Brazil is a country that makes you think of football whenever it is mentioned. It makes you think of the great teams that have won a place on history by winning legendary matches in the world cup, and the many players that have worn the famous yellow jersey and made magic seem possible through the use of a soccer ball. Many players like Pelé, Zico, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldinho and Garrincha, to name a few, have given football fans around the world unforgettable moments in the beautiful game, but who are the current players from the land of “futebol” that are currently looking to have their names mentioned among these legends from the “verde amarella”. Here is a look at the top 10 best Brazilian Football Players.
10. Kaka (Orlando City FC)
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite better known as Kaka, and currently playing in the MLS for Orlando City is probably one of the last, real legends from Brazil currently still active on the pitch. Kaka has nothing to prove anymore, after starting his career in Sao Paulo, and making his move to AC Milan at a very young age, he exploded into a star and eventually became the best footballer in the world by winning the Ballon d’Or and the Fifa World player of the year awards. An attacking midfielder, playing as an old fashioned “number 10” right behind the striker, Kaka not only had great a touch on the ball to make precise passes and crosses, but also had great speed and agility with the ball that allowed him to break through three or more defenders seemingly easy. Kaka’s great ability aided AC Milan in winning a Champions League, a Club World cup, Italian Cup and an Italian Serie A title. Age and injuries have not been kind to the brazilian wonder and after having difficult spells at Real Madrid and his former club Sao Paulo FC, Kaka is now on a new journey with Orlando City, where even though his speed and agility have taken a toll with the years, he still shows that his great skills and intelligence make him one of the best brazilian footlball players currently in the world of soccer.
9. Paulinho (Guangzhou Evergrande)
This box-to-box midfielder is not only one of the best brazilian footballers in world, but also one of the best footballers of any origin. Paulinho was a key player for Corinthians in 2012 when they won a Copa Libertadores, and Club World Cup. His talent, skills, and great resistance, managed not only to get him called to the brazilian national team where he won a Confederations Cup in 2013, but also to the Premier league to play for Tottenham, where he was named man of the match on several occasions. On 2015 Paulinho joined Chinese Guangzhou Evergrande where his talents have led the team to a Chinese Super League, Chinese Super Cup, and an Asian Champions League. Paulinho has not only great skills with the ball and shooting accuracy that have allowed him to make some great goals from outside the box, but he also has some great defending skills. It’s this rare set of skills for both attacking and defending that have made him one of the best Brazilian footballers currently active.
8. Douglas Costa (Bayern Munich)
A speedy winger, with great dribbling abilities that match those of great legends and are a nightmare for defenders. Douglas Costa is a sight for sore eyes in a football world where more and more fitness and performance are predominant over talent and raw skills among footballers. Costa isn’t afraid to go one on one with defenders. When he usually has the ball he goes after the defender and usually breaks through him with some unbelievable piece of magic that comes out of his boots. Costa started his career with brazilian club Gremio, but it wasn’t until he joined Shakhtar Donetsk, where his skills really started to shine. This caught the eye of German Club Bayern Munich where he got transferred in 2015 and has helped them win two Bundesliga’s and one German cup. His skills have also made him a key player on the Brazilian National Team.
7. Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City)
Despite his young age (20 years old) this power forward is a force to be reckoned with. Gabriel Jesus reminds the fan of the legendary Ronaldo, with not only power and speed, but also great finishing and a real sixth sense to get the ball in the net. Gabriel Jesus was a key player for the Brazilian National team in the Olympics, where his goals at key moments of the tournament earned the Brazilians their first ever gold medal in the sport. He led Palmeiras to a Copa do Brasil and a league title and now has been called to join Manchester city by none other than Pep Guardiola. Not only is the Brazilian wonderkid one to look for in the future, but he has already proven his worth, and it looks like his career can only keep going up.
6. William (Chelsea)
Willian Borges da Silva An attacking midfielder who can also play on the wing, technically gifted, explosive, fast, and agile, always keeping the ball close, staying faithful to the traditional playing style of the Brazilian footballer. Not only is William able to win on one-on-one matchups, but he is also a very creative player that provides his teams with that intelligence needed to build up play and make precise through passes that break defenses apart. He not only has been a key player for Chelsea in winning two premier leagues, but he was also named Chelsea’s Fans’ player of the year in 2015-2016. He has also represented Brazil in the 2014 World Cup, the 2015 Copa América, and the Copa América Centenario.
