Unai Emery believes Neymar has the capacity to usurp Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo as the best player in the world.

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Emery worked with Neymar for his first season in France after the Brazil international's €222million move from Barcelona in 2017.

The Spaniard, who left PSG in 2018 and went on to manage Arsenal, loved his experience with Neymar and continues to believe in the 28-year-old's world-class ability.

"I had a magnificent year with him," Emery said, per EFE, in an interview with Granada coach Diego Martinez, who was his assistant at Sevilla.

"I learned so much watching his responses in each training session and in games.

"Neymar has the talent inside him but also the ability and qualities to execute it.

"I think he's got an opportunity to take the baton from Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and be the best player in the world, and he has the time to do it."

Neymar has won six trophies in his three seasons at PSG, including a Ligue 1 title in each year.

Champions League success has so far eluded him in France, though PSG had secured a quarter-final place in this season's competition before the coronavirus pandemic brought a halt to major football.

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (Ronaldinho Gaúcho) became only the second Barcelona player after Diego Maradona to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabéu. In that season he was to win his second FIFA World Player of the Year award as well as the Ballon d’Or. Ronaldinho had scored two spectacular goals in the game between Barcelona and Real, a derby known for pitting two of the world’s greatest footballing rivals against each other. His heroics in the El Clásico would come a year after Ronaldinho had won the World Cup with Brazil. He was at the top of his game and that put him on top of the world.

There are many, whom, having seen Ronaldinho, declare him the most skillful player to ever play the game, but the midfielder was also effective. That skill, the ability to dribble past players, score goals almost at will, and produce trickery that would make the world sit up and watch, brought with it trophies. Ronaldinho would become versed at taking free kicks and was always dangerous because of his ability to play anywhere in the attacking third of the football field. Ronaldinho was sometimes deployed as a winger, on either side of the midfield, as well as in the more central number-10 role. On occasion, he would also become the striker, which made him fearsome to defend. What was most scary about playing against Ronaldinho was the almost natural way he had of creating danger for opposition defenders. According Netherlands midfield general, Edgar Davids, who played with him at Milan, "For the skills and tricks, Ronaldinho was the best player that I ever played with."

Playing Career

Full name: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (Ronaldinho Gaúcho)

Date of birth: 21 March 1980 (age 40)

Place of birth: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Height: 1.81m (5ft 11 in)

Playing positions: Attacking midfielder, forward

Club Career

        Years                    Team                             Apps   (Gls)

  • 1998–2001          Grêmio                              52      (21)
  • 2001–2003          Paris Saint-Germain            55     (17)
  • 2003–2008          Barcelona                         145      (70)
  • 2008–2011          Milan                                 76      (20)
  • 2011–2012          Flamengo                          33       (15)
  • 2012–2014          Atlético Mineiro                  48       (16)
  • 2014–2015          Querétaro                          25         (8)
  • 2015                   Fluminense                         7         (0)
  • Total                                                        441    (167)

Club Honours

  • Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2001
  • Barcelona - La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06; Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006; UEFA Champions League: 2005–06
  • Milan - Serie A: 2010–11
  • Flamengo - Campeonato Carioca: 2011; Taça Guanabara: 2011; Taça Rio: 2011
  • Atlético Mineiro - Campeonato Mineiro: 2013; Copa Libertadores: 2013; Recopa Sudamericana: 2014

International Career

  • 1999-2013 Brazil 97 (33)

International Honours

  • FIFA U-17 World Championship: 1997
  • Copa América: 1999
  • CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament: 2000
  • FIFA World Cup: 2002
  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005
  • Olympic Bronze Medal: 2008

Individual Honours

  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 1999
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Shoe: 1999
  • South American Team of the Year: 1999
  • Bola de Prata: 2000, 2011, 2012
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002
  • Ligue 1 Goal of The Year: 2003
  • La Liga Best Foreign Player: 2003–04, 2005–06
  • Trofeo EFE: 2003–04
  • FIFA World Player of the Year: 2004, 2005
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2004, 2005, 2006
  • World Soccer Magazine World Player of The Year: 2004, 2005
  • UEFA Club Forward of the Year: 2004–05
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Ball: 2005
  • Ballon d'Or: 2005
  • Onze d'Or: 2005
  • FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2005, 2006
  • FIFPro World XI: 2005, 2006, 2007
  • UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2005–06
  • La Liga top assist provider: 2005–06
  • UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2005–06
  • FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball: 2006
  • FIFA World Player of the Year Bronze award: 2006
  • Golden Foot: 2009
  • Sports Illustrated Team of the Decade: 2009
  • Serie A top assist provider: 2009–10
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Team of the Year: 2011, 2012
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Best Fan's Player: 2012
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A top assist provider: 2012
  • Bola de Ouro: 2012
  • Copa Libertadores top assist provider: 2012, 2013
  • South American Footballer of the Year: 2013
  • UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (substitute; published in 2015)
  • FIFA 100
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
  • C. Milan Hall of Fame

