10 best Brazilian football players of all time
Football is ‘the beautiful game’ for a number of reasons. If one were to make a list as to which aspects football trumps other sports in, the list would be endless. Since the inception of FIFA, the world has been given a number of moments of pure unadulterated joy coupled with moments of heartbreak thanks to this sport.
Growing up in Kolkata endeared one to football in more ways than one. Apart from the great footballing culture prevalent in every by-lane, Kolkata can be considered to be a mini South America when it comes to allegiances in world football.
Leaving aside the younger generations who started watching football after the onset of the new millennium, Kolkata is split into two camps, Argentina and Brazil. While the Argentina camp developed with the advent of Diego Maradona, the allure of Samba soccer over the ages, caused the football crazy city to support them in hordes.
Kolkata is just a case in point. Brazil have been the reason behind the most of the beauty in the beautiful game. While they might have fallen on hard times recently, Brazil still command a sizeable fan following across the globe because of the players they have produced over the ages.
Here we take a look at the top 10 players to have worn the canary yellow over the years.
Nicknamed ‘The Hurricane’ Jairzinho terrorised defenders down the right flank, during the Brazilian national team’s heyday in 1970. The legendary all-conquering Brazil team which played in the 1970 World Cup is widely regarded by many as the greatest international football team to have graced the game.
Jairzinho was an integral part of that team, and he also created a unique record during the tournament, having scored in every match Brazil played in the tournament. This is a unique record shared by him with Alcides Ghiggia. World Soccer Magazine’s list of 100 greatest players of the 20th Century put him at number 27, one ahead of Zinedine Zidane.
He idolised Garrincha during his youth, and emulated the iconic winger’s career graph. He was in many ways a direct replacement for Garrincha in the national team as well as at Botafogo, where he played for 11 years.
‘The Hurricane’ made his professional debut aged just 15, as a striker. His idol Garrincha was mesmerizing crowds down the right wing for Botafogo, and that meant Jairzinho had to play as a striker or down the left. However, once Garrincha stopped playing, Jairzinho took over the mantle and destroyed many a defence with his phenomenal speed and ball control.
Jairzinho was the supply line for Pele for many years in the Brazilian setup, and his speed and guile was a significant factor which contributed to Brazil’s success in the 1970 World Cup.