This is my all-time team for Brazil. If there were an All-Time World Cup, this would be the 23 players I would bring to the tournament.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.
Sao Paulo State, Rio de Janeiro
North/Northeastern Brazil, South/Southeastern Brazil
Brazilian-born players capped by other national teams
Brazil All-Time Team After Pele
Brazil All-Team Under Mari Zagallo
Brazil All-Time Team before 1958
Brazil is the best footballing nation in the world. They won 5 World Cup titles in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. In addition, they have great teams at the World Cup in 1950, 1982 and 1998. They never failed to appear in a WC Finals.
Brazil first became prominence when they hosted the WC Finals in 1950. The Brazilian team of Zizinho, Jair and Ademir was probably the best in the world, but they were defeated by Uruguay in a match now known as "the Maracanazo". Eight years later, the 17 year old Pele helped Brazil to win their WC. In 1962, Garrincha would lead them to win its second WC by his individual brilliance. And then, in 1970, Pele led a team consisted of Rivelino, Gerson, Carlos Alberto, Tostao, Jairzinho, etc that won the WC and widely considered the greatest ever national team. After 1970, the team failed to win another cup for 24 years. In between, the 1982 team was considered to be one of the best ever team not to win the WC. Brazil won the WC again in 1994 and 2002.
Gilmar was the goalkeeper for WC 1958, 1962 and 1966 winning two titles. He had 104 caps. Also a member of Pele's Santos team of the 1960's. With Gilmar between the posts, Santos conquered almost every championship they competed in: they won five São Paulo State Championships (1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968), five National Championships (1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965), two Libertadores Cups (1962 and 1963) and two Intercontinental Cups.
GK: Claudio Taffarel
Taffarel earned over 100 caps. He was the starting goalkeeper for the World Cup 1994 winning team. He also appeared in other eight major international tournaments. During an 18-year career, he played professionally for six clubs, including Parma, Internacional, Atlético Mineiro and Galatasaray. He won an UEFA Cup with Galatasaray in 1999.
GK: Julio Cesar
Julio Ceasar was awarded the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year title in both 2009 and 2010. He won the Champions' League with Inter Milan in 2010. He won 87 international caps for the Seleção between 2004 and 2014. He was selected for the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, in addition to two Copa América tournaments. Unfortunately, he was remembered for a few poor performance for Brazil at the WC Finals.
RB: Djalma Santos
DJ Santos was considered the best right back in the football history. He is one of only three players to be included into three World Cup All Star team. He also went to the World Cup in 1966. He started his career with Portuguesa. In 1959, he moved to Palmeiras. He played almost 500 games for the club, winning several league and cup titles. He played Atlético Paranaense for a short spell before retiring in 1970.
RB: Carlos Alberto
Carlos Alberto was one of the greatest fullback ever played the game. He was the captain of the 1970 World Cup winning team in Mexico. His goal in the 1970 Final against Italy was considered one of the greatest goals in the history of the tournament. He missed the World Cup Finals in 1974 through an injury. He played with Pele both at Santos and NY Cosmos. He had 53 caps for Brazil. He played for Fluminense and Flamengo.
Domingos da Guia was a star defender during the 1940's. He was among the first skilled defender to play the game. He played for several clubs, but notably with Flamengo and Corinthians, and aboard with Boca Juniors. He had 30 caps. He was a star at the 1938 World Cup Finals in France. He made the all-star team at that World Cup Finals. His son is Ademir da Guia.
Lucio was the star of the 2002 World Cup winning team. He earned 105 caps for Brazil between 2000 to 2011. He reached the UEFA Champions' League final with Bayer Leverkusen in 2002, but losing to Real Madrid. In 2004, he moved to Bayern Munich, where he won one German Cup and three Bundesliga titles. He also helped Inter Milan to win the 2010 Champions League playing against his former club Bayern Munich in the Final.
Luis Pereira was widely considered to be the best central back in the Seleção's history. He was capped over 30 times, but only the 1974 World Cup Finals held in West Germany and remembered receiving a red card against Holland. He played 562 games with S.E. Palmeiras (34 goals) and 171 games with Atlético Madrid (17 goals). With Atletico Madrid, he was considered one of the best defender playing in Europe. He won La Liga in 1977.
Thiago Silva became the most expensive defender in history when he moved from Milan to Paris St. Germain. Before moving to play in Europe, he played for Juventude and Fluminense in Brazil. He was a key player as Fluminense to the Final of VCopa Libertadores in 2008. For the national team, he was the captain of Brazil ill-fated team in World Cup 2014, but did not play against Germany in the semifinal. He was an unused sub at the WC Finals in 2010.