Roberto Rivellino is most noted for being one of the attacking midfielders in arguably the greatest football team of all time – Brazil’s World-Cup-winning 1970 outfit. Rivellino was agreed to be one of the most graceful footballers to ever live and is credited with some of the moves employed by many of the stars of yesteryear, like Ronaldinho, Romario, and Cristiano Ronaldo. But Rivellino was also dangerous when the ball wasn’t moving as well with a very educated left foot. He bent free-kicks in ways that created wonder, and was a brilliant passer over distance as well. "Rivelino was everything I wanted to be as a football player,” ran a quote from Diego Maradona, a man who was arguably the greatest footballer to ever live. A good grade from a player of that calibre says enough. Rivellino would go on to play in two other World Cups but believed his greatest achievement came in 1970.

Playing Career

Name: Roberto Rivellino
Date of birth: 1 January 1946
Birthplace: São Paulo, SP, Brazil

Playing Position: attacking midfield

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1965-1978 (92 caps, 26 goals)

 

Honours

  • 1970 FIFA World Cup

 

Individual

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team player: 1970
  • Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team: 1971
  • CONMEBOL All-Star Team: 1973[21]
  • Bronze ball South American Footballer of the Year: 1973,[22] 1976[23]
  • Silver ball South American Footballer of the Year: 1977[24]
  • FIFA 100 Greatest Living Footballers: 2004
  • Premio Golden Foot Award (Football Legend Award): 2005[25]
  • The Best of The Best – Player of the Century: Top 50[26]
  • World Soccer: 38th Greatest Player of the 20th Century
  • IFFHS Brazilian Player of the 20th Century (12th place)[27]
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame

Club Career

           Years           Teams          Apps (Gls)

  • 1965-1974 Corinthians          236   (70)
  • 1975-1978 Fluminese             45   (10)
  • 1978-1981 Al-Hilal                 57    (23)
  • Total                                 338 (103)

        

Club Honours

  • Corinthians - Torneio Rio – São Paulo: 1966
  • Fluminense - Campeonato Carioca: 1975, 1976
  • Al Hilal - Kings Cup (Saudi Arabia): 1980

It would be difficult to build a list of the greatest defenders of all time and leave out the most decorated player in the history of the game. Daniel Alves da Silva (Dani Alves) has had a career inclusive of 40 trophies in international and club football. The fact that he has played in so many of the great teams throughout his career is testimony to his quality. Often going unnoticed, Alves has gone about being one of the best defenders of all time in a very unfussy way, choosing instead to use his intelligence and tactical awareness to achieve his ends without much fanfare.

Alves seems to always be in the right place at the right time and his gift for crossing the ball is often underestimated.

Playing Career

Name: Daniel Alves da Silva
Date of birth: 6 May 1983
Birthplace: Juazeiro, Bahia, Brazil

Playing Position: Right back

 

International career

  • Brazil: 2006-Present (118 caps)

 

Honours

  • 2007 Copa America
  • 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup
  • 2019 Copa America

 

Individual

  • FIFA U-20 World Cup Bronze Ball: 2003
  • UEFA Cup Most Valuable Player: 2005–06
  • UEFA Super Cup Man of the Match: 2006
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2017
  • ESM Team of the Year: 2006–07, 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2011–12
  • FIFA FIFPro World11: 2009, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018
  • FIFA FIFPro World11 2nd team: 2014
  • FIFA FIFPro World11 nominee: 2019 (4th defender)
  • La Liga Defender of the Season: 2008–09
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Team of the Tournament: 2013
  • La Liga Team of the Season: 2014–15
  • France Football World XI: 2015
  • Serie A Team of the Year: 2016–17
  • IFFHS Men's World Team: 2017
  • UNFP Ligue 1 Team of the Year: 2017–18
  • Copa América Most Valuable Player: 2019
  • Copa América Team of the Tournament: 2019

Club Career

  • 1963-1966 Fluminese
  • 1966-1974 Santos
  • 1974-1976 Fluminese
  • 1976-1977 Flamengo
  • 1977-1980 New York Cosmos
  • 1981 California Surf
  • 1982 New York Cosmos

        

Honours

  • Bahia - Copa do Nordeste: 2002
  • Sevilla - Copa del Rey: 2006–07; Supercopa de España: 2007; UEFA Cup: 2005–06, 2006–07; UEFA Super Cup: 2006
  • Barcelona - La Liga: 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16; Copa del Rey: 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16; Supercopa de España: 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013; UEFA Champions League: 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15; UEFA Super Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015; FIFA Club World Cup: 2009, 2011, 2015
  • Juventus - Serie A: 2016–17; Coppa Italia: 2016–17
  • Paris Saint-Germain - Ligue 1: 2017–18, 2018–19; Coupe de France: 2017–18; Coupe de la Ligue: 2017–18; Trophée des Champions: 2017, 2018

