Football is so much more than a game in Brazil – it’s a way of life for a nation as proud of its sporting heritage as it is its reputation for having a carnival atmosphere and beautiful people.
Ask any football fan around the globe which country is most closely associated with football and Brazil is likely to be their response. The national team has won the FIFA World Cup more times than any other (five, for those who are counting) and every Brazilian city has at least one football stadium, often more.
Of course, the only reason that Brazil has been able to so thoroughly establish itself as the name to be reckoned with in the soccer world is that it is awash with raw footballing talent. This is a country that has produced some of the game’s greatest ever players.
To demonstrate that point, let’s take a look at five of the top Brazilian strikers. There’s so many to choose from that we’ve set our limits post-Ronaldo.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior
The national team’s current captain, at just 24 Neymar is one of our youngest selected strikers. He plays for Barcelona, as well as his home team. Born in Mogi das Cruzes, in the city of Sao Paulo, Neymar’s salary stands at almost £50 million. Last year the youngster collected the Samba Gold Award, which is bestowed upon the best Brazilian player in Europe every year.
Denílson de Oliveria
Thirty-eight-year-old Denílson, who enjoyed a 16-year career, was once the world’s most expensive footballer and played in two FIFA World Cups, including in 2002 when Brazil were victorious. Highly sought after for his impressive footwork, Denílson played for both Sao Paulo and Real Betis. Today, the veteran footballer has embarked on an entirely new career, albeit one that will utilise his talent for fast-thinking in challenging tournaments. Denilison has recently signed up to become 888 Poker’s latest player and brand ambassador.
Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira
Another Ronaldo contemporary, Rivaldo was shoulder-to-shoulder with ‘the phenomenon’ in 2002 when Brazil beat Germany to the FIFA World Cup in Yokohama. However, following the tournament, the footballer’s performance was somewhat overshadowed by suspicions that he was acting as well as he was playing… Despite this less than impressive moment, Rivaldo is certainly one of the greats. In the decade from 1993, he played some 74 matches for Brazil, scoring 35 goals, making him the team’s highest ever scorer.
Adriano Leite Ribeiro
Adriano hails from the world’s party capital – Rio de Janeiro. Born in 1982 into a world of poverty, he began his career aged 16 at Brazilian club Flamengo and is a centre-forward. Right now he’s playing for Miami United, but over the years this fiery footballer has been compared to Ronaldo for sheer, raw talent in action.
Robson de Souza (AKA Robinho)
Robinho plays for Atlético Mineiro and it’s his ball control, agile dribbling and determination in the attack that earn him his place on this list. Born in 1984, Robinho is Brazilian Portuguese and one of the best known facts about him is that he was talent spotted by none other than Pelé when he was just 15 years old.
More so than any other country, Brazil seems to produce footballers with the desire and talent to win. Let’s hope that trend is set to continue!