Brazil's greatest midfielders
We take a look at Brazil's outstanding playmakers down the years.
Last Updated: 02/07/10 9:45am
Attack-minded midfielder Zico is considered by some to be the best player of the 1980s. His ability on the ball was often frightening. He could dribble, score and boasted an unreal free-kick. Zico, however, despite playing at three World Cup finals, never lifted the famed trophy.
Holding midfielder Dunga is the current manager of the Brazil side. He has played at three consecutive World Cups, starting in 1990. He then skippered his nation to glory at the 1994 tournament, although his nation could not repeat their feat in 1998. Dunga oozed accurate passing, often starting off moves from deep.
Zizinho largely operated on the right wing, and was much heralded for his displays at the 1950 World Cup. Indeed, Zizinho demonstrated incredible ability at the tournament with his vision and dribbling of particular note. He scored in Brazil's opening game against Yugoslavia before netting again versus Spain.
Didi twice lifted the World Cup trophy during his international career. He is regarded as one of the greatest midfielders to have graced the game, with his running power, superb passing and eye for goal among his strengths. He was player of the tournament at the 1958 World Cup when Brazil claimed glory before four years later he again played a pivotal role in success.
Moustachioed Brazilian Rivelino operated as a left winger. He boasted a plethora of skilful strings to his bow, including a blistering a free-kick, while he was famed for his 'flip flap' trick. The graceful midfielder played at three World Cups, securing glory at the 1970 competition, where he scored three goals.
Paulo Roberto Falcao
Falcao was a serious talent. The attack-minded midfielder played at three separate World Cup finals, scoring six goals in his 13 appearances. He was part of Brazil's famous 1970 winning side and is considered to be on the best footballers of all time.
Jairzinho was a blistering winger in his heyday. Indeed, his pace and ability on the ball frightened defenders. He was part of Brazil's famous 1970 World Cup winning side where he scored in every game during his nation's march to glory. He also featured at the 1966 and 1974 tournaments.
Gerson was a midfielder who dazzled with his incredible left foot. After a mediocre 1966 World Cup, Gerson shot to fame at the 1970 competition. Indeed, he was at the heart of Brazil's magnificent success, with his passing from midfield sparking much of their play.
Goodness, what a player. The 'little bird' was a world-class right winger who is argued to have been as good as Pele. And it is argued he is the best dribbler of all time. He played at three straight World Cup finals, lifting the trophy twice. He made 12 World Cup appearances overall, losing just once and scoring five times.
Zagallo operated on the left flank for Brazil, and caught the eye with his superb performances on the world stage. The diminutive player lacked strength but boasted mesmerising technique. And he was in target in Brazil's successful final against Sweden in 1958. He again scored at the competition four years later as Brazil retained their crown.
The two-footed Socrates was a breathtaking player. The midfielder was a superb schemer, boasting an the ability to thread a pass through the eye on a needle. He was also blessed with fine reading of the game while his trademark was a cheeky unsighted backheel. He played at two World Cups, but never lifted the trophy.
Gilberto Silva is poised to play at his third successive World Cup. The defensive midfielder first appeared on the world stage at the 2002 tournament where he helped offer solidarity as Brazil lifted the trophy. Indeed, his displays screening the back four were highly praised. His reading of the game is superb while his coolness on and off the pitch has also been praised.
Rivaldo is considered one of the great playmakers in modern football. The former Fifa World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year played at two World Cup finals, claiming glory at the 2002 competition. He scored an excellent return of eight goals from his 14 appearances.
Ronaldinho, arguably one the most gifted footballers of his generation. The playmaker, who oozes unthinkable technique when in possession, has played at two World Cup finals. He lifted the trophy in 2002 while the AC Milan player has two World Cup goals to his name from 10 appearances.
Leonardo was a versatile performer for his country, able to play at left-back or as an attacking midfielder. He played at Brazil's successful World Cup 1994 campaign, but missed the final matches of the tournament after receiving a four-game ban for elbowing an opponent. Four years later he played in all seven matches for his country as they finished as runners-up.
Defensive-minded midfielder Zito claimed glory at both the 1958 and 1962 World Cups. His discipline allowed his team-mates to flourish, although he did surge forward and grab himself a goal in the final of the latter tournament. Zito never lost in a Brazil shirt at the World Cup.
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