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10 superstars who could have played for Brazil but didn’t

Few Brazil-born superstars have gone on to win international trophies with other countries
Few Brazil-born superstars have gone on to win international trophies with other countries
Modified 28 Dec 2018, 22:14 IST
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Brazil is a country with a lot of professional footballers. In fact, being a professional footballer is one of the most coveted jobs in the country. Footballers from Brazil move to countries across the globe and you can almost guarantee that there will be a Brazilian player in almost all the leagues on the planet.

The best Brazilian players play for the top clubs in Europe. For instance, except for Borussia Dortmund, there is at least one Brazilian player in all the other teams that qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League. For many teams, the Brazilian players are crucial first-team players like Marcelo at Real Madrid, Roberto Firmino at Liverpool, Fernandinho at Manchester City or Neymar at PSG.

Since there are so many top quality players available for selection for the Brazil national team, some of them don’t get a chance to represent their country of birth and choose to play for a country in which they acquired citizenship. For instance, Bayern Munich’s Rafinha was contemplating the decision to play for Germany due to lack of chances with Brazil.

Many Brazilians have gone on to play for a different country but none as famous as the ten players mentioned below.

Honourable mention - Mario Fernandes (Russia), Eduardo da Silva (Croatia), Eder (Italy) and Marlos (Ukraine)

#10 Emerson Palmieri (Italy)

Emerson made his debut for Italy in 2018
Emerson made his debut for Italy in 2018

Chelsea’s Emerson Palmieri dos Santos was born in Santos, Brazil in 1994 and he came through the famous academy of Santos before making his professional debut in 2011.

After playing 33 times for Santos senior team, Emerson left Brazil in August 2014 to play for Palermo in Italy. A year later, he joined AS Roma and played 47 times for the club before switching to Chelsea in January 2018.


Emerson represented Brazil at the junior levels and was part of Brazil’s U17 side that won the South American Under-17 Championship in 2011. He also represented his country of birth at the 2011 U-17 FIFA World Cup.

He didn’t receive a call-up to the Brazil senior team and understandably so as Brazil had Marcelo, Alex Sandro and Filipe Luis as options in the same position. In March 2017, Emerson acquired Italian citizenship and switched his allegiance to Italy.

Emerson received his first call-up to the Italy team in June 2017 but was withdrawn from the squad due to an injury. This happened again in May 2018 under new manager Roberto Mancini. He eventually made his international debut as a substitute against Portugal in a UEFA Nations League match in September 2018.

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Published 28 Dec 2018, 22:14 IST
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