Football

Brazil: All-time XI

Pele and Ronaldo, the two best Brazilians to ever set foot on a field. (©GettyImages)
Pele and Ronaldo, the two best Brazilians to ever set foot on a field. (©GettyImages).

Selescting the all-time Brazilian XI is quite simply an almost impossible task.

Brazil is, unquestionably, the greatest football nation in the world. 

They also are the most successful one, as they've won the World Cup five times. 

The titles are not though, the most important thing that makes Brazil so great is its footballers - some of the most talented, entertaining and exciting players to ever live.

Brazil's greatest ever starting-eleven is the only squad in which it would sadly have been impossible to include stars like Kaka, Rivelino, Zico, Socrates, Zizinho, Jairzinho, Nilton Santos and Leonidas all-together.

Formation : 4-1-2-1-2

Goalkeeper: Gilmar

In an attempt by the football gods to level things out a little, Brazil have not been blessed with many great goalkeepers.

Dida had his moments with Milan, Taffarel was trust-worthy, but Gilmar is the obvious choice here.

He was the starting keeper of the 1958 and 1962 Brazil sides that won the World Cup and was elected as the best Brazilian shot-stopper of the 20th century.

Right-Back: Djalma Santos

Brazilians are eligible to brag about having the three greatest ever right-backs to ever play the beautiful game - Carlos Alberto, Djalma Santos and Cafu.

Djalma Santos makes the team as a smarter footballer, a better defender, a greater leader and the one that revolutionized the right-back position.

Centre-Defender: Carlos Alberto

As said in the previous comment, Carlos Alberto is arguably the best right-back of all-time, but his all-around playing style makes him able to win the stopper position for this squad.

He was the captain and one of the most important pillars of the 1970 Brazil team - the one said to be the greatest footballing side in history. 

Centre-Defender: Domingos Da Guia

Da Guia is considered the greatest Brazilian central defender of all time.

One of the actual first defensive stars of world football.

He was nicknamed the "Divine Master" and his importance in Brazilian football history is undoubted.

Left-Back: Roberto Carlos

Leaving the great Nilton Santos out was a tough choice to make.

But when the defying physics-type of goals that Roberto Carlos scored come to mind, there is no regret that Roberto Carlos deserves his spot.

His great combination of strength, speed and technique made him one of the most dominant left-backs of all-time. 

Roberto Carlos is also one of the early implementers of full-back overlapping runs - and certainly the best ever at it.

Defensive-Midfielder: Didi

Before Pele became famous, the greatest and most loved Brazilian was Didi.

The most valuable player of the 1958 Brazil that won the World Cup, the Ethiopian Prince was gifted with incredible technique and vision.

He had a great talent of reading the game - constantly turning defence into deadly attack with just one perceptive interception.

Right-Midfielder: Garrincha

Just a fun fact, when Pele and Garrincha were in the same squad, Brazil never lost a single game.

Garrincha is the unsung hero for Brazil.

The ultimate star of the 1962 World Cup - the tournament that Pele was injured - and Little Bird stood up and brought back the trophy for Brazil, almost single-handedly.

He was born with a deformed spine, a right leg that bent inwards and a left leg six centimetres shorter that bent outwards.

All of these abnormalities, though, seemed to aid his elegant style, as his ability to dribble with the ball has never been matched. 

His last days were filled with alcohol and regret, but he is remembered in the mind of every true football fan, as Alegria do Povo (joy of the people).

Left-Midfielder: Ronaldinho

It's both a shame and a miracle that Ronaldinho was at his best for only three seasons.

The Brazilian with the immense talent was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for two consecutive seasons (2004, 2005).

He did not really do anything special for his nation, but one can say that he brought new fans to the sport, with his creativity on the pitch and his big, infectious smile.

Attacking-Midfielder: Pele

The King. For many, the greatest that ever lived.

The greatest ever Brazilian footballer is also the only player in history to have won three World Cup titles. 

One cannot really begin to describe the qualities that made Pele so great.

It wasn't Pele's many, many goals that made him such a legend, neither was it his insane dribble-moves, or his playmaking abilities.

It was simply that, even his failures, were pure genius.

Centre-Forward: Ronaldo

The highest goal scorer in World Cup history, a three-time world player of the year, and one of the most talented players to ever grace a football field, Ronaldo could finish and dribble like no-one else in his time.

He failed to lead his country to glory in the suspicious 1998 World Cup final, but he did not do the same thing again four years later in Japan.

Ronaldo was the leader and the absolute star who, with two goals in the final against Germany, won the World Cup for his country.

Had he not been marred with so many serious injuries throughout his career, his name would be right there on the top of the list of the greatest footballers of all-time, alongside Pele and Maradona.

Centre-Forward: Romario

Romario used his technique and his combination of a short body with great balance, along with a sharp striker's mind, to be one one of the prolific and dangerous strikers in the world. 

It was his extraordinary personality though that made him so special.

His former coach at Barcelona, Johan Cruyff, once told the following story :  "Romario asked me if he could miss two days of training to return to Brazil for the carnival in Rio. I replied, ‘if you make two goals tomorrow, I’ll give you two extra days of rest’ The next day, Romario scored his second goal 20 minutes into the game and immediately gestured to me, asking to leave. He told me, ‘Coach, my plane leaves in an hour’. I had no choice but to let Romario leave...”

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Topics:
World Cup
Football
Ronaldo
Brazil Football

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