Skip to content

Brazil's greatest defenders

Image: Roberto Carlos: trademark free-kicks

We take a look at the stars of Brazil's rearguard.

We take a look at the stars of Brazil's rearguard

Djalma Santos

Impressive defender Djalma Santos appeared at four separate World Cup finals, winning the competition twice. Indeed, the stopper tasted glory in 1958 and also four years later. Like many Brazilians, Djalma Santos like to bomb forward with devastating effect.

Nilton Santos

Nilton Santos operated as a marauding wing-back for Brazil. He played at three different World Cups, winning the competition on two occasions. At the 1958 tournament, Nilton Santos scored a remarkable goal that saw him embark on a mazy run before lashing in from distance.

Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto is rightly regarded as one of the best defenders of all-time. His position was wing-back with his sauntering runs down the right channel in a Brazil shirt much hailed. He played at just one World Cup finals, captaining his nation in all of their six games as they claimed glory in 1970 while of course scoring that brilliant goal against Italy.


Aldair was a commanding centre-back for his country who played at two World Cup tournaments. The stopper first featured at the 1994 competition and played a pivotal role in helping his nation claim glory. He also reached the showpiece four years later, but Brazil were undone by France.

Roberto Carlos

Brilliant left wing-back Roberto Carlos is a legendary footballer. Carlos, who played at three separate World Cup finals and won the competition in 2002, is renowned for his trademark free-kicks and blistering pace. Overall, he recorded 17 World Cup appearances.


Right-back Cafu boasted incredible ability and stamina, with his overlapping runs down the wing non-stop during the 90 minutes of a match. He is the most-capped Brazilian player of all time, while he won the World Cup on two occasions and featured at four straight tournaments.


Brazilian star Branco's natural position was at left-back. The defender, who had a stint at Middlesbrough, was part of Brazil's successful World Cup side in 1994. He was regarded as a free-kick specialist while overall he made 12 World Cup appearances, scoring once.

Luis Pereira

Luis Pereira was a superb centre-back for his country Brazil. He played at the 1974 World Cup, where Brazil ultimately finished fourth. He was sent off in the second round match against Holland but is still regarded as a hero of a Brazilian defender.

Domingos da Guia

Domingos da Guia is regarded as one of the best Brazilian defenders of all time. He was a lynchpin in Brazil's defence during their World Cup showing in 1938, as he helped his nation finish third at the tournament hosted in France.


Junior was a versatile defensive-minded Brazilian who could operate at either left or right-back while he sometimes played in midfield. He featured for Brazil at two World Cup finals, making 10 appearances and scoring once for his country.

Jose Oscar Bernardi

Jose Oscar Bernard, nicknamed 'Oscar', played for his country on 60 occasions. He featured at the 1978 and 1982 World Cups, winning eight of the 12 matches he played in. His one World Cup goal came in the 4-1 victory over Scotland in Seville.


Centre-back Lucio is poised to play at this third consecutive World Cup finals having previously represented his nation in 2002 and 2006. He assisted his side in achieving glory in his World Cup debut and is set to captain his nation at this year's tournament.

Roque Junior

Roque Junior was a World Cup winner in 2002. The centre-back, who once had a spell at Leeds, enjoyed a fine showing at the 2002 tournament as he helped them to glory. Injury, however, kept the stopper out of the 2006 competition.


Jorginho was another fine Brazilian right-back famed for his attacking runs from deep. He played at two World Cup finals, emerging triumphant at the latter. He particularly shone in the semi-final victory over Sweden but his outing in the final against Italy was cut short by injury.

Hilderaldo Bellini

Hilderaldo Bellini was a very solid central defender indeed. His displays helped Brazil win their first World Cup in 1958 as he captained his nation to jubilation, with the South American giants beating France in the showpiece. He also featured at the 1966 tournament.

Mauro Ramos

After being an unused member of the Brazil squad at the 1954 and 1958 World Cups, Mauro Ramos was given his chance to impress at the 1962 competition. And the excellent centre-back skippered his country to success as they saw off Czechoslovakia in the final. Who do you think are Brazil's four greatest defenders? Make your selections using the VOTE tab

Around Sky