LB: Roberto Carlos
Roberto Carlos was regarded one of the best leftbacks in history. He had 125 caps for Brazil playing in three World Cup Finals (1998, 2002 and 2006). He won 3 Champions League titles with Real Madrid and one World Cup title with Brazil in 2002. In 1997 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year. He is especially famous for a free kick from 35m out against France in the Tournoi de France 1997. The goal is considered one of the greatest goals ever scored.
Nilton Santos had 75 caps. He went to the World Cup Finals in 1950, but did not play a single game. He won the World Cup in 1958 and 1962 with Pele and Garrincha. He is widely considered to be a pioneer in the offensive wingback position and was one of the greatest in his position. He spent his entire career with Botafogo during one of the club's greatest period.
DM: Danilo Alvim
Danilo Alvim is considered one of he greatest defensive midfielder in Brazil's history. He played 25 games between 1946 and 1953, winning the 1949 Copa América. He played on the ill-fated 1950 team alongside Zizinho. For his club career, he was a part of Vasco da Gama's legendary "the Victory Express" team. He also played for America.
Garrincha is considered one of the greatest footballers and perhaps the greatest dribbler in history. He inspired Brazil to win the World Cup in 1962, which widely considered the best individual effect in World Cup history. He was the Player of the Tournament that year. He also played in 1958 and 1966. Brazil never lost a single match with Pele and Garrincha on their lineup. At the club level, he was a member of the great Botafogo's team in the 1960's.
Socrates was the captain of both 1982 and 1986 World Cup team. He was one of the best attack midfielders in Brazil's history. In 1983, he was named the South American Footballer of the Year. He spent 7 seasons with Corinthians. He went abroad in 1984, playing a season in Serie A with Fiorentina. He was also a MD, earning the degree while he was an active player. His brother Rai won the World Cup in 1994.
Didi is considered one of the greatest players ever from Brazil. He was capped 68 times for Brazil between 1952 to 1962. He was voted the best player in the 1958 World Cup Finals. He was also on the 1954 and 1962 team. He joined Real Madrid in the 1950's, but returned after less than a year because of a personal feud with Alfredo di Stefano. He also played with Garrincha at Botafogo, a team considered among the best ever club side in Brazil.
Gerson had 70 caps for Brazil. He was the central midfielder for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup Finals. He is considered one of Brazil's best ever passers. He played on the legendary Botafogo's team of in the 1960's with Garrincha. While at the club, he also played with Didi and became his understudy, in which he would inherit the position on the Seleção.
Rivelino is considered to be one of the greatest left-sided midfielder ever. His signature move was the "flip-flap". He was a member of Brazil's great 1970 team and also played in the 1974 team. He had 92 caps for Brazil. He started his career with Corinthians, but in one of the club's worst period in history. He moved to Fluminense in 1974, forming a great team with Carlos Alberto. He also played for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia.
Zizinho was Pele's idol. He was considered the greatest Brazilian player before the 1960's. He was the star of the ill-fated World Cup Finals in 1950 playing alongside Jair and Ademir. He played for Flamengo, Bangu, São Paulo FC, Audax Italiano of Chile among others teams. With, Flamengo, he won state championships in 1942, 1943 and 1944.
Zico was the best player in the world during the early 1980's. He came eighth in the FIFA Player of the Century grand jury vote. He went to three World Cup Finals, but probably best remembered for the 1982 tournament, where Brazl was considered the best side that never won World Cup. He had over 70 caps for Brazil. He won the Intercontinental Cup in 1981 with Flamengo, a team that was considered among the greatest ever. He later played with Udinese for 2 seasons.
Pele is considered the greatest player ever in the history of the game. He won his first World Cup in 1958 as a 17 years old in Sweden. He would win his second one in 1962, but he was injured throughout the tournament. In 1970, he won his third and final World Cup, with a team that was considered the greatest ever. He played almost his entire career with Santos, one of the greatest club side in history. He unretired to join New York Cosmos in 1976, where he played with Franz Beckenbauer.
Romario helped the Seleção to win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, receiving the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year the same year. He missed the 1998 World Cup Finals because of an injury. He also went to the World Cup in 1990. He was one of very few strikers to surpass the mark of 1,000 goals. He was best remembered for his stint with Barcelona.
