There are perhaps no two countries more synonymous with football than England and Brazil. It’ll be no surprise then to learn that plenty of Brazilian stars have travelled halfway round the world to star in the Premier League. During the league’s existence, 88 Brazilian stars have appeared in the English top flight with some of the best and brightest in the modern game strutting their stuff across England. But just who are the greatest Brazilian players to feature in the Premier League?
Best Brazilian players in Premier League history
Anderson (Manchester United)
For most people, Anderson was a solid player who got the job done for his team. The midfielder excelled at playing the defensive role with slick passing and strong tackling making him a regular at Old Trafford. The Brazilian was a solid all-rounder and that made him a player that Sir Alex Ferguson always relied on when the going got tough. Despite making only 105 league appearances, Anderson earned 4 Premier League Winner’s Medal during his time in England making him the one of the most decorated Brazilian players in Premier League history.
Alex was certainly a player you didn’t want to mess with. The defender had one of the fiercest physical styles in the game where very few came out on top when they tried battling him on the pitch or in the air. This unholy strength earnt him the nickname of “The Tank” and that name also doubled up in the power of his strikes.
Alex could smash a ball from 40 yards away and literally burst the net with memorable moments like his match-winning free kick against Arsenal in 2010 exemplified. Whilst injuries hampered his time at Stamford Bridge, he was still a star when fit and won the 2009/10 Premier League to prove his class.
David Luiz (Chelsea, Arsenal)
Whilst David Luiz could have been a Sideshow Bob lookalike, the defender was also a top-quality player throughout his time in English football. Luiz was excellent in the air and his long-range passing was exceptionally good for someone in the back line.
Luiz could be prone to momentary gaffes but his passion also made him a natural leader on the pitch too. Luiz’s quality is recognised with a Premier League Winner’s Medal in 2017 as well as a Player of the Month Award in 2011. A player whose quality moments always outshone the regrettable ones.
Ederson (Manchester City)
When Ederson replaced the erratic Claudio Bravo as number one at Manchester City, a few were a little uneasy as to what he would bring to the club. What he brought was some of the best reflexes in the business today as he could spring across the goal with ease. Ederson also is extremely calm under pressure making him an excellent starting point for playing out the back.
It is something that he has displayed with remarkable consistency earning consecutive Premier League Golden Glove awards in 2020 and 2021. It’s form that has allowed him to become one of the best goalkeepers in the game today anywhere in world football and certainly one of the best Brazilian players in Premier League history.
Edu was a real livewire in midfield for Arsenal and he could play comfortably in both the middle and on either flank of the park. Edu brought tenacity when dribbling and moving play forward and wasn’t scared to score either. The Brazilian was also a major player in the team that went on a 49 unbeaten streak playing in 30 of those games and becoming a perennial member of “The Invincibles” squad that won the 2003/04 season – his second Premier League title.
He departed Highbury in 2005 but returned to the club as their Technical Director in 2019 as part of a boardroom shakeup. A familiar face who has always brought success to The Gunners in one way or another.
Phillipe Coutinho (Liverpool)
For several seasons, Liverpool benefitted from the drive and magic of Philippe Coutinho as he helped them come so close to their first Premier League title. What made Coutinho so good was his ability on the ball with surging runs that decimated defences and the ability to produce stunning strikes from almost any distance.
His best form came in the 2016/17 season where he scored 13 goals in 31 games for Liverpool helping them to second in the league. Coutinho was a fan favourite at Anfield winning 2 Club Player of the Year awards and a spot in the 2015 PFA Team of the Year. His departure to Barcelona in 2017 hurt many at the club as one of their modern greats left the club without winning any major domestic honours for The Reds, yet he remains one of the best Brazilian players ever to grace the Premier League.
Willian (Chelsea, Arsenal)
With his trademark afro, it is almost impossible to miss Willian whenever he was dancing his way around defenders. For the best part of a decade, the tricky winger was a real threat in attack creating goals and scoring them with ease season after season. He was also deadly from set=pieces and could strike free kicks into the top corner without breaking a sweat. His best form came in the 2019/20 season scoring 9 goals in 36 games – a career best. His move to Arsenal hasn’t seen him bring the best of his form but Willian’s 2 Premier League Winners Medal as well as 2 Player of the Year awards at Stamford Bridge proves why he is so highly revered.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
If you need a real team player to work in attack, then look no further than Roberto Firmino. The striker has altered his style to be the ultimate target man – someone who can link up play and provide space for teammates to run into. This style has helped Liverpool become a formidable attacking team in the Premier League and genuine title challengers season after season.
Firmino can find the net too as 67 goals is a record for Brazilians in the Premier League with a best return of 15 goals in 37 games during the 2017/18 season. Add to the fact that he is a Premier League winner and Player of the Month winner too then Firmino has proven himself to be an all-time great in the English top flight.
Fernandinho (Manchester City)
When you need someone to lead your team on the pitch, you only need to look to Fernandinho for inspiration. The Brazilian is exemplary in almost every facet of the game with excellent passing, flawless tackling and an unflappable personality. He has become a beloved figure at the Etihad Stadium having won 4 Premier League titles with the club as well as becoming the side’s captain after the departure of Vincent Kompany in 2019. He has won both Goal of the Season and Team of the Year awards at the club making him one of the top defensive midfielders of his era.
Gilberto Silva (Arsenal)
Fresh from winning the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, Gilberto Silva moved to Arsenal with a lot of expectations and he quickly lived up to them. His passing and dribbling was masterful and synced perfectly with Patrick Vieira forming one of the top midfield partnerships anywhere in world football.
It played a massive part in helping Arsenal become “The Invincibles” in 2004 and made him a legend to the Gunners even after he left for Panathinaikos in 2008. Gilberto Silva’s place in the Arsenal squad has never been replaced and fans still clamour for a player similar to his style making him one of the most memorable Brazilian players in Premier League history.
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