Carlos Alberto Torres is most famous for captaining Brazil in the 1970 World Cup and for scoring one of the greatest goals in the competition’s illustrious history. Despite being made famous for his attacking prowess, Carlos Alberto was also a brilliant defender, who was great at reading the game, tackling , and tactical awareness. Being great with the ball was an addition that was not usual in the mid-1960s and ensured that the World-Cup winning captain was always respected as being the best of his generation.

Playing Career

Name: Carlos Alberto Torres
Date of birth: 17 July 1944
Birthplace: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Playing Position: Right back

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1964-1977 (53 caps)

 

Honours

  • 1970 FIFA World Cup

 

Individual

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1970
  • World Team of the 20th Century: 1998
  • National Soccer Hall of Fame: 2003
  • FIFA 100: 2004
  • The Best of The Best – Player of the Century: Top 50
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame

FIFA World Cup appearances

  • 6 caps; 1 goal; 6 wins; 0 draw; 0 losses

 

Mexico 1970

  • Brazil 4-1 Czechoslovakia
  • Brazil 1-0 England
  • Brazil 3-2 Romania
  • Brazil 4-2 Peru
  • Brazil 3-1 Uruguay
  • Brazil 4-1 Italy

Club Career

  • 1963-1966 Fluminese
  • 1966-1974 Santos
  • 1974-1976 Fluminese
  • 1976-1977 Flamengo
  • 1977-1980 New York Cosmos
  • 1981 California Surf
  • 1982 New York Cosmos

        

Honours

  • Fluminese – Campeonato Carioca: 1964, 1975, 1976; Taça Guanabara: 1966
  • Santos – Recopa Sul-Americana: 1968; Taça de Prata: 1968; Paulista Championship: 1967, 1968, 1969, 1973
  • New York Cosmos – NASL Soccer Bowl Championships: 1977, 1978, 1980, 1982

Brazil and Barcelona great Ronaldinho maintains his innocence after being arrested for entering Paraguay with a fake passport, adamant the illegality of the document was a complete surprise.

Ronaldinho and Roberto Assis, the former footballer's brother and agent, were arrested on March 6 shortly after arriving in Asuncion to promote a book and the launch of an online casino.

Local authorities shared an image of what appeared to be a Paraguayan ID card bearing Ronaldinho's name and photo, with the former Ballon d'Or winner and his sibling taken into custody despite prosecutors proposing a different sanction, arguing the pair had been tricked.

The pair protested their innocence but spent 32 days in prison before being released and placed under house arrest in a hotel on April 8.

While the investigation is ongoing, Ronaldinho gave his first interview since the arrest, insisting he had no idea the ID card was fake.

"We were totally surprised to learn that the documents were not legal," Ronaldinho told Paraguayan TV station ABC Color.

"Since then our intention has been to cooperate with justice to clarify the fact, as we did from the beginning. From that moment until today, we have explained everything and facilitated everything that justice asked of us.

"It was a hard blow, I never imagined I would go through a situation like this. All my life I have sought to reach the highest professional level and bring joy to people with my football.

"We hope that they can use and confirm everything we provide as soon as our possible in the case and that we can leave this situation.

"Everything we do is under contracts that are managed by my brother, who is my manager. In this case, we came to participate in the launch of an online casino, as specified in the contract, and for the launch of the book 'Craque da Vida' that was organised with the company in Brazil that has the rights to exploit the book in Paraguay."

Ex-Barca, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan forward Ronaldinho won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013. 

He scored 33 times and was a key part of the 2002 World Cup-winning squad. 

Inter head coach Antonio Conte would not last a full season as Real Madrid boss, according to Atletico Madrid's Diego Costa.

Conte and Costa worked together at Premier League giants Chelsea before the latter left Stamford Bridge for Atletico following a row with the Italian coach at the end of 2016-17.

Costa was followed out of Chelsea by Conte 12 months later – the former Juventus coach joining Inter at the start of 2019-20 after a year away from football.

Asked about Conte, striker Costa told ESPN Brasil: "We [Conte and I] had problems off the pitch, but I think he is a really good manager.

"I have no hard feelings towards Conte. But to be a top, top manager, he needs to change the human side of his management. He is very suspicious. At a like, say, Real Madrid, he would never last a season."

Costa was born in Brazil and made two appearances for the Selecao before opting to represent Spain in 2013.