Ronaldo was widely considered among the greatest ever to have play the game. He led Brazil to two WC Finals matches, winning the one in 2002. He scored 8 goals in 2002. He was the winner of Ballon d'Or twice and the FIFA World Player of the Year three times. He is the second top-scorer in WC history. He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for both AC Milan and Inter Milan. His moves to Spain and Italy made him only the second player, after Diego Maradona, to break the world transfer record twice, all before his 21st birthday.
Junior, Leando, Cafu, Mauro Ramos, Clodoaldo, Zito, Dunga, Leônidas da Silva, Jair, Ademir Marques de Menezes, Julinho, Arthur Friedenreich, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Bellini, Aldair, Jairzinho, Toninho Cerezo, Kaka, Emerson Leao, Moacir Barbosa, Dida, Neymar, Marcelo, Dani Alvas, Tostao, Careca, Mauro Ramos, Aldair, Jorginho, Bellini, David Luiz.
-- Pele, Garrincha, Zico, Domingos da Guia, Luis Pereira, Ronaldo, Romario and Didi are automatic selections. No explanation is needed. Zizinho, Socrates, Falcao and Gilmar are also close to automatic selctions. Gilmar, Domingos da Guia and Luis Pereira are widely considered to be the best Brazilian in their positions.
-- From the World Cup winning team in 1958 and 1962, I selected Pele, Garrincha, Gilmar, DJ Santos, Nilton Santos and Didi.
-- The 1970 World Cup team included Pele, Gerson, Rivelino, and Carlos Alberto.
-- The 1982 team did not win a World Cup, but they were considered among the greatest ever side. Zico, Falcao and Socrates were selected into this team.
-- Romario and Claudio Taffarel are the only representatives from the 1994 team.
-- The 2002 World Cup winning team included Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo and Lucio. -- Only 9 players, namely Julio Cesar, Zizinho, Zico, Falcao, Socrates, Danilo Alvim, Thiago Silva, Domingos da Guia and Luis Pereira never won a World Cup.
-- Nilton Santos and DJ Santos normally made most of the all-time lists along with Roberto Carlos. I have to choose between Cafu and Carlos Alberto for the remaining rightback position. I went with Carlos Alberto, but I do believe Cafu is of similar level. Junior, Marcelo, Leandro, Jorginho, Dani Alvas, etc have no chance of breaking into the fullback position.
-- Lucio, Julio Cesar and Thiago Silva were the controversial selections. I do believe the modern European-based defenders are better than the older defenders playing in Brazil. The fullbacks were different, where offensive skills were taken into account.
-- Emerson Leao was the other keeper I considered. He was never rated as the best keeper in the world during his prime. Julio Cesar, however, was widely considered among in the best in the world. He is one of three non-Italian keepers who have won the Serie A Goalkeeper of the Year and he won it twice. It is a big achievement that no one would have thought of before the 1980's. However, I know some Brazilians cannot forgive him for the game against Germany in 2014.
-- Lucio and Thiago Silva were considered to be the best in their position during their prime. I do not think Mauro Ramos, Bellini or Aldair can be considered that.
-- Gerson was very good at long passes. He is a different type of midfielder, but he is similar to Didi.
-- I already had Gerson, Didi and Falcao on my team. So I took Danilo Alvim who is better defensively than Toninho Cerezo. Dunga missed out because of those players. Without "Maracanazo", Danilo Alvim would have been ranked higher. The same applied to Zizinho too. The forward trio of Zizinho, Jair and Ademir were considered to be among the greatest ever.
-- I also chose an older players such as Zizinho and Rivelino over Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. I do believe Ronaldinho is also the same level as Rivelinho.
-- Leônidas da Silva deserved to be on the list. Brazil is just too rich in talents. I cannot make space for him. Zizinho edged him out because he was considered to be the greatest ever Brazlians before the emerge of Pele and Garrincha.
-- Neymar has not done enough for Brazil. This is Brazil where the standard is high. At the time of writing, he has never won anything internationally for Brazil at the senior level. At this moment, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Leônidas da Silva ranked ahead of him.
-- Arthur Friedenreich played in an era when Brazil was not considered a super power. I gave him credit for being a pioneer of the game, but I am not going to select him over Ronaldo, Romario or Pele. It is almost impossible to break into the squad the three on them on the squad.
-- Pele and Garrincha never lost a game when they played on the same game.
I used a classic Brazil's 4-2-2-2 formation. The front four and Didi were no surprise at all. I started Danilo Alvim because the team needed his defensive skill to balance the team. We went with three old-timers in defense and Gilmar to start in defense.