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Ranking the 5 highest-scoring Brazilian footballers of the 21st century

Bhargav
Neymar is one of the top Brazilian scorers for club and country.
Neymar is one of the top Brazilian scorers for club and country.

Brazil are the most successful country in the history of the FIFA World Cup, having won a record five titles.

Players from the South American nation are generally known for their flair and silken skills on the ball. These attributes are often seen even in defenders and goalkeepers. Many top Brazilian players ply their trade in Europe's top five leagues, and are key personnel for their respective clubs.

Over the years, numerous prolific Selecao goalscorers have graced the game, winning big titles for club and country. The likes of Pele, Romario, Rivaldo and Ronaldo Nazario come to mind. The trend has continued this century as well.

On that note, here's a look at the five most prolific Brazilian goalscorers for club and country since the turn of the century:

Note: All stats are as per transfermarkt unless mentioned otherwise.


#5 Kaka (FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil) - 190 goals

Kaka in action for AC Milan vs US Sassuolo Calcio - Serie A
Kaka in action for AC Milan vs US Sassuolo Calcio - Serie A

Kaka is one of the most elegant Brazilian players to have graced the game this century.

The 39-year-old, who mostly played in attacking midfield, scored nearly 200 goals for club and country over the course of his career. Kaka enjoyed the most successful spell of his career with AC Milan. He bagged a rich haul of 104 goals and 90 assists in two separate stints at the club, winning the Serie A and Champions League, among other titles.

Kaka arrived as a Galactico signing at Real Madrid in the summer of 2009, but endured an injury-plagued stint at the club. Nevertheless, he bagged 29 goals and 41 assists, and notably won a La Liga and Copa del Rey title.

Interestingly, the midfielder also scored exactly 29 times for the Selecao as well, while winning the 2002 FIFA World Cup and two Confederations Cup trophies.

@KAKA @Richard_Fitz Kaka beat some πŸ”₯ names to the 2007 Ballon d’Or πŸ™Œ https://t.co/mprVTJoZLE

The 2007 Ballon d'Or winner's other strikes came for Sau Paulo and Orlando City.


#4 Ronaldinho (FIFA World Cup winner with Brazil) - 222 goals

Ronaldinho Gaucho was a prolific goalscorer during his playing days.
Ronaldinho Gaucho was a prolific goalscorer during his playing days.

Ronaldinho enjoyed a hugely successful career with club and country. The 41-year-old won all major titles during his playing career spanning almost two decades.

The elegant playmaker enjoyed a prolific five-year spell at Barcelona, scoring 94 goals and assisting 76 times. He won two La Liga titles and the Champions League. Ronaldinho's only Ballon d'Or award (in 2005) came while he was at Barcelona.

15 years ago today, Ronaldinho won the Ballon d'Or 🀩 https://t.co/dJ4X8qcyhh

The 2002 FIFA World Cup winner scored 25 and 26 goals for PSG and AC Milan either side of his Barcelona stint. Ronaldinho's other goals during his club career came for four different clubs.

The ex-Barcelona man scored 33 goals for the Selecao, with 27 of them coming this century. Ronaldinho netted a memorable free-kick in their 2-1 quarter-final win over England in their triumphant 2002 FIFA World Cup campaign.

#3 Fred - 233 goals

Fred celebrates after netting for Fluminense against Internacional in the Brasileirao 2021.
Fred celebrates after netting for Fluminense against Internacional in the Brasileirao 2021.

Fred, not to be confused with his namesake who plays for Manchester United, is one of the most prolific Brazilian goalscorers this century.

Unlike his younger compatriot, who's a midfielder, the 38-year-old Fred is a centre-forward. The Brazilian has scored over 200 goals in his club career, with 43 of those strikes coming with Lyon during his lone stint in European football in the 2000s.

Fred has enjoyed the most prolific spell of his club career with Fluminense, his current club whom he rejoined in 2020. He has scored 128 goals for the team, winning two league titles. His other goals in club football have come with Cruzeiro, Atletico Mineiro and America Mineiro.

⚽️ He’s been an exceptional goalscorer for almost 20 years. Tonight he turned playmaker supreme πŸ€©πŸ’« What an unbelievable performance from Fred and Fluminense πŸ‡­πŸ‡Ί@fredgol9 | @fluminensefc | @TheLibertadores https://t.co/SydA7a2i8A

The centre-forward couldn't replicate his club-football heroics with Selecao, though. He scored 18 times for the national team, with his last strike coming in the 4-1 win over Cameroon in the group stage at the 2014 FIFA World Cup.


#2 Neymar - 335 goals

Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar warms up before their Champions League clash against Manchester City.
Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar warms up before their Champions League clash against Manchester City.

Neymar is widely regarded as one of the most skillful Brazilian players to have graced the game.

The 29-year-old PSG attacker has enjoyed a glittering career for club and country. He has scored 265 goals for three different clubs. After breaking out at Santos, where he scored 70 goals in the late 2000s, the winger enjoyed a prolific spell at Barcelona.

During a hugely successful four-year stint at Camp Nou, Neymar bagged 105 goals and 90 assists. He struck up a devastating partnership with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, helping Blaugrana win a continental treble (2014-15), among other titles.

After moving to PSG on a world-record €222 million move in the summer of 2017, the playmaker has blown hot and cold, thanks to injuries and poor form. Nevertheless, he has still bagged an impressive 90 goals and 71 assists, winning three league titles and numerous domestic cups.

He has also enjoyed a prolific spell with Brazil, netting 70 times to close in on Pele (77)'s all-time record. Neymar (52) recently surpassed the three-time FIFA World Cup winner (47) for most assists for the Selecao.

Pele says he can't wait for Neymar to break his Brazil goal record πŸ€πŸ—£οΈ "Everytime I see this boy (Neymar), he's smiling. And it's impossible not to smile back, it's contagious." twitter.com/goal/status/14…

However, unlike his illustrious compatriot, Neymar is yet to win a senior title with Selecao. That is something the PSG star would want to rectify as he approaches his 30s.


#1 Hulk (Confederations Cup winner with Brazil) - 355 goals

Hulk celebrates during Atletico Mineiro vs Fluminense.
Hulk celebrates during Atletico Mineiro vs Fluminense.

Hulk is unexpectedly the most prolific Brazilian goalscorer this century. That's because, unlike his four other compatriots on this list, the 35-year-old never played in any of Europe's top five leagues.

Nevertheless, the bulky centre-forward has scored goals galore during his career - over 350 of them for club and country. However, only 11 of those strikes have come for Selecao, all in friendlies.

The striker has scored goals in domestic leagues in Russia, Portugal, China, Japan and his native Brazil, winning league titles in four different countries. He has netted 76 goals apiece for Zenit Saint Petersburg and Shanghai Port, and 77 strikes for Porto. Hulk's other goals have come for his current club Atletico Mineiro, Tokyo Verdi, Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo and Kawasaki Frontale.

Hulk turns 35 today! 🎈He's cost over £100m in total transfers fees but has never played in Seria A, La Liga, Ligue 1, the Bundelisga or the Premier League 🀯 https://t.co/z4ec0j4TsV

At 35, a move to Europe's top five leagues is an unrealistic proposition, but stranger things have happened in the game.

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Edited by Parimal
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