5. Casemiro (Real Madrid)
Carlos Henrique José Francisco Venâncio Casimiro, this defensive midfielder has been quite a surprise not only in Brazil that traditionally lacks players in this position, but also in the world of football where in the last years there has also been a lack of young talented players to fill this role on the pitch. Casemiro has some great defensive skills, with not only great height and strength, but also speed, he is able to recover balls quickly and destroy opposing midfielders looking to attack and build up play. Casemiro has shown to have some great heading skills, usually able to win corner kicks with his head, as well as some great ball control, precise passing abilities, and outside the box powerful shooting. Casemiro has been quite a revelation in the last year, where he has been fundamental in Real Madrid’s recent Spanish League and UCL campaigns. He has been recently added to the Brazilian National Team squad where he has been fundamental in Brazil’s comeback to the top of the South American FIFA World Cup Qualifiers.
4. Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Perhaps the only Brazilian able to take up the legendary number 10 jersey that Kaka left on the Brazilian national team, Coutinho not only has the skills, intelligence and speed, but also the experience to play one of the most iconic roles in the Brazilian squad.
Coutinho not only dazzles with great technical ability and dribbling skills, but he also some great passing abilities that make him able to be a real playmaker for his teams, constantly opening of defenses and delivering quality through balls. Not only is Coutinho a great individual player, but also a great team player, with a vision and creativity that makes him one of the players with the most assists in the world of football. At 24-years-old Coutinho has already played for some of the top teams in Europe, like Inter Milan, Espanyol and currently Liverpool. He has won a FIfa Club World Cup an Italian Cup and has been named Liverpool’s Player of the year in two occasions: 2015 and 2016.
3. Dani Alves (Juventus)
One of the best attacking full backs of this generation, Dani Alves has won it all and is an icon and symbol of the legendary FC Barcelona that has graced football in the last couple of years. His speed and resistance make him able to go up an attack and come back to defend several times during one match, never leaving his sideline uncovered, and always having complete control of it. Alves also has a great touch on the ball is able to deliver great crosses and diagonal through passes that make him a huge threat for opposing teams. Although his defending skills are nowhere near bad, they also aren’t his strong point, but with that said, he is so fast that he is usually able to gain an advantage over attackers when defending nonetheless. He helped Barcelona win six Spanish Leagues, three champions leagues, and four Spanish cups. He has been a key player in Juventus recent UCL campaign where they will face Real Madrid and a chance to get Dani Alves one more addition to his honors.
2. Marcelo (Real Madrid)
When Real Madrid star Roberto Carlos left the team, the president of the club told fans not to worry, for he had already found his substitute in a young 18-year-old player from Fluminense called Marcelo Vieira da Silva Júnior (Marcelo). Years have passed and Calderon’s words have proven to be true, Marcelo is widely regarded as the best fullback in the football world. Marcelo is not only a great player defensively, with intelligent marking and precise slide tackling to win over the ball from opponents, but much like Roberto Carlos before him, he is able to push up on the wing and provide quality assists, dribble past two or three defenders and more importantly score goals. Perhaps the main difference is in his technical ability, Roberto Carlos relied heavily on his speed to get past defenders, whereas Marcelo is technically gifted and has great ball control and passing that gives him a wider arsenal of options to break defenses apart. When Marcelo has the ball, he can deliver a through pass, dribble past or shoot at goal, and all of them with the same ease. Marcelo has also remain constant over the years getting better and perfecting his playing style, it is rare to watch a match where he isn’t one of the best players on the field. He has won three Spanish league titles, two Champions leagues and two FIFA Club World Cups. To add to his abilities, he is a natural leader and motivator on the pitch and has been named captain while playing for Real Madrid and the Brazilian national team on several occasions.
1. Neymar (Barcelona)
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, the player called to take Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s place when they retire…if they retire. The Barcelona star is the best Brazilian footballer currently active in the sport. He is a different player, with that talent and spark that can change the game in a couple of minutes from one of his plays. Technically gifted, fast, agile, and with a vision and creativity for the build up and to make assists that makes him seem like he is always one thought or step ahead of the players around him. He can play as a full on central striker, winger or attacking midfielder. An explosive player with a great set of skills that allows him to dribble out of several defenders, shoot from outside the box, finish plays, and convert them into goals. Neymar is an all around player…a bag of tricks and magic just waiting to put on a show. Neymar was key in leading the Brazilian National Team to their first ever gold medal in the Olympics in 2016, and the 2013 Confederations Cup. He has also won one Brazilian Cup, one Copa Libertadores, two Spanish leagues, two spanish cups, one UEFA Champions League and one FIFA Club World cup. It is worth mentioning that he was the topscorer for the 2015 UEFA Champions league, tied with none other than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Well that is our top 10; please let us know what you think. Do you agree with our lists, did we miss someone. We welcome your comments.