Friday, January 20, 2017

Sao Paulo FC Greatest All-Time Team

Copa Libertadores 1992

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

50 Brazilian Greatest Players (26th-50th)
SantosFlamengoSao PauloCorithiansBotafogo
Vasco Da GamaPalmeirasInternacional
FluminenseGremioCruzeiroAtlético MineiroBahia

This is my selection of a 25 member all-time team for the club.  The number 25 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the Champions' League.

São Paulo is the third best-supported club in Brazil, with over 28 million supporters. Founded in 1930, São Paulo was an inaugural member of the Clube dos 13 group of Brazil's leading football clubs. The club's most consistent spell of success came in the 1990s, under coach Telê Santana, when it won three state titles, one national championship, two Copa Libertadores, two Recopa Sudamericanas, two Intercontinental Cups, one Supercopa Sudamericana, one Copa CONMEBOL, one Copa Masters CONMEBOL.
World Club Cup 2005
GK: Rogerio Ceni (Brazil)
Roger Ceni is known as the goalkeeper who was known as a dead-ball specialist and scored a lot of goals.  He is recognized as the highest scorer in history for a goalkeeper.  He is a long-term keeper for Sao Paulo.  With them, he won two Copa Libertadores: 1993, 2005.  For Brazil, he had 16 caps between 1997 and 2006.  He played 18 times fro Brazil.  He went to two World Cup Finals in 2002 and 2006 as a backup.
Roger Ceni 
GK: Waldir Peres (Brazil)
Waldir Peres played over 600 games for Sao Paulo.  He was capped 30 times for Brazil, between October 1975 and July 1982; he was a member of the Brazilian national team during the World Cup 1974, 1978 and 1982. He was the starting goalkeeper at the 1982 World Cup in Spain, where Brazil was considered the greatest World Cup team that did not win the World Cup.

GK: Zetti (Brazil)
Zetti played with São Paulo from 1990 to 1996. Arguably one of the most successful goalkeepers in the clubs history he won 1 Brazilian championship, 2 Copas Libertadores and 2 Intercontinental Cups during this period. Other clubs played for include Guarani, Toledo, Londrina, Palmeiras, Santos, Fluminense and Sport. Capped 17 times. He was a backup keeper at 1994 World Cup Finals in the USA .

RB: Cafu (Brazil) 
Cafu is the all-time cap record holder for Brazil with 142.  He is the only man to play in three World Cup Finals, winning in 1994 and 2002.  He was the captain of the national team as they won the World Cup in 2002.  With Brazil, he also took part in four editions of the Copa América, winning the title twice, in 1997 and 1999. He played with Sao Paulo,  Real Zaragoza, Juventude, Roma, Palmeiras and AC Milan. He was South American Player of the Year in 1994.  
RB: De Sordi (Brazil)
De Sordi earned 22 caps for the Brazil national football team. He was part of the 1958 FIFA World Cup winning squad with Pele, Garrincha and Didi.  He played in all matches except the Final against the host Sweden. During his club career he played for XV de Piracicaba-SP and São Paulo.  He played over 500 games for Sao Paulo between 1952 and 1965.

CB: Oscar (Brazil)
Oscar had 60 caps for Brazil between April 1978 and May 1986.  He was the starting centerbacks at the World Cup Finals in 1978 and 1982, and went as a reserve player in 1986.  He played for Atlética Ponte Preta, Sao Paulo and NY Cosmos. He played briefly with Nissan FC in Japan as well.  His longest career was with Sao Paulo.

CB: Darío Pereyra (Uruguay)
Darío Pereyra was one of the best center-backs ever to play in the Brazilian league.  He was best remembered for his career with Sao Paulo between 1977 and 1988, playing next to Oscar.  He was also at one point the second most expensive player in the league. Darío Pereyra started his career at the Nacional de Montevideo and debuted at the Uruguay national squad when he was only 18, becoming the captain of the national team at 19.  He had 32 caps.
Darío Pereyra 
CB: Roberto Dias (Brazil)
While playing for Sao Paulo, Roberto Dias was considered a rival respected by Pele. Pele considered him one of the best center-backs in Brazil.  He was capped 27 times between 1963 and 1968, but never went to the World Cup Finals.  He was on the 1960 Olympic football team in Rome. He played mainly for Sao Paulo FC.

CB: Mauro Ramos (Brazil)
Mauro Ramos was considered one of Brazil's greatest centerbacks.  He went to both 1954 and 1958 World Cup Finals without playing a game, but in the World Cup Finals of 1962, he lifted the World Cup trophy as Brazil's captain. He was capped 22 times.  For his club career, he played for Santos and Sao Paulo. At Santos, he was a part of Pele's great Santos team in the 1960's. 

LB: Noronha (Brazil)
Noronha played for Grêmio, Vasco da Gama, São Paulo and Portuguesa. With Sao Paulo, he formed a great team with Rui Campos and Bauer. He was a member of the 1950 World Cup, but he did not play in the match, bittely known as "Maracanazo" for Brazilians.  He was a part of Brazil 1949 South American Cup winning team.

