The Most Famous Soccer Legends of Brazil
Soccer - typical Brazilian!
Brazil without soccer? This is hard to imagine, because hardly any other country is associated with soccer as Brazil. If you spent your Brazil vacation in the country at the time of a World Cup, you can certainly tell many curious things about the state of emergency that prevails there at that time. Then practically everything in Brazil revolves around soccer and cheering on the Brazilian national team. It is normal for stores, banks and schools to be closed during the games of the Brazilian team, as every Brazilian is allowed to watch them on screen. The Seleção, as the Brazilian national team is known, has already won the world championship title five times. No wonder, that so many technically gifted and inventive players come from Brazil.
The history of Brazilian soccer
As in many other countries, soccer came to Brazil through English emigrants. In Brazil, Charles Miller, the son of an English employee of the railroad company, is considered the "father of soccer". Miller, who was born in Brazil, went to England to study at the Banister Court School. There he got to know soccer and became a great fan. When he returned to Brazil in 1894, he brought two soccer balls in his suitcase. In an interview with the magazine O Cruzeiro in 1952, Miller explained that it was because of him, that soccer came to Brazil.
In 1895, the first official soccer game in history was played in Várzea do Carmo, São Paulo. The match was between the English and Brazilian employees of the São Paulo Gaz Company and the São Paulo Railway Company. The friendly match ended with a 4-2 victory for São Paulo Railway.
The sport spread quickly throughout the country. In the first years of the 20th century, numerous soccer clubs were founded, such as Fluminense in Rio or the Sport Club do Recife. In 1914, the time had come and the Brazilian national soccer team had its first international match against Argentina. They had to cope with a 0-3 defeat, but their triumphal march began only a few years later.
The soccer legends
From Pelé to Garrincha, from Ronaldo to Kaká - Brazil has produced some of the best players in the history of world soccer.
For many, Pelé is the most complete player the world has ever seen. In 1958, at the age of only 17, he became the youngest player to participate in a World Cup final. He scored six goals. Thanks to his technical skills, his ability to beat players in a duel, his eye for the right pass and his skill in the air, Pelé remains one of the most iconic players in the world. The 1,281 goals of his career are the most goals officially recognized by FIFA. He is also the only player to have won a World Cup three times. With 77 goals in 92 appearances, he remains Brazil's best scorer ever.
Although Pelé is remembered as the most complete player of all time, Garrincha often overshadowed his compatriot with his outrageous skill and tricks. The boy from Botafogo, who suffered from a bent right leg from birth, had fascinating ball control and no problem running fast with a soccer ball. Garrincha became a world champion with Brazil in 1958 and 1962. In 1962 he was also voted "Best Player of the Tournament". When Brazil lost to Hungary in the 1966 World Cup, this was Garrincha's first international defeat in 50 games for his country.
With 48 goals in only 71 games for Brazil, Zico is the fourth highest scorer in the country and is known for his impeccable passing game and unique free kicks. He was also an avid goal scorer and ended his career with nearly 500 goals for various clubs in less than 700 games. Although he took part in three world championships, Zico never won any international titles in the game for Brazil, but there were numerous individual awards for him, including the "Best Player in South America" award three times.
Romario is one of the most prolific rushers in the history of soccer and was even called the "Genius of the Goal Area" by Johan Cruyff. His claim to have scored more than 1,000 goals in his career may be difficult to prove, but there is no doubt about his abilities. At the 1994 World Cup, he made a significant contribution to Brazil's success, earning him the title of "FIFA World Player of the Year".
With the number 9 on his back, the Rio-born Ronaldo became famous. On his way to the 1998 World Cup in France, Ronaldo had already scored over 200 goals in four countries, won a World Cup in 1994 and was twice crowned "FIFA World Player of the Year" - all at the age of 21. After more than 3 years of almost uninterrupted injury, he returned in 2002, scored eight goals and secured a fifth World Cup for his country.
Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite, better known as Kaká, also took part in the 2002 World Cup at the age of just 20. In 2007, after many successful years, he was named "Footballer of the Year".
The most successful Brazilian footballer at the moment is Neymar, who is not even 30 years old. He has already been voted "South America's Footballer of the Year" twice. His transfer to FC Barcelona in 2013 is one of the most expensive transfers in the history of soccer.
As you can see, Brazil has spawned some soccer legends. On your next trip to Brazil, you will notice how much soccer simply belongs to Brazil.
Sources: brasilescola.uol.com.br, www.fussball-legende.de, www.wikipedia.org