Much was made this week, when Tottenham Hotspur - on their debut season in The Champions League, qualified for the quarter final draw holding off a rampant Milan in the home leg to go through on aggregate. One player who gained much praise was Brazilian defensive midfielder Sandro Ranieri Guimarães Cordeiro or as is the way with these Samba Boys also known by the much easier off the tongue moniker of Sandro - not to be confused of course with Harry Redknapp's (would have scored with that header Darren Bent) missus! Now Sandro got us thinking, as well he's not your usual run of the mill silky skilled Ronaldinho's or Pele's of this world . How about a quick condensed round up of those lesser known or underrated boys from Brazil
The Underrated? - Falcao
Name some of the great Brazilian footballers, Pele? (obviously) Zico, Socrates, Ronaldo,Carlos Alberto, Ronaldinho, Romario, ,Rivelino, Roberto Carlos,? Well what about Falcao? Or Paulo Roberto Falcão (don't you just love the Brazilians and their full names?) He played central midfield in arguably one of the greatest Brazil side ever, the only downer on this was that they never one a World Cup. This was in Spain '82 of course where he shared the midfield berth with the likes of Socrates & Zico, it was maybe down to these players that he was overshadowed slightly. The fact that the majority of their goals came from the midfield probably shows that with a decent striker at the time they could have gone on to win the tournament and by doing so his legendary status would have been recognised more. After a successful spell Internaciona in his home country he eventually moved to Roma (he took his Mum & sister with him!) in Serie A and he inspired them to win their first title for forty years. The following season they finished second & were runners up in the European Cup as well. During his time at Roma he became the highest paid footballer in the world earning £10,000 a week. He is best remembered for his goal & celebration (pictured) against Italy in the second phase at Spain '82
The First in this Country - Mirandinha
Not the best - Gilberto
Gilberto da Silva Melo came to the Premiership from Hertha Berlin costing £1.9m and became the first Brazilian to play in the first team at Tottenham Hotspur. He was one of Commoli's discoveries, but it probably didn't help then manager Juande Ramos that the left back was injured when he arrived. But having played 24 times for his country and with fullbacks being a bit of a problem area for Spurs, Gilberto eventually got his debut. It was a debut best forgotten, his mistake gifted PSV Eindhoven a goal and ultimately the game in a UEFA Cup game. Maybe he wasn't given time at Spurs to settle, he played and scored against West Ham, but in his other six appearances under Ramos and then new manager Harry Redknapp he was substituted at half time on three of them. In the end his contract was terminated my mutual consent and Gilberto headed back to Brazil. Maybe it didn't help having the same name as compatriot, former rival Arsenal defensive midfielder and slightly better Gilberto Silva!
The Goalkeeper - Barbosa
When it comes to Brazilian goalkeeper's once upon a time they would have been up there (or should that be down?) with Scottish ones, ie not very good! But maybe it wasn't the case, maybe as all eyes were on the dazzling dribbles and party tricks displayed by Pele, Ronaldinho, Rivelino et al that the 'keepers never got the credit they deserved? Moacir Barbosa Nascimento or yes - Barbosa as he was known had the reputation as one of the best goalkeepers in the world back in the '40's & '50s, he was rare even back then because he never wore gloves. But as is the way with goalkeepers when you make a mistake it's never forgotten, just ask Seaman, James, Robinson or Carson! Barbosa's alleged blunder was on the biggest stage in the world, the world cup final of 1950 to be exact. Brazil were hot favourites to win, with one newspaper declaring them as World Cup Winners on their front page on the morning of the game. But with the scores level South American neighbours scored the winner, with Barbosa caught out expecting a cross he left his near post unguarded. Barbosa
The Future - Vagner Love
When it comes to the future stars of the Brazilian National Team Vagner Silva de Souza deserves a mention, although his shortened name of Vagner Love could be off putting to any English fans should he one day come to the Premiership and X-Factor references would have been common place had he made a proposed January move to either Everton or Manchester City a couple of years ago. He currently plays in Russia for CSKA and after a promising start scored 58 goals in 105 league games, helping CSKA Moscow to back to back titles, he was top scorer in both the Russian & Europa League in 2008.Internationally he was part of the Brazilian team to win the Copa America wins of 2004 & 2007. His off the field antics were the centre of attention last year as a loan move back to Brazil saw him team up with one time Inter striker Adriano, they formed a deadly partnership on the pitch, but as rival Playboys off it had a fight at a party over a girl at a party that saw Vagner thrown out in floods of tears. An exciting skillful player with pace & strength, if we are to see more of him he'll need to focus more on his actions on the field but is definitely one to watch.
Hope you enjoyed this little round up and maybe learned a bit more of some of Brazil's lesser known stars.....