Who is The Greatest Brazilian Football Player Since Pelé?

The 10 Best Brazilian Attacking Players Since Pele...

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, or better known to most of us as Pelé, is the former Brazilian footballer who is still regarded by most, as the best player to ever play the game. We're not about to disagree with that, but the problem is, when you have someone who is so gifted and far ahead of their peers, it makes it very difficult for any future players to step into his boots.

There have been some outrageously talented attacking Brazilians since Pelé lifted the last of his three world cup wins in Mexico, 1970, and here we take a look back at the players who tried to take the great man's mantle, but didn't quite make the cut...

1980s  - Falcao, Sócrates and Zico

The Brazilian teams of the 1980s produced some of the greatest players ever seen, but the biggest tragedy was that they never won a world cup during this decade. With Pelé long gone, but not forgotten, Brazil produced a trio of genuine superstars in the form of Falcao, Sócrates and Zico. All three regularly produced moments of magic, but it was Rossi and the stubborn Italians who eventually ended their dream of following in the footsteps of the great Brazilians teams of the past, eliminating Brazil half way through the 1982 tournament.


After the disappointment of the previous decade, Brazil were looking for some new talent to spearhead their next world cup challenge.  The 1990 world cup was more about transition for Brazil, but in 1994 they were ready to go, with a new set of faces hitting their prime.  Bebeto produced some excellent form during the tournament, but their centre forward Romario, was the real stand out figure in that team.  Guiding Brazil to the final, they appropriately beat Italy on penalties, lifting the world cup for the first time in 24 years.  Romario was a superstar, but he wasn't quite Pelé. 


The 'original' Ronaldo, and still regarded by many as the best Ronaldo, burst onto the scene with PSV and then Barcelona in the mid 90s.  Within a season or two, Romario was forgotten, and all of a sudden we had a young talent in Ronaldo who was genuinely tipped to match the heights of Pelé.  After a disastrous world cup final in 1998, Ronaldo then struggled with injuries for the most part of four years, before coming back to score eight goals and lead Brazil to world cup victory in 2002. Had it not been for Ronaldo's injuries, the three time World Player of the Year winner would have probably achieved so much more - which is a scary thought in itself.


Rivaldo was a different type of talent to your usual Brazilian number 10.  He wasn't the quickest of players, but his shooting accuracy was second to none. Playing in a rather weak Barcelona team at the time, Rivaldo single-handedly took them to the Champions League with an outrageous hatrick against Valencia on the final day of the season - cementing his place as one of the Barcelona's greats.  Rivaldo also played a key role in the 2002 world cup win with an impressive five gaols at the tournament.



Ronaldinho was the final part of the ' Three Rs' in that 2002 world cup success, but unlike the other two, he peaked a bit later in his career.  After a big money transfer from PSG to Barcelona, it didn't take Ronaldinho long to get going.  Taking the place of Rivaldo, this was now the Ronaldinho show, and with two consecutive World Player of the Year awards, the only shame was his disappointing displays at the 2006 world cup.  Ronaldinho was never quite the same player after the 2006 Champions League victory with Barcelona, but during that period from 2003-2006, he was on another planet to every one else.


After the sudden demise of Ronaldinho, it was Kaka's turn to attempt to take over the great mantle of Pelé. Kaka actually outperformed Ronaldinho at the 2006 world cup, and after some excellent displays for AC Milan, the 2007 season saw him win the Champions League and awarded World Player of the Year.  Kaka was briefly the most expensive player in the world after his £58m move to Real Madrid, but that was dwarfed by Cristiano Ronaldo's £80m transfer.  Kaka never quite hit the same heights at Real Madrid, but he will still be seen as one of Brazil's greatest attackers.


The 2014 world cup was meant to be Neymar's world cup, but injury put an early end to his campaign. There's no doubt Neymar is an extremely talented footballer, and his big money move to PSG will likely show us just how great he can be.  Still only entering the peak years of his career, and now without the shadow of Messi hanging over him, this young Brazilian could still prove to be the first genuine heir to Pelé.  If he can bag the Champions League with PSG and then win a world cup, he'll surely be in the conversation of Brazil's greatest ever.

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