Often referred to as the spiritual home of football, Brazil has produced some of the finest talents ever to play the game. Through the passion and flair of its stars, the South American country has had a massive impact on football around the globe – and the Premier League is no exception to that influence.
The five-time World Cup winners have seen some of their most-gifted players make the switch to the English top-flight over the last three decades.
However, the Premier League’s first Brazilian import was not a runaway success.
Coventry City paid Benfica £500,000 for Isaias in July 1995. The forward managed just two Premier League goals in 12 appearances, returning to his homeland after only a couple of seasons.
Others down the years, of course, have fared far better, creating a rich Brazilian heritage within the competition.
Sky Sports recently named their all-time Premier League Brazilian XI – no easy task given the sheer quality that has represented the Selecao in the English top-flight.
Quiz: Can you guess the player from their Wikipedia career path?
We’ve taken a look at their final line-up below.
GK: Ederson (Manchester City, 2017-present)
CB: Rafael da Silva (Manchester United, 2008-2015)
CB: Thiago Silva (Chelsea, 2020-present)
CB: David Luiz (Chelsea, 2011-2014 and 2016-2019, Arsenal 2019-2021)
CM: Gilberto Silva (Arsenal, 2002-2008)
CM: Fernandinho (Man City, 2013-2022)
CM: Fabinho (Liverpool, 2018-present)
RW: Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool, 2013-2018, Aston Villa 2022-present)
LW: Juninho (Middlesbrough 1995-1997, 1999-2000, 2002-2004)
ST: Roberto Firmino (Liverpool, 2015-present)
ST: Gabriel Jesus (Man City, 2017-2022, Arsenal, 2022-present)
A pretty impressive team, we’re sure you’ll agree. That said, there are still several notable absentees.
In between the sticks, Sky Sports acknowledge that it was a close-run thing between Ederson and Alisson, with the Man City man ultimately getting the nod over his countryman at Liverpool.
The Brazilian pair shared the 2021/22 Golden Glove, each keeping 20 clean sheets. Ederson’s four Premier League titles, combined with a slightly superior clean sheet percentage see him handed the gloves.
Sky’s 3-5-2 formation isn’t the most conventional, as illustrated by the inclusion of former Man United right-back Rafael at centre-back. His trio of Premier League titles, though, speak volumes.
Across a total of nine Premier League seasons between both Chelsea and Arsenal, Luiz won the Premier League, Champions League and countless other honours.
Rounding out the back three is Thiago Silva who continues to defy time with his performances at Stamford Bridge.
The midfield is also stacked with talent. Arsenal ‘invincible’ and 2002 World Cup winner Gilberto lines up in the centre alongside Man City legend Fernandinho and Liverpool’s Fabinho.
Juninho – the Premier League’s first genuine Brazilian success story when he joined Middlesbrough in October 1995 – is posted out wide, opposite the always dangerous Coutinho.
Among those to miss out on a berth in the centre of the park include former Chelsea trio Willian, Oscar and Ramires. Leeds United’s Raphinha must also have been in the running for inclusion on the right flank.
Leading the line is Liverpool’s Firmino, together with new Arsenal signing (and ex-Man City man) Jesus. With a total of 129 Premier League goals between them, it’s hard to argue with their top-flight pedigree. However, their inclusion does mean no place for Tottenham’s £60m striker Richarlison, who features ahead of Jesus in the Brazilian national size.
You can check out Sky Sports’ full XI below.
The all-time Premier League Brazilian XI (per Sky Sports)
Chelsea sign Sterling! (Reaction via The Football Terrace)