Top Ten Brazilians
Ahead of England's game with Brazil we look at ten Samba stars to have graced the top flight. From Mirandinha to Juninho there have been plenty to admire. Just don't mention Roque Junior...
Last Updated: February 5, 2013 11:27am
Mirandinha: Opened the gates for Brazilians in England
England welcome Brazil to Wembley on Wednesday for a glamour friendly, with the likes of Neymar expected to showcase the national team's customary flair and flamboyance.
English football has been treated to more than just the occasional glimpse of some Samba magic, though, with many Brazilians having impressed over the past three decades.
Here, Sky Sports takes a look at 10 Brazilian players to have made an impression on the English game.
Mirandinha: Opened the gates for Brazilians in England
The first trailblazing Brazilian pitched up in Newcastle in 1987 when Toon boss Willie McFaul paid a handsome £575,000 to lure Mirandinha from Palmeiras. A diminutive dribbler who was greedy to the extent it was rumoured local All-You-Can-Eat restaurants barred him, Mirandinha wasn't too fond of the cold but quickly earned himself a cult status on the terraces. He wasn't just about novelty value though, with four caps for his country testimony to the fact he could really play. In an ideal world that Newcastle side would have played with three balls; one for Mirandinha, one for Paul Gascoigne and one for the rest of the team. Alas, the FA weren't having any of it so something had to give. A record of 19 goals from 54 appearances in black and white was more than respectable but when McFaul left, his successor at St James' Jim Smith didn't fancy Newcastle's boy from Brazil and soon shipped him back to Palmeiras.
Sylvinho (Arsenal, Manchester City)
After signing from Corinthians in 1999, Sylvinho became the first Brazilian player to join Arsenal. The attacking left-back would always look to attack the channels and get at the opposition but also had his defensive game intact. The Gunners will remember Sylvinho for a wicked left foot - notably a stunner in the 2-2 draw during the London derby against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in 2000. His impressive performances earned him a spot in the 2000/01 PFA Team of the Year, but he left for Celta Vigo in 2001 following the emergence of Ashley Cole. In 2009, the defender had a brief spell at Manchester City and reminded the English game what they had been missing with a spectacular FA Cup goal against Scunthorpe.
In 2001, after signing for Arsenal for £6million, expectations were high. The central midfielder, however, endured an injury-blighted season after picking up an injury on his debut. It was in his second season under Arsene Wenger that Edu began to show the Premier League what he was about. Precise passing and long-range strikes were key traits as he began to play a key role for the Gunners. Between 2002 and 2003 he helped the North London club to a Premier League title along with back-to-back FA Cups. The following season he helped 'The Invincibles' remain unbeaten for all 38 games as they claimed the championship. During his spell at Arsenal, including 100 league games, he showed his brilliance and just what he was capable of when given the opportunity.
Juninho intimidates Philippe Albert
The Middlesbrough legend has gone down as arguably the club's greatest player. The attacking midfielder flourished at the Riverside after arriving in 1995, just months after Boro had been promoted to the Premier League. Juninho was instrumental during his time at the club and was the orchestrator for many of the team's victories, while scoring 34 goals along the way. Such was the admiration for the little Brazilian, fans would bow down in worship to their saviour. He enjoyed three spells at the club, and returned to the North East in a pre-season friendly in 2011 to bid farewell to his fans.
Gilberto Silva (Arsenal)
The final player to represent Arsene Wenger in our list, Gilberto Silva arrived at the club after attracting attention following Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph. During his stay in North London, Silva was known for breaking up opposition attacks, covering team-mates as well as a high pass completion rate. Twice going 45 games without receiving a booking, 'The Wall' preferred to halt attacks in their tracks rather than diving in. When Thierry Henry left the club, it seemed certain that Silva would be given the captaincy, however, Wenger opted for centre-back William Gallas. Shortly after, he lost his starting spot to Mathieu Flamini, which led to his time at Arsenal being cut short as he joined Panathinaikos.
Chelsea initially signed the imposing defender in 2004 but, due to work permit problems, he did not officially arrive at Stamford Bridge until 2007. During his time at the London club, Alex reinforced his nickname as 'The Tank' due to his ferocious free-kicks and daunting physique. He became a prominent figure for the Blues and started every game during Guus Hiddink's caretaker stint at the club. The no-nonsense figure scored 10 goals for Chelsea, including a blistering 30-yard free-kick against Liverpool in the 2009 Champions League quarter-final second leg. After falling out of favour, Alex joined the Paris Saint-Germain revolution in 2012 to reunite with his former manager Carlo Ancelotti.
Elano (Manchester City)
Elano: Loved life at City under Sven, less so with Hughes
As Sven Goran Eriksson began his Manchester City revolution, Elano was seen to be the catalyst for the club's projected success. After arriving from Gremio for £8million on a four-year contract, the playmaker instantly excited fans with the free midfield role given to him. A double against Middlesbrough saw the Premier League take notice and, in his first season, the Brazilian scored 10 goals and had 10 assists. However, under Mark Hughes he fell out of favour and was given a left midfield role which he was not as suited to. The arrivals of Shaun Wright-Philips and Robinho contributed to Elano's City demise but he still managed to score 18 goals for the club and maintain a 100% penalty record.
Lucas Leiva (Liverpool)
Rafael Benitez brought the former Gremio man to Merseyside in 2007, though initially Lucas found it difficult to break into the Liverpool side with stiff competition from Steven Gerrard, Xabi Alonso and Javier Mascherano. Fans even began to boo the player for some performances but, since the exit of Alonso in 2009, the defensive midfielder has turned a corner and has been a big part of the team. He has been key in cutting out opposition attacks whilst also chipping in with a number of assists. Superb displays in the 2008-09 season during the thrashings of Newcastle United and Manchester United caught the attention of many. In the 2010-11 season, Lucas was voted the player of the year by fans after cementing his place in the starting line-up. However in November 2011 he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury which cut short his season before he missed three months of this season with a thigh problem. But has since returned to action and has earned plaudits from Steven Gerrard for allowing the Liverpool captain to have more freedom to go forward.
Ramires arrived at Chelsea for £17million in 2010 after Ancelotti brought the Brazilian to London from Benfica to revitalise his squad following departures after the club's double winning season. After a slow start, Ramires stamped his mark and fans have been blessed with a box-to-box midfielder with an impressive engine. One of the highlights of his career was the Champions League semi-final against Barcelona last April. After knowing he would miss the final through suspension, Ramires led the Chelsea comeback by scoring a stunning chip when they were 2-0 down - a goal that earned him the Blues' goal of the season award for a second year running. The dribbling ability of the 25-year-old is also impressive and helped on his way in achieving 12 goals last season.
Julio Cesar (Queens Park Rangers)
Julio Cesar: Found form at QPR
Though the QPR keeper has only made 17 appearances for the Premier League outfit since arriving from Inter Milan, his talents speak volumes. With Harry Redknapp's men currently lying bottom of the table, without Cesar's performances the London club could have been doomed. The 33-year-old has been rated by many - including former Italy international Gianluca Pagliuca - as the best goalkeeper in the world. The Brazilian international most notably kept a clean sheet during QPR's 1-0 victory at Chelsea, then backed this up in the next Premier League game with a remarkable display in the 0-0 draw against Spurs. One thing for certain is, if QPR are to stay up, this man is sure to play a key role.