Thursday, November 17, 2016

Afro-Brazilian All-Time Team

Pele with Jairzinho

Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.

This is my selection of a 23 member all-time team for Afro-Brazilian players.  The number 23 was chosen because it is the official squad size for the World Cup Finals.

Brazil is the country with the largest black population outside of Africa.  When football first came to Brazil over 100 years ago, it was still considered an activity for the white elite.  Discriminations were common against Black players.  In 1914, Carlos Alberto, a mulatto playing for Fluminense applied white powder to hide his skin color before he took to the pitch. As sweat started to ruin the makeup, white fans in the stadium taunted and mocked him.  This ultimately led to one of the club's nicknames, pó de arroz, which is the Portuguese for 'white powder'.  In 1950, Barbosa unfairly was blamed for the defeat against Uruguay.  Some considered that the color of Barbosa's skin was a main reason why he was blamed.
Carlos Alberto who was remembered for the White Powder incident

Nevertheless, today, Brazil is known as the most integrated country in the world.  I could not identify the ethnic mix of every individual Brazilian player.  Some of the players selected are considered to be Pardo Brazilians(mixed ancestries). I must have excluded and included players by mistakes.  Both Neymar and Ronaldo have publicly disassociated themselves as being Afro-Brazilians.

Please see also:
Brazil All-Time Team
Black Players who played for England
French Black Players
African-American Players
Black Portuguese Players

GK: Moacir Barbosa 
Barbosa was one of the greatest keepers in Brazil's history, but he was, however, associated with Brazil's loss to Uruguay in 1950.  He played mainly for Vasco Da Gama.

GK: Dida 
Remembered for his 8 seasons with AC Milan.  He was the hero of the 2003 Champions' League Final when he helped Milan to win the penalty shootout against Juventus.  He became the first Brazilian keeper to be nominated for Ballon d' Or that year.  He went to three World Cup Finals and started in 2006 for the Seleção.
GK: Manga 
He was the starting keeper for the legendary Botafogo side that also featured Garrincha, and also for winning the Copa Libertadores and the Intercontinental Cup in 1971 with the extraordinary Nacional of Cubilla and Artime..  He went to the World Cup in 1966.

RB: Djalma Santos
Some considered DJ Santos as the best right back in the football history. He is one of only three players to be included into three FIFA World Cup All Star team. He starred at WC Finals in 1954, 1958 and 1962.  He also went to the WC in 1966.

RB: Carlos Alberto
He was the captain of the 1970 team in Mexico.  His goal in the Final was considered one of the greatest goals in the history of the tournament. He missed the WC in 1974 through an injury, played with Pele both at Santos and NY Cosmos. He had 53 caps for Brazil.

SW/CB: Domingos da Guia 
The star defender of the 1940's who was among the first skilled defender to play the game. He played for several clubs, but notably with Flamengo and Corinthians, and aboard with Boca Juniors. He had 30 caps. He was a star at the 1938 WC Finals in France.
Domingos Da Guia
CB: Luis Pereira
Widely considered to be the best central back in the Seleção's history. He played in World Cup in 1974. He played 562 games with S.E. Palmeiras (34 goals) and 171 games with Atlético Madrid (17 goals).

CB: Aldair 
Aldair  played for Flamengo before heading to Europe.  He was widely remembered for his 13 seasons with Roma.  The club retired his #6 jersey for 10 seasons.  For the national team, he was a key member of the great defensive unit of the WC winning team in 1994.   

CB: Thiago Silva
He became the most expensive defender in history when he moved from Milan to Paris St. Germain.  He was the captain of Brazil ill-fated team in World Cup 2014, but did not play against Germany in the semifinal.

LB: Roberto Carlos
He was regarded one of the best leftbacks in history.  He had 125 caps for Brazil playing in three WC Finals. He won 3 Champions League titles with Real Madrid and one WC title with Brazil in 2002.  In 1997 he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year.  He is especially famous for a free kick from 35m out against France in the  Tournoi de France 1997. The goal is considered one of the greatest goals ever scored.
Roberto Carlos
LB: Junior 
The leftback for Brazil in 1982.  He was part of the great Flamengo team of the 1980's winning the 1981 Copa Libertadores and 1981 Intercontinental Cup. With 857 matches, he is the player with most appearances for Flamengo. 
DM: Danilo Alvim
Danilo Alvim is considered one of he greatest defensive midfielder in Brazil's history.  He played on the ill-fated 1950 team.  For his club career, he was a part of Vasco da Gama's legendary "the Victory Express" team. He also played for America.

