penalty area than Romario. The Brazilian striker managed to notch up nearly 700 goals in close to 900 games at club level, winning the Eredivisie three times with PSV and a La Liga title with Barcelona.

1994 was a great year for Romario, having won the 1993/94 La Liga title with Barcelona, he went on to win the 1994 World Cup in the United States before rounding off the year by winning the FIFA World Player of the Year.

Much like Pele, Romario is praised as one of the greatest players, with Dutch legend Johan Cruyff describing him as “a genius of the goal area.”

Cafu
Widely regarded as one of the best full backs in football, Cafu managed to carve out a career in which he won two World Cups, USA 1994 and South Korea & Japan 2002. At club level he won two Serie A titles, one with Roma in the 2000/01 season and another with AC Milan in the 2003/04 season.

In continental competitions he helped Real Zaragoza to win the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup, while he managed to win Europe’s biggest club competition, the Champions League in the 2006/07 season with Milan. The club would also go on to win the Super Cup and FIFA Club World Cup later that year with Cafu playing an influential role in providing the club’s success.

Despite being a defender, he was an attack minded player who loved to get forward and provide accurate crosses for team mates in the penalty area. His longevity as a player helped him become the most capped player for Brazil, having made 142 appearances for his nation.

Dani Alves
He may not be the first name on everyone’s team sheets when they think of the best Brazilian football players, but Dani Alves, currently at Paris Saint-Germain, is the Brazilian who has won the second highest number of club trophies. The only player to have more than him? No not Pele, not Ronaldinho, not Ronaldo, it’s actually recently retired left back Maxwell.

You might be wondering why Maxwell isn’t on this list instead of Alves. Yes he may have won more club trophies, but his lack of international appearances and fewer club appearances suggest he’s not quite at the same level as Alves, who is regarded as having been one of the best right backs of his generation.

Alves has won the 2007 Copa America with Brazil as well as the 2009 and 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup. His list of individual honours includes being listed in the FIFA FIFPro World XI six times and the UEFA Team of the Year four times.

So who is the best Brazilian player? Dani Alves has won a lot of club honours, but Pele managed to win the World Cup, three times in fact. Pele is held in high regard amongst his fellow professionals and fans alike and his reputation as being the King of football is something that cannot be overlooked, meaning Pele would be my pick.

Mourinho blames Del Bosque for recent injuries

Diego Costa has not been able to play for Chelsea during their latest matches against: Crystal Palace, Maribor, Manchester United and Shewsbury Town due to a hamstring injury that the Spanish forward picked up

Chelsea’s Jose Mourinho has blamed Vicente del Bosque as well as the busy schedule of certain players for the recent injuries and physical problems that Diego Costa and other players have picked up.

“It hurts. You are not happy when you give players in good conditions and you receive the players in bad conditions. I had managers with a very open communication, some others they simply don’t care. Year after year after year, I don’t have one single SMS or one single phone call. Diego has the hamstring problem because he played two matches in three days when he was not with us.”

“I don’t say that communication is compulsory for the players to be back in good conditions. I’m not saying that. For example, I didn’t speak with Dunga and Oscar, Filipe Luis and Willian came back in perfect conditions.” Jose Mourinho told the media.

Diego Costa was born in Brazil but after having been granted Spanish nationality and expressing his desire to play with the Spanish national squad, Costa started performing for Spain on March of the current year. Costa is the top goal-scorer of the Premier League but has not made an impact for the Spanish national team and Jose Mourinho is starting to fear that the underwhelming performances which have been displayed by Costa for Spain could continue on at Stamford Bridge with Chelsea.

Even though Costa has not made a big splash with the Spanish national squad, Vicente del Bosque is optimistic that things will change soon and according to the coach of Spain, the only thing that Costa needs is to adapt and then the results will start being displayed in the pitch.

Del Bosque Confirms His Stay

The most shocking result out of the entire 2014 World Cup probably was Spain’s early exit from the tournament as they did not manage to escape the group stages after losing against Chile and Netherlands.

It was a disastrous campaign Iker Casillas and his defensive partners as they conceded 7 goals in 2 matches. Even with the underwhelming performance from the Spanish players, the manager of the national team Vicente del Bosque confirmed that he will continue being in charge of the squad.