LB: Leonardo (Brazil)
Throughout his club career, he played for Flamengo, São Paulo, Kashima Antlers, Valencia, PSG and Milan.  He won Copa Libertadores and International Cup with Sao Paulo.  At Milan, he became an international star during the 1990's.   He was capped 55 times.  He went to USA 1994, but was suspended after elbowing Tab Ramos in the quarterfinal.  He also played in France 1998.

DM: Toninho Cerezo (Brazil)
Throughout his career, Cerezo played with Atlético Mineiro, Roma, Sampdoria and São Paulo. He was a legend at Atlético Mineiro. With São Paulo FC, he was the two-times winner of the Intercontinental Cup and Copa Libertadores.  He went to Argentina 1978 and Spain 1982. During his time in Italy, Cerezo won the Coppa Italia four times; in 1991 he won the Serie A with Sampdoria. 
Toninho Cerezo
DM: Bauer (Brazil)
For Brazil national football team, Bauer played 29 matches, won Copa América 1949 and participated at two FIFA World Cup finals, in 1950 and 1954. His last match in this tournament is famous Battle of Berne in 1954. At the club level, he played mainly for Sao Paulo and Botafago.  He was known as the coach who discovered Eusebio in Mozambique. 

CM: Gerson (Brazil)
Gerson was the central midfielder for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup Finals. He is considered one of Brazil's best ever passers.  He hd 70 caps. He played on the legendary Botafogo's team of in the 1960's with Garrincha.  While at the club, he played with Didi and became his understudy, in which he would inherit the position on the Seleção. He also played for f Flamengo, São Paulo and Fluminense at the club level.

AM: Rai (Brazil)
Rai is the younger brother of Socrates.  He was a member of the 1994 WC winning team.  he was originally the captain of the squad, but a loss of form during the Finals limited him to a substitute.  He enjoyed a successful career with Paris St.Germain, where he was widely considered the best player in the French league.  He helped them to win the UEFA Cup Winners' Cup in 1996.  He was also a key player for Sao Paulo. 
LW/SS:  Pedro Rocha (Uruguay)
Pedro Rocha won 8 Uruguayan league titles and 3 Copa Libertadores with Penarol from 1959 to 1970.  He moved to São Paulo in 1970.  He spent 7 successful seasons with the club.  He was the league's top scorer in 1972.  For the national team, he is the only player to appear in four consecutive World Cups for the Uruguay national football team: 1962, 1966, 1970 and 1974. He also played in the Copa América in 1967.

LM: Canhoteiro (Brazil)
Canhoteir's name literally mean "the left-footed".  He also earned the nickname "the Garrincha of the Left".  He was known for hos dribbling skills.  For his club career, he played with Sao Paulo and was remembered for his battles with Pele's Santos in the 1960's.  He was not selected for the World Cup Finals in 1958, despite being the original starter of the team.

AM/CM: Kaka (Brazil)
Kaka started his career with Sao Paulo in Brazil before moving to AC Milan in 2003.  He was the star player who helped Milan to win the Champions' League in 2007 and he himself won he Ballon d'or the same year.  In 2009, he left Milan for Real Madrid.  For Brazil, he was capped 92 times.  He was a young and seldom used player at the World Cup Finals in 2002.  He was a key player for Brazil after the World Cup Finals in 2002.
AM: Zizinho (Brazil)
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. He turned a chance to play in the 1958 World Cup Finals.

FW: Leônidas da Silva (Brazil)
Leônidas da Silva was known as "Black Diamond" and considered the greatest Brazilian footballer before the war. He was credited to be the inventor of "Bicycle Kick".  He played in two World Cup  Finals: 1934 and 1938. He was the top scorer at the tournament in 1938.  He played for a number of clubs in Brazil and Penarol. His longest spells were with Flamengo and Sao Paulo.  He was known as the "Black Diamond" and the "Rubber Man" due to his agility.
Leônidas da Silva 
ST: Muller (Brazil)
Muller is one of São Paulo's all-time leading scorers with 158 goals. With the club he won the Intercontinental Cup in 1993 as he scored the third goal against AC Milan in Tokyo. He capped 56 times with Brazil. He participated in the 1986, 1990, and 1994 editions of the FIFA World Cup, and was part of the 1994 champion Brazil squad.

ST: Serginho Chulapa (Brazil)
Serginho was capped 20 times between 1979 and 1982, and participated at 1982 FIFA World Cup, where he played in all five matches and scored two goals. Sadly, he was blamed for Brazil's exit at the tournament. He played for Marília, São Paulo Futebol Clube, Santos, Corinthians, Marítimo (Portugal), Atlético Sorocaba, Portuguesa Santista, Malatyaspor and São Caetano. 

