6 Greatest Brazilians to play for Real Madrid
Real Madrid is undoubtedly the biggest club in the world, claiming followership by fans running into their hundreds of millions around the globe, and they have an illustrious history to go with their status, being one of the most successful football clubs of all time.
Los Blancos have paraded some of the most iconic footballers throughout history, which increases the appeal to play for the club, with players finding it hard to turn down the opportunity when Real Madrid comes calling, as it is every boy’s childhood dream to put on the white of the club.
When it comes to the international scene, there is no country bigger than Brazil, with the yellow and blue of the Samba Boys known throughout the world, and with their five World Cup wins, no other national team comes close to matching the success of La Canarinhas, with over 200 million football crazy Brazilians obsessed with the success of their national team.
Some of the most legendary players in history have come out of this South American nation, and plenty of their stars of yesteryears are considered by many to be the greatest of all time, with the average Brazilian expected to possess flair and technique owing to the exploits of their predecessors such as Ronaldo, Pele and Zico to name a few.
It, therefore, comes as no surprise to see Real Madrid closely associated with Brazil, as the two have been thrust into a mutually beneficial relationship, owing to their respective status’ as the best teams on the national and club scenes.
Real has a history of seeking the most marketable players around the world who also possess the technique and requisite talent to succeed at a club its size, and when it comes to talent, there is arguably no bigger production line than Brazil.
Real Madrid’s association with Brazilian players dates far back to 1935, and Vinicius Junior’s unveiling at the Bernabeu in the summer made him the 24th Brazilian to arrive at the club. Of his previous 23 compatriots, some have cemented their name in Gold at the club and departed as legends, while most have failed to live up to the hype. In this piece, we take a look at five Brazilians who had the most endearing legacies at Real Madrid during their stay there.
Note – This list focuses on just the respective players’ impacts at Real Madrid, and as such their achievements elsewhere no matter how legendary is not factored in.
Honourable mentions – Canario, Savi Bortolini, Evaristo, Julio Baptista
#6 Robinho (2005-2008)
Earmarked as the ‘new Pele’ by none other than the GOAT himself for his exploits in his native Brazil, Robinho started receiving rave reviews from all over the world as early as 18 years after guiding Santos to its first league title since Pele himself represented the club.
With major European clubs seeking his services. Real Madrid specifically identified him as their next target, and he arrived Santiago Bernabeu amidst much fanfare in 2005 as the last galactico signing of Florentino Perez’ first tenure.
Robinho enjoyed a spectacular debut match against Cadiz and ended his first season with the club scoring 14 goals in 37 appearances.
In the next season, Robinho found himself out of the first-team picture, mostly used as a substitute by Fabio Capello, but still played a minimal role in helping Real Madrid to her 30th La Liga trophy and first since 2003, scoring six goals.
The following season was unarguably his most productive at the club, as he was given a central role by Bernd Schuster, and he reciprocated, being the club’s best player that campaign as Real retained their La Liga crown.
He, however, faced much criticism from sections of the Madrid fanbase owing to his lifestyle off the pitch, and despite his undoubted talent, Robinho failed to fully cement his legacy at the club.
After feeling unwanted by the club due to its intention to use him as a makeweight to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to the Bernabeu in 2008 (which did not materialize), Robinho rejected contract talks with the club and sought a transfer to Manchester City.
He ended his three year spell at Real Madrid with 35 goals from 135 appearances, and was the third highest goalscorer behind Raul and Van Nistelrooy and well as the second highest assist provider behind Guti during his time at the club, but he departed with a sense of unfulfilled potential, and did not live up to expectation at the Bernabeu.
Robinho currently plays for Turkish club, Sivasspor as a forward.