Vicente del Bosque told the media: “I have been in contact with the Federation in this time of reflection and they’ve decided that the last six years say more than two bad games. The Federation are feeling strong at the moment and they value the work I have done. We are feeling strong again and we are going to continue our work, in the same way we always have.”

Vicente del Bosque voiced some of the plans that he wants to do with the team before the 2016 Euro’s as the Spanish tactician is confident that the squad does not need to do major or dramatic changes.

The Spanish tactician added on saying: “We don’t need to have a drastic revolution; we need to go in the same direction while making some small changes. We can do much better and get on the right track again. We’re going to try and defend our title at the next European Championships.”

The former coach of Real Madrid, Vicente del Bosq ue received his fair share of criticism after he went on utilizing senior players such as Xavi Hernandez and Iker Casillas instead of opting to go with younger performers like Manchester United’s David de Gea or Athletic Madrid’s Koke.

Vicente del Bosque responded to the criticism by stating that all of the players he chose are outstanding and they gave it their all but it just didn’t work out.

VALDES INJURY CONCERN

Spain manager Vicente del Bosque has expressed his concern over the injury sustained by Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes. The experienced goalkeeper sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury, which has effectively ended his Barcelona career. He revealed more than a year ago that he would be leaving the Catalan club at the end of the season, although he has been very silent about the destination. Even though he has never been the first choice goalkeeper for Spain, Valdes continues to remain an important part of the squad given his experience to the top of the game.

He was widely expected to be Spain’s second choice goalkeeper at the World Cup 2014, but it is now expected to be either Diego Lopez or Pepe Reina. Barcelona managed a stunning 3-0 win over Celta de Vigo during the weekend, but this match was halted for several minutes due to the injury sustained by Valdes. He landed awkwardly on the floor and scans have confirmed that he will be out for the next six months. This also ruled him out of the World Cup, in which Spain are the favourites to get the win.

As a result of this injury, both top goalkeepers – Iker Casillas being the – will not have been regular first-team players.

“Right now I’m not going to talk about possible replacements, because now is the time to bemoan Victor’s injury. It’s a setback for him, his club and for us. Now isn’t the time to talk about replacements,” said del Bosque. “It’s dreadful news. Now the important thing is for him to recover and send him a big hug. When you play games every three days, there’s no time to lament or let your head drop. We are used to coping with situations like this,” said Valdes’ club and international teammate Andres Iniesta.

RESPECT TO ARAGONES

Former Spain manager Luis Aragonés recently passed away after suffering a heart attack. The news has been received with great sadness from all of world football, as the man would forever be remembered as the person to start world domination from Spain. Aragonés led Spain to the first major title in 44 years after their victory at the Euro 2008. He also was the first to build on the passing style of football, which has been synonymous with the national team over these years. Spain have gone on to achieve numerous successes since then, but Aragonés is regarded as the one who started it.

Current manager Vicente del Bosque paid his tributes to the former Atletico Madrid manager by saying that this was a sad day for Spain as a whole because they had lost a key figure in modern sport. Del Bosque managed to carry on the success started by Aragonés, as he led the team to a European championship success and a World Cup title as well. Aragonés will also be fondly remembered as the person who gave Spain their identity in the form of ‘La Roja’ nickname. He said that Spain should be given this name in order to give the team a unique identity.

“I found out via a message at seven in the morning. I knew he had some health problems, but I never thought this would happen. Without a doubt, we will remember this day with great sadness. It’s a sad day for football. We have lost a key figure in the history modern sport. Without any doubt, he paved the way for such a successful era. He had enormous experience as a manager and personally speaking, I had a special appreciation for him,” said Vicente del Bosque.

Aragonés represented the likes of Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid during his playing days.

STILL IN?

Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas has found first-team opportunities limited at Real Madrid this season. He has not played a league match in 2013, which could seriously affect his chances of being in the Spain squad for the World Cup 2014. He has been the number one goalkeeper for both club and country over the last decade. During this period, he has lifted every possible trophy including the World Cup and Champions league. However, Diego Lopez has been the number one under Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, which has increased speculation that Vicente del Bosque may also adopt this approach and drop him from the team.