The 31-year-old has since earned 24 caps for Spain, representing La Roja at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

"After the friendly against Russia, he [former Brazil head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari] said he would call me up again because I hadn't played many minutes," Costa said as he reflected on his decision to switch countries. "I think it was just to get in my head.

"I remember several forwards were injured but Scolari would not select me. I stayed quiet, but wasn't selected for the Confederations Cup. The possibility of Spain emerged and I accepted.

"How could I say no? Suddenly, they started saying Scolari wanted me. Well, he never called me once. How could it be that he wanted me? I then saw it written that I had ruined the dreams of millions of Brazilians.

"Why not say that he didn't look for me? Then it's simple."

Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior (Júnior), also known as Capacete because of his very discernible afro. A versatile left back, Junior was often also employed in midfield and is most noted for playing in the Brazil team of 1982, considered the greatest to not win the World Cup. Júnior plied his trade with the great Flamengo sides of the 1970s and ‘80s, winning four Brazillian Championships with them. He is the most ‘capped’ player in Flamengo’s history with a remarkable 857 matches under his belt. He played for Brazil from 1979-1992 before turning his attention to beach football where he represented the football-crazy country from 1993-2001, scoring more than 200 goals. Júnior, at 30 years old, turned out for Torino in the Serie A as a midfielder and won the league’s Players of the Year title in his first season. Interestingly, Júnior’s appearances for country, though playing at left back, came despite being naturally right footed. The regard for Júnior came because of the elegance with which he played the game and the tactical awareness he displayed. Júnior could do it all, he was even known for being accurate from free-kicks and his crosses were a thing of beauty. He never stinged on his defensive duties and was well-known for being in the right place at the right time. 

Playing Career

Name: Leovegildo Lins da Gama Júnior (Júnior)
Date of birth: 29 June 1954
Birthplace: João Pessoa, Brazil

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1979-1992 (70 caps)

 

Honours

  • 1982 FIFA World Cup: Round 2 (Fifth place)
  • 1983 Copa América – Runner-up
  • 1986 FIFA World Cup: Quarter-finals (Fifth place)

Individual

  • 1980 - Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team
  • 1981 - Bronze ball South American Player of the Year
  • 1982 - FIFA World Cup All-Star Team, FIFA XI[20]
  • 1983 - Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team
  • 1984 - Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team
  • 1985 - Serie A player of the year
  • 1991 - Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team
  • 1992 - Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team, Bola de Ouro Brazilian Footballer of the Year, South American Team of the Year
  • 2004 - FIFA 100
  • Most appearances in Flamengo's History – 857 apps

FIFA World Cup appearances

  • 10 caps; 8 wins; no draws; 2 losses

 

Spain 1982

  • Brazil 2-1 Soviet Union
  • Brazil 4-1 Scotland
  • Brazil 4-0 New Zealand
  • Brazil 3-1 Argentina
  • Brazil 2-3 Italy

 

Mexico 1986

  • Brazil 1-0 Spain
  • Brazil 1-0 Algeria
  • Brazil 3-0 Northern Ireland
  • Brazil 4-0 Poland
  • Brazil 1-1 France (3-4)

Club Career

  • 1975–1984 Flamengo     
  • 1984 – 1987 Torino
  • 1987-89 Pescara
  • 1988 – 1993 Flamengo

        

Honours

Flamengo

  • Intercontinental Cup – 1981
  • Libertadores Cup – 1981
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A – 1980, 1982, 1983, 1992
  • Brazil Cup 1990
  • Mitropa Cup – 1991

Brazil’s Roberto Carlos epitomized the idea that hard work brings success and that talent wasn’t everything. But if in that message you missed how talented the left back was, it would be to your peril.

Over the course of a long career with Brazil and with LaLiga giants Real Madrid, Carlos enjoyed immense successes, but his personal performances over the years were a thing to watch.

Blessed with blinding pace, Carlos would make marauding runs down the left side that would leave his opponents hapless. But that wasn’t all. Carlos would learn to adjust to the adjustments made for him.

An intelligent player, Carlos realized that when he received the ball in his own half, his opposition would back right off so as to stop his solo runs. The diminutive left-back then became the proponent of the diagonal pass. Playing that pass accurately over 60 yards meant that on occasion he would scythe through an opposing back line and put his teammates through on goal. The pass became even more destructive than his runs.

Another way opponents tried to stop Carlos was by halting his runs illegally.

But Carlos adjusted to this as well, becoming a real threat from free kicks, making it dangerous to foul him in the wrong place.

Many don’t know, but Carlos began life as a forward before switching to left back because he would have otherwise been surplus to requirements. The decision proved golden as he would go on to play for Brazil 125 times over the course of 14 years, winning the 2002 World Cup. Carlos was also a part of the Galacticos, a Real Madrid unit considered to have the best players in the world in all positions. Giants of the game. There he won four LaLiga titles and three Champions League crowns.