DM: Toninho Cerezo 
He played for Roma and Sampdoria in Italy. With São Paulo FC, he was the two-times winner of the Intercontinental Cup and Copa Libertadores.  He went to Argentina 1978 and Spain 1982. 

CM: Didi
He is considered one of the greatest players ever from Brazil.  He was voted the best player in WC 1958.  He was also on the 1954 and 1962 team.  He joined Real Madrid in the 1950's, but returned after less than a year because of a personal feud with Alfredo di Stefano. He also played with Garrincha at Botafogo, a team considered among the best ever club side in Brazil.
Didi & Pele
RW: Garrincha
He is considered one of the greatest footballers and perhaps the greatest dribbler in history.  He inspired Brazil to win the WC in 1962, which widely considered the best individual effect in WC history.  He was the Player of the Tournament that year.  He also played in 1958 and 1966.  He was a member of the great Botafogo's team in the 1960's.

RW: Jairzinho 
"The Hurricane" was a star at the 1970 WC Finals.  He was one of two players who had scored at every single game of a given World Cup Finals.  He also went to West Germany 1974.  For his club career, he played for the famous Botafago team of the 1960's.  He was an understudy to Garrincha. He also played in France with Marseille.

AM/FW: Jair 
Jair was a member of the great offensive trio for Brazil at the World Cup in 1950. The other two were Zizinho and Ademir.  He played for Flamengo and Vasco da Gama before the WC in 1950.  After the WC Finals, he played mainly for clubs in Sao Paulo.  For the national team, he only made two cameo appearances two years after the ill-fated World Cup Finals.

AM/LM: Ronaldinho 
He was a member of the "Three R's" with Rivaldo and Ronaldo that helped Brazil winning the WC in 2002.  He started his career with Gemio before moving to Europe. He played with Paris St Germaine and Barcelona before his form started to drop. He formed the REM line with Etoo and Messi before fighting among them destroyed the team.

AM/FW: Rivaldo
Rivaldo was a part of the attacking trio known as "Three R's" with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho at the 2002 World Cup Finals.  He scored 5 goals in 5 games as Brazil took its 5th World Cup.  For his club career, he played for Barcelona.  He won the 1999 Ballon d' Or.

AM: Zizinho
Pele's idol.  The greatest Brazilian player before the 1960's. He was the star of the WC in 1950.  He played for Flamengo, Bangu, São Paulo FC, Audax Italiano of Chile among others teams. With, Flamengo, he won state championships in 1942, 1943 and 1944.

FW: Leônidas da Silva 
The player known as "Black Diamond" was credited to be the inventor of "Bicycle Kick".  He played in two WC Finals: 1934 and 1938. He was the top scorer at the WC in 1938.  He played for a number of clubs in Brazil and Penarol. His longest spells were with Vasco Da Gama and Sao Paulo.

FW: Pele
He is considered the greatest player ever in the history of the game.  he won his World Cup in 1958 as a 17 years old.  He would win his second one in 1962, but he was injured throughout the tournament. In 1970, he won his third and final World Cup, with a team that was considered the greatest ever.  He played almost his entire career with Santos.  He unretired to join New York Cosmos in 1976.
ST Romario
He helped the Seleção to win the 1994 FIFA World Cup, receiving the Golden Ball as player of the tournament. He was named FIFA World Player of the Year the same year. He missed the 1998 WC Finals because of an injury. One of very few strikers to surpass the mark of 1,000 goals. He was best remembered for his stint with Barcelona.

ST: Ronaldo
He led Brazil to two WC Finals match, winning the one in 2002.  He scored 8 goals in 2002.  He was the winner of Ballon d'Or twice and the FIFA World Player of the Year three times.  He is the second top-scorer in WC history.  He played for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, and for both AC Milan and Inter Milan. 

Squad Explanation
I created all-time African diaspora team for France, England and the United States.  The Brazilian team is the most difficult.   Some of the players selected are considered to be Pardo Brazilians. I must have excluded and included players by mistakes.  Both Neymar and Ronaldo have publicly disassociated themselves as being Afro-Brazilians.  So I decided not to include a section for Honorable Mention.  I do not want to make more mistakes.  The team is very similar to my all-time Brazil team. I dropped a few players from that team whom I could not identify their ethnic background.

The starting lineup is similar to my all-time Brazil team.

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