Spain, who are the favourites to win the upcoming World Cup, will not be changing goalkeepers anytime soon according to the former Real Madrid coach, who recently extended his contract with the national team. Despite not featuring in the league matches, Casillas continues to remain as the number one in the European matches. Physically, he has been doing well and this will help him keep his place in the national team according to del Bosque. The manager has also revealed that he has started collecting data about the opposition at the World Cup.

Netherlands, Australia, and Chile will be the group opponents for Spain with every team being considered strong right now.

“He is active and training. He is playing in the Champions League and I don’t see any problems. Physically he’s fine. We are in the process of gathering data on all teams. We know Holland was a finalist in the World Cup and Chile has a very good team. Australia is the most anonymous but we have the utmost respect. The Netherlands have changed the most. They have retained some players but most are new and young,” said del Bosque.

He also spoke about the chances of Diego Costa being picked for the national team.

NO GUARANTEES

Spain national team manager Vicente del Bosque has stated that no player is guaranteed a place in the squad for the World Cup 2014. Spain had regarded as the best team in the world right now and they are the current holders of the World Cup. They will be going into the World Cup 2014 as one of the strong favourites to retain the title. Unlike other teams, they have an extremely strong squad, while Vicente del Bosque can even pick up several quality players who are struggling to get into the final squad.

Due to this amazing strength in depth, he has stated that each player should earn their right to be at the World Cup. The 62-year-old recently extended his contract with the Spanish national team. He has already guided them to World Cup and European championship success. Now, he will be the manager of the national team until the Euro 2016. He has pointed to the fact that the team showed a lot of changes from 2008 to 2012. He thinks that the Spain squad for the World Cup 2014 will also show a lot of differences compared to the squad of 2010.

“It’s a long way off. We have a wide range of players who could come. It’s a long journey until May. We could have injuries, setbacks… we’ll try to be as fair as possible and bring the best. The Euro 2012 squad changed 50% from the Euro 2008 squad, but I don’t think there will be that much change this time. We tried to bring a guy (Diego Costa) to the national team who is loved and compliments all the players we already have,” said del Bosque.

He expects the likes of Diego Costa to be called up for national team selection. The Atletico Madrid striker has been in fine form this season, but he is also eligible for Brazil.

BUSQUETS IS KEY

The arrival of Sergio Busquets to the international scene has coincided with the most successful period in the history of Spanish football, as they have won 2 European championships and one World Cup title during this period. The presence of the midfielder is also extremely key as they target qualification for the FIFA World Cup 2014 automatically. Only the winner of the qualifying group makes it into the competition automatically, while the second placed team will be competing in a play-off match.

Due to the presence of France in the group, Spain are not the outright favourites to secure qualification as the winners. In fact, they have struggled to take the top spot in the group, which they achieved only recently. They will be hoping to sustain this position with back-to-back victories in the next two World Cup qualifying matches. The first will be against Finland, which will be followed by a friendly match against Chile. Manager Vicente del Bosque is likely to be without Busquets for the Finland match because the midfielder has suffered a muscle injury.

The Barcelona midfielder only recently extended his contract with the Catalan club taking his stay to at least 2018. Spain will be sure of qualification if they win the next three matches.

“The club’s medical services believe there is a risk to the muscle and have been in contact with the Spanish federation to evaluate the players’ fitness and his place in the next international games,” said his club Barcelona in an official statement. The player is not likely to be risked for the friendly match against Chile. Spain have been playing against South American opponents in a number of friendly matches recently. This is believed to be a strategy designed to acclimatise the players against South American opponents in preparation for the World Cup.

Betting on La Liga

There are few of Europe’s top divisions, if any, that exhibit the kind of polarities present in La Liga and this could become ever more apparent after a host of top players left the division this summer. Barcelona are odds on to retain the title, whereas Real Madrid are around about 5/4 with most bookmakers and online casinos.

There isn’t a huge deal of value to be made there, but if Neymar fit in to the new Barca side and can gel with Messi, we could see something of a rebirth of the greatest team in recent memory. Much will depend on whether Real Madrid can complete the signing of Gareth Bale, and if you think this will be the case, Real could be a fantastic bet at current odds. (more…)