 

Playing Career

Name: Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha (Roberto Carlos)
Date of birth: 10 April 1973
Birthplace: Garça, São Paulo, Brazil

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1992-2006 (125 caps)

 

Honours

  • 1997 Copa America
  • 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup
  • 1999 Copa America
  • 2002 FIFA World Cup™

Individual

  • Bola de Prata: 1993, 1994, 2010
  • FIFA World Player of the Year: 1997 (Silver Award)
  • ESM Team of the Year: 1996–97, 1997–98, 1999–00, 2000–01, 2001–02, 2002–03, 2003–04
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1998, 2002
  • Trofeo EFE: 1997–98
  • UEFA Club Defender of the Year: 2002, 2003
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2002, 2003
  • Ballon d'Or: 2002 (Runner-up)
  • Golden Foot: 2008
  • Sports Illustrated Team of the Decade: 2009
  • ESPN World Team of the Decade: 2009
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Team of the Year: 2010
  • FIFA 100
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame

FIFA World Cup appearances

  • 19 caps; 16 wins; no draws; 3 losses

 

France 1998

  • Brazil 2-1 Scotland
  • Brazil 3-0 Morocco
  • Brazil 1-2 Norway
  • Brazil 4-1 Chile
  • Brazil 3-2 Denmark
  • Brazil 1-1 Netherlands (4-2 Pen)
  • Brazil 0-3 France

 

South Korea & Japan 2002

  • Brazil 2-1 Turkey
  • Brazil 4-0 China PR
  • Brazil 5-2 Costa Rica
  • Brazil 2-0 Belgium
  • Brazil 2-1 England
  • Brazil 1-0 Turkey
  • Brazil 2-0 Germany

 

Germany 2006

  • Brazil 1-0 Croatia
  • Brazil 2-0 Australia
  • Brazil 4-1 Japan
  • Brazil 3-0 Ghana
  • Brazil 0-1 France

 

Club Career

  • 1991–1993 União São João      
  • 1992 → Atlético Mineiro (loan)
  • 1993–1995 Palmeiras     
  • 1995–1996 Inter Milan 
  • 1996–2007 Real Madrid        
  • 2007–2009 Fenerbahçe   
  • 2010–2011 Corinthians  
  • 2011–2012 Anzhi Makhachkala 
  • 2015 Delhi Dynamos     

Honours

Palmeiras

  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1993, 1994
  • Campeonato Paulista: 1993, 1994
  • Torneio Rio-São Paulo: 1993

Real Madrid

  • La Liga: 1996–97, 2000–01, 2002–03, 2006–07
  • Supercopa de España: 1997, 2001, 2003
  • UEFA Champions League: 1997–98, 1999–2000, 2001–02
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1998, 2002
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2002

Fenerbahçe

  • Turkish Super Cup: 2007, 2009

Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos could very have been the prototype from which Brazillian legend Cafu fashioned himself. The first great wing back from the country, Santos was a veteran of four World Cups, playing in 1954, ’58, ’62, and ’66. Of course, history tells us that the man considered one of the greatest right-backs of all time, was a World Cup winner in ’58 and ’62. What is also interesting, is that Santos has the fairly unique distinction of making three FIFA World Cup All-Star teams. Only Germany’s Franz Beckenbauer and Philipp Lahm can lay claim to also achieving this. His longevity was remarkable, the right-back having had more than 1,000 club appearances in his career. Pele also named Santos as on the top 125 greatest living footballers in 2004. Santos died in 2013 at 84 years old. Before his playing days would come to an end, Santos had played in 98 matches for Brazil over the course of 16 years.

 

Playing Career

Name: Djalma Pereira Dias dos Santos (Djalma Santos)
Date of birth: 27 February 1929
Birthplace: São Paulo, Brazil

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1952-1968 (98 caps)

 

Honours

  • 1952 Panamerican Championship
  • 1958 FIFA World Cup™
  • 1962 FIFA World Cup™

Individual

  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1954, 1958, 1962
  • World Soccer World XI: 1962, 1963, 1965[9]
  • FIFA XI: 1963[10]
  • FIFA World Cup All-Time Team: 1994
  • FIFA 100[11]
  • The Best of The Best – Player of the Century: Top 50[12]
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame

FIFA World Cup appearances

  • 15 caps; 11 wins; 4 draws; 3 losses

 

Switzerland 1954

  • Brazil 5-0 Mexico
  • Brazil 1-1 Yugoslavia
  • Brazil 1-1 Sweden
  • Brazil 2-4 Hungary

 

Sweden 1958

  • Brazil 3-0 Austria
  • Brazil 0-0 England
  • Brazil 2-0 Soviet Union
  • Brazil 1-0 Wales
  • Brazil 5-2 France
  • Brazil 5-2 Sweden

