Famous Brazilian Soccer Players

This post is a list of famous Brazilian soccer players. On the whole they are some of the finest players to ever grace the sport because of the beautiful way in which they play the game. Their style has also paid off in results, as the country has won no fewer than 5 World Cup titles. Their Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which held 210,000 fans in 1950, is the largest football arena in the world greatly reflecting their passion for the sport.

The name Brazil has become synonymous with their yellow and blue colours- even their nickname is ‘Little Canary’. But it wasn’t always so. Up until 1950 they played in white, and only changed when a 19 year old fan designed them a new kit to compensate for their lack of success in the World Cup that year.

But enough general Brazilian football trivia. Let’s get to the famous Brazilian soccer players:


He made 91 appearances for the national side between 1995 and 2006, winning the World Cup in 2002. In 2005 IFFHS ranked him the world’s 2nd best goalkeeper, and in the same year he was FIFPro goalkeeper of the year.


IFFHS ranked him the best Brazilian goalie of the 20th century, after he played in 3 World Cups and won in 1958 and 1962. He played 94 games in total for his country. And all this when he played in sober fashion and was less than 6ft.

Claudio Taffarel

This goalie put in 101 international displays from 1987 right through to 1998. He won the World Cup in 1994, was a runner-up in the 1998 World Cup, and got a silver medal at the 1988 Olympic games.

Nilton Santos

He made the Brazilian squad for 4 World Cups, winning in 1958 and 1962, and put in a total of 75 performances for the country throughout his career. He played over 1000 games for a single club at the domestic level.


He was a World Cup winner in 2002, won the fair play award at the 2009 Confederations Cup, and was included in the 2010 FIFPro World XI. He has played 68 competitive matches for the country, plus friendlies.

Djalma Santos

He played 98 times for Brazil between 1952 and 1968, winning the World Cup in 1958 and 1962. He was selected for a total of 4 consecutive World Cups for the country, and at club level played for Palmeiras.

Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos the 2nd best player in the world by FIFA in 1997, before helping Brazil to the World Cup final in 1998 and to World Cup glory in 2002. He played 125 times for Brazil, scoring 11 goals, and domestically played for the likes of Real Madrid, Inter and Corinthians. He made the FIFA World Cup All-Star team in 1998 and 2002, and he was selected in the FIFA 100.


Cafu made 142 appearances for Brazil between 1990 and 2006, making him the highest capped Brazilian international footballer of all time. In March 2004 Pele named him amongst the 125 greatest living footballers. He is twice a World Cup winner, and was South American footballer of the year in 1994.


He played 91 times for Brazil, winning the 1994 World Cup and making the team of the tournament in that year and in 1998. He played for 10 club teams, becoming the most valuable player in the J league in 1997, before managing the Brazilian national team after he retired from his playing career.

Gilberto Silva

Gilberto, who helped Arsenal to their ‘Invincibles’ unbeaten season in 2004, is an excellent solid defensive midfielder who has clocked almost 100 caps for his country. He scored the 1st ever competitive goal at the Emirates Stadium.


The midfielder played for his national side between 1965 and 1978, famed with a fantastic left foot. He is unofficially credited with scoring the fastest ever goal in football, directly from the kick off. He scored 26 goals in 92 games for the national side, was  FIFA World Cup winner in 1970, and appeared at 2 other World Cups.


This winger scored in every game of the 1970 World Cup, in which Brazil were victorious. He made his international debut aged 19 in 1964, 4 years after making his professional debut at just 15.


Dubbed the best Brazilian never to have won the World Cup, he played 52 times for the nation between 1971 and 1989 and participated in a total of 3 Worls Cups without victory. Zico said of his career: “I’d like to be remembered as someone who loved what he did, as someone who was consistently very professional and keen to improve, as well as someone who always played fair and dedicated himself body and soul to football”.


Spoken as a true artist of his sport, Socrates once said that ‘beauty comes first. Victory is secondary. What matters is joy’. This very much reflects the wonderful way Brazil have traditionally played the game. He played for the country between 1979 and 1986, in the team alongside Zico, Falcao and Junior. He captained the side in the 1982 and 1986 World Cups. His trademark move was the blind heel pass (heel pass while looking the other way).

Paulo Roberto Falcao

At one time the world’s highest paid footballer with £10,000 per week, was a midfielder who played 274 times at club level. He made 34 appearances for Brazil and has since gone onto manage Brazil and Japan amongst other teams.


Kaka was ranked FIFA World Player of the Year in 2007. He broke the world transfer record (which has since been broken again) when he moved to Madrid for a massive £56 million. He was included in the FIFPro World XI for 2006, 2007 and 2008. He won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002.


Ronaldinho was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005,  as well as finishing in 3rd place for 2006. He scored 32 times in 88 games for Brazil, winning the World Cup in 2002 and making the tournament’s all-star team. He was European Footballer of the Year in 2005, and was included in the UEFA Team of the Year in 2004, 2005 and 2006. He was FIFPro World Player of the Year in 2005 and 2006.


Garrincha, who played with a deformed spine and one leg longer than the other, is seen by many as the best ever Brazilian footballer. He won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962, also winning the Golden Ball and the Golden Shoe in the latter tournament. In total he scored 12 goals in 50 showings for Brazil. He was made an inductee to the Mastercard Team of the Century.


He scored 34 goals in 74 appearances for Brazil, and has played for 13 club teams including Barcelona and Milan. He was FIFA World Player of the Year and European player of the year in 1999. He made the all-star team at the 1998 and 2002 World Cups and was included in the FIFA 100.


Robinho has played more than 80 games for Brazil, scoring 25 goals. He has played for Real Madrid, Manchester City (£32.5m transfer and £160,000 per week) and Milan. He now wears the number 70 jersey for Milan.


Edson Arantes do Nascimento is widely considered the greatest ever footballer. He won the World Cup 3 times in 1958, 1962 and 1970, winning the Silver Ball in 1958 and the Golden Ball in 1970.  In 1999 he was voted player of the century by the International Football Federation of Football History and Statistics. He scored 77 times for the country in total between 1957 and 1971. In 2000 FIFA ranked him footballer of the century.


Lionel Messi has said Ronaldo is ‘the best striker I’ve ever seen’. He was included in the Brazil squad for the 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups, finishing runner up in 1998 and winning in 1994 and 2002. He is the world’s top scorer in World Cup finals, with 15 goals in 4 tournaments. He scored 62 times and won 97 caps for his country overall, and was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1996, 1997 and 2002.


He played for 14 club teams, scoring a total of 177 goals in 342 games, whilst scoring 39 goals in 75 games for his country. He was South American player of the year in 1989, and was a World Cup winner in 1994.


Romario put in 55 performances for his country between 1987 and 2005, winning the Golden Ball at the 1994 World Cup. In total, at club and international level, he scored over 1000 career goals before retiring altogether in 2008 aged 40.

Well there we have it, the key details of some of the most famous Brazilian soccer players of all time summarised in a single post. A quick question for the comments section below, who is your favourite of all the players on this list?

Have fun,

Soccer Geek