Neymar, Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo: Brazil's top 50 players in history as voted by fans

  • Kobe Tong
Neymar and Ronaldinho in Brazil training.

Ronaldinho or Neymar: who you got?

Well, that’s the question on many football fans’ lips at the moment as a fascinating debate about the two Brazilian icons is currently unfolding on social media.

Twitter user @neyhoIic – take from that username what you will – has seemingly sparked a deluge of back and forth online by posting a viral video that they believe shows a key area of superiority for Neymar over his compatriot.

Ronaldinho vs Neymar debate

The caption reads as follows now: “Ronaldinho was never this good of a playmaker or passer. Don’t let nostalgia fool you. Neymar is just the superior player.”

Now, we’ll let you draw your own conclusions from the montage, which has been viewed more than 1.7 million times, but it’s fair to say that the matter has since gone far beyond those six minutes of footage.

That’s because any footballing debate of this nature tends to get very heated, very quickly with Ronaldinho, in particular, always maintaining a fiercely loyal following across social media.

And although it does indeed seem like the Barcelona icon is winning the Twitter battle as things stand, do bear in mind that the premise of the conversation is not as silly as it might initially seem.

After all, whether you like it or not, it’s practically inevitable now that Neymar will become Brazil’s all-time leading goalscorer as he sits just three goals behind Pele having already clambered his way above Ronaldo.

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The 50 greatest Brazil players of all time

However, before we cause a fiery battle in our own comments section, let’s zoom out for a second and try to quantify the debate by seeing where Neymar and Ronaldinho fit in with regards to Brazil’s greatest ever players overall.

And we can do that by taking a peek at the interactive list titled: “The Best Soccer Players From Brazil,” over at Ranker, which allows fans to vote for who they think is the nation’s best ever male footballer.

With over 80,000 votes from more than 10,000 voters, it really is one of the closest ways we can get to fairly and objectively proclaiming the finest ever stars to come from arguably the world’s proudest footballing country.

So, to help unpick the raging Neymar vs Ronaldinho debate, be sure to check out where they rank amongst Brazil’s 50 greatest ever players in the opinions of thousands of supporters down below:

50. Roberto Firmino

Liverpool's Firmino scores for Brazil.
Soccer Football – Copa America 2021 – Group B – Brazil v Colombia – Estadio Nilton Santos, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – June 23, 2021 Brazil’s Roberto Firmino celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

49. Julio Cesar

48. Mario Zagallo

47. Robinho

46. Edmundo

45. Dunga

Dunga captaining Brazil.
Action Images World Cup Preview Collection 1998 Update Set 1 Dunga – Brazil

44. José Altafini

43. Domingos da Guia

42. Branco

41. Casemiro

Brazil's Casemiro celebrates.
Soccer Football – Copa America Brazil 2019 – Group A – Peru v Brazil – Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo, Brazil – June 22, 2019 Brazil’s Casemiro celebrates scoring their first goal REUTERS/Amanda Perobelli

40. Toninho Cerezo

39. Zito

38. Philippe Coutinho

37. Aldair

36. Ze Roberto

35. Jorginho (no, not that one)

34. Juninho Pernambucano

Juninho at the 2006 World Cup.
Football – Stock – 1/7/06 Juninho Pernambucano – Brazil Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Lee Smith

33. Alisson Becker

32. Gilberto Silva

31. Vava

30. Careca

29. Dida

Dida in goal for Brazil.
Brazil’s Dida (R) kicks the ball in front of France’s Franck Ribery during their World Cup 2006 quarter-final soccer match in Frankfurt July 1, 2006. FIFA RESTRICTION – NO MOBILE USE REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (GERMANY)

28. Djalma Santos

27. Leônidas

26. Nilton Santos

25. Adriano

Adriano on Brazil duties.
Brazil’s Adriano (R) figths for control of the ball against Colombian John Culma during a qualifier match for the South American Under 20 Tournament at ” Modelo” Stadium in Guayaquil, Ecuador, January 26, 2001. DM/ME

24. Gerson

23. Tostao

22. Claudio Taffarel

21. Didi

20. Thiago Silva

Thiago Silva captaining Brazil.
Soccer Football – Copa America 2021 – Final – Brazil v Argentina – Estadio Maracana, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil – July 10, 2021 Brazil’s Thiago Silva in action with Argentina’s Lionel Messi REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

19. Jairzinho

18. Roberto Rivellino

17. Bebeto

16. Dani Alves

15. Falcao

Falcao scores for Brazil.
Football – 1982 FIFA World Cup – Group F – Brazil v New Zealand – Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan – 23/6/82 Brazil’s Paulo Falcao celebrates after scoring the third goal Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Sporting Pictures CONTRACT CLIENTS PLEASE NOTE: ADDITIONAL FEES MAY APPLY – PLEASE CONTACT YOUR ACCOUNT MANAGER

14. Carlos Alberto

13. Marcelo

12. Garrincha

11. Neymar

10. Cafu

Brazil's Cafu celebrating.
Cafu of Brazil celebrates after an own goal by Scotland in the second half of their first-round World Cup match at Stade de France in Paris June 10. Brazil is the defending champion. Cafu took a shot on goal but it was bumped in by Scotland’s Tom Boyd. BPS/KM

9. Zico

8. Romario

7. Kaka

6. Socrates

5. Rivaldo

Rivaldo scores for Brazil.
Brazil’s Rivaldo celebrates scoring a goal against England during a World Cup quarter-final match in Shizuoka June 21, 2002. REUTERS/Jim Bourg PA/JP

4. Roberto Carlos

3. Ronaldo

2. Pele

  1. Ronaldinho
Ronaldinho scores at the World Cup.
Ronaldinho of Brazil celebrates scoring the second goal against England during a World Cup quarter-final match in Shizuoka June 21, 2002. REUTERS/Paulo Whitaker PA/JP

The fans back Ronaldinho all the way

Wowsers. We can’t be alone in having been caught out by that result?

While Ronaldinho taking the gold medal might well put the debate to a close for now, especially with Neymar missing out on the top ten, even his most ardent of fans would surely concede that first place is too generous.

It’s hard to make the case that anybody other than Pele should be heralded as Brazil’s greatest ever player when you consider that he’s the nation’s all-time top scorer with no less than three World Cup winners’ medals.

Pele is Brazil's GOAT.
Pele – Brazil & Santos Pic : Action Images

But even in a world where the vote has been swung a little by overexcited Barcelona fans, it nevertheless remains pretty clear from the results that fans do indeed think he has the edge over Neymar.

Seeing as he does have a Ballon d’Or and World Cup trophy over Neymar, it’s probably for the best, but we shouldn’t ignore the fact it’s a much more competitive debate than a lot of fans are letting on.

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