 

Chile 1962

  • Brazil 2-0 Mexico
  • Brazil 0-0 Chechoslovakia
  • Brazil 3-1 England
  • Brazil 4-2 Chile
  • Brazil 3-1 Chechoslovakia

 

England 1966

  • Brazil 2-0 Bulgaria
  • Brazil 1-3 Hungary
  • Brazil 1-3 Portugal

 

Club Career

  • 1948-1959 Portuguesa
  • 1959-1968 Palmeiras
  • 1969-1970 Atlético Paranaense

 

Honours

Portuguesa

  • Torneio Rio – São Paulo: 1952, 1955

Palmeiras

  • Campeonato Paulista: 1959, 1963, 1966
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1960, 1967, 1967
  • Torneio Rio – São Paulo: 1965

Marcos Engelista de Morais, without much fanfare, has put together, one of the most impressive careers as a right-back the World has ever seen. In a country notorious for being able to field a number of world-class teams at a time, Cafu became a mainstay in Brazil’s starting 11 for 12 of the 16 years he played. In those 12 years, he was a World Cup winner twice, once as captain. He also won the Copa America on two occasions as well as the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup. He was South American Footballer of the Year in 1994 and in 2004 Pele named him in a FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. He made the FIFA World XI in 2005.

For clubs, he enjoyed the most success with Roma and AC Milan and is widely considered one of the greatest to ever play in the Serie A. Cafu was the picture of efficiency, swapping out the traditional flair for speed and simple, uncomplicated football. His decision-making in attack as well as his positioning in defence, combined with real pace meant he rarely made mistakes and oppositions almost never had any joy down his side of the field.

To vote for Cafu to be part of SportsMax's Ultimate XI, visit SportsMax's Ultimate XI page and watch the SportsMax Zone today as Brent Sancho, Howie Bell, and Colin Murray take a look at your picks. The SportsMax Zone airs on SportsMax at 4:30 pm Jamaica time/5:30 pm Eastern Caribbean time with a repeat on SportsMax 2 at 6 pm Jamaica time/7 pm Eastern Caribbean time.

 

Playing Career

Name: Marcos Egelista de Morais (Cafu)
Date of birth: 7 June 1970
Birthplace: Itaquaquecetuba, Brazil

 

International career

  • Brazil: 1990-2006 (142 caps)

 

Honours

  • 1994 FIFA World Cup™
  • 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup
  • 1997 Copa America
  • 1999 Copa America
  • 2002 FIFA World Cup™

Individual

  • South American Team of the Year: 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995
  • South American Footballer of the Year: 1994
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002 (Reserve)
  • FIFA 100 inductee
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2004, 2005
  • FIFPro World XI: 2005
  • Sports Illustrated Team of the Decade: 2009
  • ESPN World Team of the Decade: 2009
  • World Soccer Greatest XI of all time: 2013
  • C. Milan Hall of Fame
  • S. Roma Hall of Fame
  • World XI: Team of the 21st Century

 

FIFA World Cup appearances

  • 25 caps; 20 wins; 2 draws; 3 losses

 

The United States 1994

  • Brazil 2-0 Russia
  • Brazil 3-0 Cameroon
  • Brazil 1-1 Sweden
  • Brazil 1-0 United States
  • Brazil 3-2 Netherlands
  • Brazil 1-0 Sweden
  • Brazil 0-0 Italy (3-2 Pen)

 

France 1998

  • Brazil 2-1 Scotland
  • Brazil 3-0 Morocco
  • Brazil 1-2 Norway
  • Brazil 4-1 Chile
  • Brazil 3-2 Denmark
  • Brazil 1-1 Netherlands (4-2)
  • Brazil 0-3 France

 

South Korea & Japan 2002

  • Brazil 2-1 Turkey
  • Brazil 4-0 China PR
  • Brazil 5-2 Costa Rica
  • Brazil 2-0 Belgium
  • Brazil 2-1 England
  • Brazil 1-0 Turkey
  • Brazil 2-0 Germany


Germany 2006

  • Brazil 2-0 Australia
  • Brazil 4-1 Japan
  • Brazil 3-0 Ghana
  • Brazil 0-1 France

 

Club Career

  • 1990-1994 Sao Paulo
  • 1994-1995 Real Zaragoza
  • 1995-1997 Palmeiras
  • 1997-2003 Roma
  • 2003-2008 AC Milan

Honours

São Paulo

  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A: 1991
  • Campeonato Paulista: 1991, 1992
  • Copa Libertadores: 1992, 1993
  • Intercontinental Cup: 1992, 1993
  • Supercopa Sudamericana: 1993
  • Recopa Sudamericana: 1993, 1994
  • Copa CONMEBOL: 1994

Real Zaragoza

  • UEFA Cup Winners' Cup: 1994–95

Palmeiras

  • Campeonato Paulista: 1996

Roma

  • Serie A: 2000-01
  • AC Milan
  • UEFA Super Cup: 2003, 2007
  • Serie A: 2003–04
  • Supercoppa Italiana: 2004
  • UEFA Champions League: 2006–07
  • FIFA Club World Cup: 2007

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is "not a leader" and must make football his top priority as Brazil eye success, according to former Manchester United full-back Rafael da Silva.