ST: Luis Fabiano (Brazil)
Luís Fabiano is a prolific goalscorer and was ranked the second-highest-scoring Brazilian of the 21st century.  At the club level, he played for many clubs around the world.  He won two back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007 while playing for Sevilla.  He was capped 45 times for Brazil.  He was the starting striker at the 2010 World Cup Finals.

ST: Careca (Brazil)
Careca had 64 caps for Brazil.  He supposed to be the starting striker of the star-studded 1982 World Cup team, but he missed the Finals with an injury.  Instead, he starred at the 1986 WC Finals in Mexico.  He finished second in scoring with 5 goals.  He also played in the 1990 World Cup Finals in Italy.  For club career, he was remembered for playing with Napoli as a teammate of Diego Maradona. 

ST: Arthur Friedenreich (Brazil) 
The "Tiger" was the first Afro-Brazilian professional players in Brazil.  He was also one of the first star players from Brazil. He played 22 times for Brazil, including wins in the 1919 and 1922 editions of the Copa América, scoring ten goals. He did not attend the first World Cup Finals in 1930 because only players from Rio traveled to Uruguay. He was a son of a German immigrant father and an African Brazilian mother. 
Arthur Friedenreich

Honorable Mention
King(Nivacir Innocencio Fernandes), Jose Poy, Serginho dos Santos, Nelsinho, Ricardo Rocha, Bellini, Diego Lugano, Ruy Campos, Cicinho, Pablo Forlan, Alfredo Ramos, Chicão, Dino Sani, Mineiro, Hernanes, Pita, Gerson, Bene, Antonio Sastre, Zizinho, Teixeirinha, França, Luizinho, Maurinho, Zé Sérgio, Gino.

Squad Explanation
-- Normally, I selected a lot of players from a Copa Libertadores winning team for most of my all-time teams in South America.  Sao Paulo won back-to-back cups in 1992 and 1993.  They also won the back-to-back Intercontinental Cup after the Copas Libertadores.  In 1992, they beat Johan Cruyff's "Dream Team", and followed by a victory over  Fabio Capello's Milan in 1993. However, those teams are under represented on this all-time team.  Toninho Czerezo, Rai, Cafu, Muller and Zetti were the only players selected.  
-- Toninho Czerezo's career here was short, but he won two Intercontinental Cup and a single Copa Libertadores.  He was the MVP of the 1993 Intercontinental Cup Final.
-- Sao Paulo won their third Copa Libertadores in 2005. From the 2005 team, Roger Ceni is the only player chosen.  Diego Lugano deserved a place, but I already had Oscar, Mauro Ramos, Darío Pereyra and Roberto Dias who were legends of the club.  They also had better reputation outside Sao Paulo.  Roger Ceni's jersey was retired by Sao Paulo and the only number retired by the club.
-- I selected Oscar and Dario Pereyra as a unit.  They were also the best ever defensive duo for the club and perhaps, in the history of the Brazilian league.
-- Bellini was left out because I have too many centerbacks. He was the captain of Brazil's 1962 World Cup winning team.  
-- Jose Poy appeared in many lists for Sao Paulo's greatest keepers, but I went with Roger Ceni, Waldir Peres and Zetti. I also have King (Nivacir Innocencio Fernandes).
-- While Zizinho was not in his prime when he played for Sao Paulo, he was a key player with Bela Guttmann's Sao Paulo.  Guttmann was credited with revolutionising the 4-2-4 formation in Brazil with Zizinho as his focal player.  The formation became the basis of Brazilian football throughout the 1950's.  Brazil won three World Cup, playing in a similar formation and formula. Historians said that he was not the first coach to use it in Brazil, but he was often given credit for being the pioneer.  Sao Paulo FC with Zizinho won the Campeonato Paulista in 1957.  That team changed Brazilian football and Zizinho should be honored here. Canhoteiro also played with Zizinho during that time.
-- Kaka left the team when he was still young. He returned at the end of his career. In the modern world, it is hard for a Brazilian club to keep a young players of his talents for long.  I sometimes overlooked the length of career for some homegrown players. Furthermore, he was among the best in his generation.
-- Arthur Friedenreich was an icon in Brazilian football.  
-- In Brazil,  Canhoteiro was considered one of the greatest left wing.
-- Muller, Serginho Chulapa and Luis Fabiano scored many goals for the club. Careca was Bola de Ouro winner while playing for the club.  Serginho Chulapa was their all-time leading scorer. So I left out Zé Sérgio and Gino Orlando.  They almost made the squad.



  1. Zetti
    Cafú Rocha Pereyra Marinho-Chagas
    Sastre Bauer
    Rai Rocha/Canhoteiro
    Careca Friedenreich

    it is either Careca with Friedenreich or selfish Leonidas with Canhoteiro.
    in the first case, with Chagas being right-footed, maybe it is better to have left-footed Canhoteiro instead of Rocha, the excecutioner.