Brazil is known for its love of football. It’s given the world some of the best footballers and continues to do so. Although the largest population in the country is made up of white and brown skin people, Afro-Brazilians are a significant group in the country. They’ve been part of Brazil’s success in international football.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the most memorable Afro-Brazilian footballers.
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One of the best goalkeepers to have played the game. He was the first goalkeeper to be selected for the 2005 Balon d’Or. At the club level, Dida played for AC Milan, Corinthians, Lugano and Gremio among others. He was capped 91 times.
Garrincha might not have been the most famous of the Afro-Brazilians that played in the 1990s but he left an indelible mark. For someone who was disabled, with a bent spine and one leg shorter than the other, he showed that human beings can rise above their shortcomings. He won the FIFA World Cup in 1958 and 1962.
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Not much is said about Jairzinho, even though he was part of the two world cup teams alongside Pele. He made 81 appearances with the national team and scored 33 goals. He mainly played club football in Brazil with teams like Botafogo and Jorge Wilstermann.
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Barbosa was blamed for the loss Brazil suffered in the 1950 World Cup. This was a time when black people weren’t allowed to play the game. In fact, at one time, he applied white powder so that his real skin colour wouldn’t be seen but when it wore off, the crowd realised he was black and hauled insults at him.
Pele was arguably the best footballer ever to play the game. He won the FIFA World Cup three times, in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He was a victim of racial abuse but he never let that hold him back. In fact, it propelled him to do well and show his skills and talent which eventually shut down his critics. He spent his club career at Santos Football Club.
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Ronaldinho mastered the art of dribbling. He had all thoughts of trickery in his pockets and pulled it off at any given time. Brazilians are always said to be dancing with the ball on their feet.
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Growing up in the slums in Brazil, Romario rose to become one of the best Afro-Brazilian footballers of his time. He was part of the team that lifted the FIFA World Cup in 1994.
Romario was also named the FIFA Player of the Year in 1993. Romario was part of some stellar clubs like Barcelona, Flamengo and Fluminense among others. He’s one of the few footballers to have scored more than 1000 goals.
He established himself in one of the best Brazilian football teams to ever compete at an international level. He was one of the famous trio Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Rivaldo. After playing in the 1998 World Cup, Rivaldo won the Balon d’Or in 1999 and was one of the last players to win the accolade before the Messi-Ronaldo era began.
Roberto Carlos is one of the best Afro-Brazilian footballers to play in the left-back position. That said, he was also a forward and that was seen in his game. He was as much an offensive player as he was a defensive one.
Are there other Afro-Brazilians we haven’t included that you loved or enjoy watching?
If you want to have some Brazilian football merchandise, you can buy some on Amazon.
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Black Players: 10 Memorable Afro-Brazilian Footballers.