Neymar – the world's most expensive player following his €222million move to PSG in 2017 – continues to make headlines amid speculation over a possible return to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

The Brazil forward's antics on and off the pitch, highlighted by his mocking of Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland during last month's Champions League last-16 triumph, have also made headlines.

Rafael – now playing for Ligue 1 rivals Lyon – teamed up with Neymar during the 2012 Olympic Games and believes the 28-year-old can lead Brazil to glory, if he listens.

Brazil were one of the favourites to win the 2018 World Cup but crashed out in the quarter-finals before claiming last year's Copa America in the absence of Neymar due to an ankle injury.

"We need Neymar, that's for sure," Rafael told ESPN. "We need him a lot. He needs to improve a lot of things outside the pitch. It's important for a footballer.

"He needs to improve a lot outside the pitch to come inside the pitch and do his best. I hope he can do that and if he does we have a big chance to win.

"Neymar is not a leader. I don't think he's a leader. It's not him. He can do the things he does because if he is good, if he's focused and concentrated, he is the best player in the world."

Rafael added: "Football has to the first option of your life. He has so many things around him. He thinks in his mind 'I don't need to do that' to play well but you need to.

"There are a lot of things you need to do. If he does that and someone can put this in his mind -- I know him and I've played with him -- I know he's hard guy to listen to orders. It's not good with him.

"I say the truth but sometimes people don't want to listen to the truth. They want you to say 'you are good, you are magic' they want you to say all the good stuff but life is not like that.

"I think he needs to listen more and if he does that it will be hard to stop Brazil."

Squads for the upcoming Copa America could look vastly different by the time the tournament comes around following its postponement.

The latest edition of the competition was scheduled to start in June, but the coronavirus pandemic has seen it pushed back 12 months.

Some veteran players might now fade from the picture before the Copa America gets under way next year, while other stars will have time to recover from injury.

There could also be some new faces on the scene, with a host of uncapped prospects given an extra campaign to break through.

We take a look at five players who might emerge between now and the tournament.

 

GABRIEL MARTINELLI (BRAZIL)

Even beyond Neymar, Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus and co., Brazil have a wealth of attacking talent.

Matheus Cunha and Paulinho each starred at this year's CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament and are already plying their trade in the Bundesliga, yet the nation's most outstanding prospect might reside in London.

Gabriel Martinelli is eligible for both Brazil and Italy, but the Selecao will surely move swiftly to cap-tie the striker.

Martinelli trained with Brazil last year aged 17 after starring for Ituano, and he has continued to impress in his first season at Arsenal, scoring 10 goals in all competitions.

Further progress in the coming season would give Tite something to think about.

 

CRISTIAN ROMERO (ARGENTINA)

Argentina have long had problems at centre-back, with Manchester City defender Nicolas Otamendi still a regular at international level.

However, head coach Lionel Scaloni could soon have greater options to choose from, with younger talents now breaking through.

Nehuen Perez might well have gone to the 2020 Copa America, having been called up for the first time late last year after promising loan spells away from Atletico Madrid, but he could soon find himself nudged back down the pecking order.

Cristian Romero appears well-placed to establish himself, having earned a €26million move from Genoa to Juventus at the start of the season, although he returned on loan to his former club, who are enduring a testing campaign.

With Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci ageing, Romero should get opportunities with Juve next term - and Argentina could soon come calling.

 

DIEGO ROSSI (URUGUAY)

Uruguay continue to rely on a number of their veterans of previous tournaments, but this will have to change in the coming months and years - especially in attack.

Luis Suarez faced a race to be fit for the 2020 edition, while Edinson Cavani's club future is in doubt as his Paris Saint-Germain contract expires. Even Cristhian Stuani is now playing in Spain's second tier. All three are 33 years old.

And Diego Rossi should back himself to be in position to put pressure on that star trio in 12 months' time.

Rossi left Penarol for Los Angeles FC aged 19 and has proven an instant hit in MLS, scoring 29 goals in 68 regular-season appearances, helping his club win the 2019 Supporters' Shield.

LAFC general manager John Thorrington has spoken of "significant interest" in Rossi from Europe, and such a move would give the forward a great chance of making the grade for Uruguay.

