Football

Five of the best: Brazilian Premier League stars

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Brazil will travel to Wembley on February 6 for a friendly with England as part of the FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations and accompanying superstars like Neymar and Ronaldinho will be a number of Premier League players.

Julio Cesar of struggling QPR is in the squad and will accompany the Chelsea trio of David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar for the friendly and will be familiar with the surrounds of the national stadium.

Brazilians do not have a great tradition in the Premier League; names such as Robinho and Afonso Alves have failed to live up to their reputations made before moving to England.

GiveMeFootball have scoured the Premier League history books, all 21 of them, to pick out the five of the most impressive Samba stars to strut their stuff in the competition.

The list of Brazilians to have played in the EPL consists of plenty of less familiar names so those that have succeeded appear to have done well to buck a certain trend.

Anyway, here they are…

Gilberto Silva – Arsenal

Probably the biggest success of all Brazilian transfers to England, Gilberto Silva was relatively unknown before an injury to star defensive midfielder and captain Emerson while playing in goal in training ahead of World Cup 2002 gave him his chance. He took it with both hands and was fantastic as A Seleçao went all the way in Japan and South Korea, which caught the eye of Arsene Wenger. Gilberto was an integral part of the ‘Invincibles’ and provided sound defensive cover for the Gunners more flamboyant stars, also winning two FA Cup titles.

Lucas Leiva – Liverpool

He arrived on Merseyside with a grand reputation having captained the Brazil Under-20 side to the South American Youth Championship title but struggled to adapt in his first few seasons. However, he continued to work hard and showed great resilience to shut out some vociferous criticism from Liverpool fans as well as other clubs to become one of the most consistent performers in the league.

Rafael da Silva – Manchester United

Much like Lucas, Rafael struggled to make his mark on the game in the Premier League after first arriving but has continued to improve steadily after a shaky start. The first signs of him becoming a top quality full-back appeared last season, but this term has seen him blossom into a far more complete right back and is now first choice in the position – he is still improving.

Ramires – Chelsea

Many did not see the marauding midfielder as much of a success early on at Stamford Bridge, but his solid work was undervalued. He arrived originally in 2010 as a more defensive player, but has since been manoeuvred all around the pitch, showing proficiency in attack as well as the destructive midfielder he is billed as. The 25-year-old has become very consistent and is normally one of the first names on the Chelsea team sheet.

Juninho – Middlesbrough

The diminutive playmaker was one of the first of his nation to make the trip to the Premier League and was part of a Middlesbrough side that was heavy on flair and flamboyance, but low on solidity and consistency. Pairing with his compatriots Emerson and Branco, he sparked some of the most delightful football the competition had seen in its formative years. One of the favourites for Premier League nostalgia enthusiasts.

Which are your favourite Brazilian stars to grace the Premier League? Join the debate and leave a comment below to let us know…

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Premier League
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