Arguably the most respected footballing nation on the planet, Brazil have produced some of the game’s all-time greats throughout the years with many a leading name starring after arriving in European football.
Whilst many South American stars once traditionally opted for warmer climates once leaving their homeland, there has been an increasing number of the continent’s stars heading to English football in recent years – the likes of Roberto Firmino, Alisson and Gabriel Jesus amongst the current leading names.
Despite the wealth of Brazilian brilliance in the Premier League of late, only a select few samba stars have earned inclusion in the divisional Team of the Year, however, with just five earning selection in the end of season awards.
Rating the five Brazilians to have featured in the PFA Team of the Year:
Sylvinho – Arsenal (2000/01)
The first Brazilian in history to represent Arsenal, Sylvinho also became the first to be named in the PFA Team of the Year during the second of just a two season stay in the Premier League.
The left-back arrived from Corinthians in the summer of 1999 after rejecting north London rivals Tottenham and quickly dislodged the ageing Nigel Winterburn, his marauding attacking style much in line with the modern full-back and moving away from the traditionally defensive approach of Arsenal’s veteran backline.
Sylvinho’s penchant for the spectacular – such as his stunning late equaliser at Chelsea – made him a popular figure during his time at the Gunners, but an injury during his second campaign allowed a young Ashley Cole to establish himself in the first-team and never look back.
After two seasons the Brazilian left for Celta Vigo, later spending five seasons at Barcelona and winning two Champions League titles amongst his honours – the first of which came as a non-playing member of the squad that beat Arsenal in the 2006 final.
He later enjoyed a brief stay at Manchester City.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool (2014/15)
Coutinho arrived at Liverpool following a difficult adaptation to European football at Inter Milan, before flourishing into one of the Premier League’s most exciting talents during a five season stay on Merseyside.
His breakthrough season came after Luis Suarez’s defection to Barcelona in the summer of 2014, inheriting increased responsibility as Liverpool’s creative threat and enjoying a fine individual campaign – earning inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year and amongst the nominees for the Player of the Season awards.
Coutinho continued to star and was named as the Reds’ Player of the Season in back-to-back campaigns, scoring 41 Premier League goals – many of them spectacular – before following the same path as Suarez and heading to Catalonia.
The playmaker’s exit soured a previously strong connection between player and fans, Coutinho’s fleet-footed style and ability to create something out of nothing having made him a firm fans’ favourite throughout his Premier League career.
David Luiz – Chelsea (2016/17)
David Luiz has polarised opinion ever since his first venture into English football almost a decade ago, often mixing the sublime and the ridiculous with his defensive displays.
The centre-back enjoyed arguably the finest period of his Premier League career under the guidance of Antonio Conte at Chelsea, however, playing a central role as the Blues were crowned champions during the 2016/17 season.
Sitting in the centre of the Italian’s back three formation, Luiz’s ball-playing abilities saw him star to be named in the divisional team of the year, the added security of a back three harnessing the best from the defender’s evident talents.
Brilliance has undoubtedly been mixed with eccentricity throughout his time in the Premier League, though his list of major silverware includes the Champions League, two FA Cups and two Europa League trophies in addition to his league title won under Conte.
Having since headed across the capital to join Arsenal, Luiz will hope to win further silverware as part of Mikel Arteta’s developing team at the Emirates.
Fernandinho – Manchester City (2018/19)
For all of the expensive purchases made by Manchester City in recent years, Fernandinho’s arrival from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013 must surely rank amongst the club’s shrewdest investments.
The midfielder has played an understated role in the club’s wealth of successes in the modern era, providing a brilliant defensive screen at the base of the midfield to allow City’s abundance of attacking talent to flourish.
Fernandinho’s technique and tenacity makes him the perfect player for Pep Guardiola’s current system, the Spaniard inheriting the midfielder upon his arrival and making him central to his plans.
The Brazilian earned inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year as the second of back-to-back titles arrived at the Etihad last season, the title coming as part of English football’s first ever domestic treble and amongst the eight major trophies Fernandinho has lifted in seven seasons at the club.
Ederson – Manchester City (2018/19)
The Brazilian goalkeeper arrived in a big-money move from Benfica and has proven to be worth every penny since arriving at the Etihad, bringing a unique style of play to the role and altering perceptions of what a goalkeeper should be.
Far from just a commanding presence, Ederson is arguably the finest long-range passer in the Premier League and his excellence with his feet marks him out as one of the best goalkeepers in world football.
The shot-stopper has starred since arriving in English football and has won back-to-back titles in his first full seasons at the club, earning inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year last season alongside City teammates Aymeric Laporte, Fernandinho, Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.
The 26-year-old has not been without his faults, but it is difficult to envisage a goalkeeper on the planet better suited to City’s style and Pep Guardiola’s methods.
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