 

JORGE CARRASCAL (COLOMBIA)

Rossi's LAFC team-mates Eddie Segura and Eduard Atuesta both appear set for first Colombia caps, but Jorge Carrascal might now have nudged to the front of that queue.

A tricky winger who debuted for Millonarios at just 16, Carrascal initially struggled after joining River Plate on loan from Ukraine's Karpaty Lviv last year.

However, Carrascal improved as the season went on, earning a permanent switch to River - and, crucially, a call-up to the Colombia Under-23s.

Representing his country at youth level for the first time since 2015, the 21-year-old scored in each of his first three games at the Pre-Olympic Tournament and started all seven matches.

A return to the River Plate XI this year could see Carrascal earn a senior Colombia call-up.


REINIER (BRAZIL)

It might seem a long shot for a player who has yet to feature for Real Madrid's first team and started only twice at the Pre-Olympic Tournament to be playing for Brazil's senior side in just over a year's time.

But Reinier will have the benefit of 12 months in the limelight at one of the world's biggest clubs.

After signing from Flamengo for €30m, Reinier netted a brace in just his third Castilla appearance - his final match before the coronavirus crisis intervened.

The pre-season will be key if the 18-year-old is to get a chance at Madrid in 2020-21, and there is no reason why he could not then do enough to catch Tite's eye.

Vinicius Junior made a big-money move from Flamengo to Madrid in 2018 and had debuted for Brazil within 12 months of his LaLiga bow. The path is clear.

Neymar remains a talisman for Brazil but head coach Tite does not fear playing without the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

Tite discussed the lavishly gifted yet divisive forward in an interview with France Football.

He believes Neymar, who moved to PSG from Barcelona in a world record move in August 2017, played the best football of his career at Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old has frequently been linked with a return to Barcelona after a pair of seasons where injuries frustrated his hopes of bringing Champions League glory to the French capital.

"Neymar is essential, but not irreplaceable," Tite said. "In each match, I ask myself the same question: how to get the best out of him, build and balance the team around him? 

"The position where I found him performing best at a club, as in the national team, was when he played in Barcelona, ​​on the left side to come [inside]. 

"In other words, starting from one side, where he worked with the environment, then using his perception of the game, his speed of reflection and execution, his capacity for improvisation, and adding his speed to it. 

"The best Neymar I saw playing was during this period. The level of play he reached then was exceptional and only [Lionel] Messi and [Cristiano] Ronaldo were above. I have never seen [Eden] Hazard, [Antoine] Griezmann or [Paul] Pogba play at this level."

Brazil emphatically showed there is life without Neymar as they claimed Copa America glory on home soil last year, despite their star man missing the tournament with an ankle injury.

Tite's side closed out a 3-1 win over Peru in the final – a victory Tite felt served to exorcise any demons remaining from their humiliating 7-1 semi-final loss to Germany as World Cup hosts in 2014.

"Winning the Copa America, at home in Brazil, was a major challenge," he said. "Especially for the players who had experienced the affront of 2014 as closely as possible - Dani Alves, Fernandinho, Thiago Silva.

"This title was all the more important since we had lost Neymar to injury just a few days before the start of the tournament. The pressure and the expectation of the supporters was considerable. Winning was, therefore, the only option available to us. 

"When you have to face Argentina with Messi, Uruguay with [Edinson] Cavani and [Luis] Suarez, or Colombia with James (Rodriguez), his absence necessarily creates more emotional instability. 

"Neymar reassures you, because he brings unpredictability to your game. Because he will offer you an individual or collective solution that the others do not have. So winning without him and resisting this pressure made the group aware of its value, yes."

Roberto Carlos revealed he would have liked Brazil star Neymar at Real Madrid a "long time ago".

Neymar joined Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona in 2017, but has been linked with a return to Camp Nou and a possible blockbuster switch to Madrid.

Carlos, a Madrid and Brazil great, said he wanted Neymar at the Santiago Bernabeu long ago.

"If it were up to me, [Neymar] would already be here a long time ago, but life is not how one would like it," Carlos told Fox Sports Radio.

"These great players always have to play for the best clubs in the world. Real Madrid today is a reference for any player.

"Do you want to win the Champions League? Come to Real Madrid."

Carlos won four LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Madrid, while he was also a 2002 World Cup winner with Brazil.

Madrid's current left-back, Marcelo, has been out of favour with Brazil, with his last international appearance coming at the 2018 World Cup.

Carlos hopes the 31-year-old can eventually make a return for the national team.

"Everyone deserves a new opportunity and I think Marcelo is growing again to be the Marcelo I saw play, with joy, who does things that only he can do on the field," he said.

"I hope he returns to the national team and disputes the position with Filipe [Luis], Alex Sandro and Renan Lodi."

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