5 amazing footballers who never played in Europe

garrincha and pele
Ashwin Hanagudu

European football is considered to be the best in the world. The European leagues garner the most attention worldwide and usually the best players ply their trade in Europe.

However, there are some truly amazing footballers who have never played in Europe. The list includes World Cup legends, best player in the history of the game and national heroes as well.

Some absolute legends of the game have not had the urge to prove themselves away from their home countries and continents.

We take a look at 5 amazing players who never played in Europe:

#5 Yasuhito Endo

yasuhito endo

Known as the Japanese Pirlo, Yasuhito Endo is one of the greatest ever Japanese footballers. In his long 17 year career, Endo has played entirely in the Japanese league rejecting many offers to play abroad.

The 36-year old has spent the majority of his distinguished career at Gamba Osaka where he is a cult hero because of his loyalty. He has formidable passing ability, leadership, and goal scoring ability. He is also known for his excellent accuracy on free kicks and is revered as one of Japan's most creative midfielders as well as one of the most talented Japanese footballers of his generation.

Endo’s amazing consistency can be seen by the fact that he has been selected for J-League's best 11 a record 12 times. He has also been crowned as the Japanese footballer of the year in 2008.

The Japanese midfielder is an absolute legend in his country.

#4 Jose Manuel Moreno

jose manuel moreno river plate

Jose Manuel Moreno was an Argentine inside forward who played for several clubs in Argentina, Mexico, Colombia and Chile. He is the first footballer ever to win the league title in four different countries.

Moreno was regarded by many as one of the most complete players of all time. The Argentine legend was known as a player of impeccable technique, great vision and fine dribbling abilities. Despite his reputation for drinking, smoking and missing training on regular occasions, he was known for his formidable heading qualities and fine physical ability.

The forward’s impact in Argentina can be seen by the fact that in 1999, he was ranked among the 25 best players in the world in the 20th century and among the five best in South America, through a poll by the IFFHS.

Moreno also enjoyed significant success with the national team winning three South American championships.

He was also extremely popular in his home country where he was ranked as the third best footballer ever behind Diego Maradona and Alfredo Di Stefano and surprisingly ahead of Lionel Messi!

#3 Rivellino

rivelino brazil

One of the most elegant players in the history of football, Rivellino was one of the stars of Brazil’s 1970 World Cup triumph. Rivellino was famous for his moustache but what he was best known for was his stunning free-kick abilities.

His accurate long passing, close control, vision and dribbling skills was second to none and he was one of the most gifted footballers ever.

The Elastico or the flip flap is another trademark move you would associate mostly with the legendary Brazilian player Rivelino. The genius of Rivelino left many a player as mesmerized as the audience looking on from the crowds but none of his moves generated as much burn on the opposition player as the Elastico.

Rivelino is considered to be one of the greatest players of all time

#2 Garrincha

garrincha and pele

Winner of two World Cups and considered to be one of the most talented players ever, Garrincha was an iconic number 7 for both Brazil and his club side Botafogo.

Widely regarded as the best dribbler in the history of football, Garrincha mainly played as a right winger. In the 1962 World Cup, Garrincha in the absence of Pele led Brazil to glory and he was the best player in the tournament receiving the World Cup Golden Ball for player of the tournament, the Golden Boot as leading goalscorer, and was named in the World Cup All-Star Team.

Adored by the Brazilian public due to his innocence, carefree attitude and ability to entertain in making fools of opposing players, Garrincha was referred to as "Joy of the People". He is one of the few players to have scored direct from a corner, a feat he managed to do 4 times in his career.

Regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, he was voted into the World Team of the 20th century, came seventh in the FIFA Player Of The Century grand jury vote, and was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Time Team.

Some people in Brazil considered Garrincha to be an even better player than the legendary Pele.

#1 Pele


In the 1958 World Cup, a 17 year and 239-day old Brazilian striker emerged as probably the greatest prodigy of all time.

With his pace, effortless grace, immense poise, impressive power and most importantly supreme intelligence, Edson Arantes do Nascimento, fondly known as Pele, is probably one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Winning three World Cups in 1958, 1962 and 1970, the only player in the world to achieve such a feat, Pele also holds the Guinness World record for being the highest goal scorer of all time, scoring a whopping 1281 goals in 1363 games.

The striker who made the world believe in this game through his game, a player who brought a whole nation together, surely it is difficult to have found someone who has done it better than the legend Pele.

Pele never played in Europe, spending the majority of his career at childhood club Santos. He spent a couple of seasons at New York Cosmos before calling time on his stunning career.

Edited by Staff Editor


Quick Links:

More from Sportskeeda
Fetching more content...