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Six of most influential Brazilians in Premier League history

Some brilliant Brazilians have shone in the Premier League, with the South American nation having produced some exceptional talents who have made their mark on English football.

The five-time World Cup winners are arguably the most respected football nation in the game, a country where football is everything and played in a free-spirited and skilled style.

Roberto Firmino’s exit from Liverpool has seen one of the Premier League’s great Brazilians depart and in tribute we’ve decided to remember some of the best Brazilians to have starred in the division.

Six of most influential Brazilian players in Premier League history.

Juninho

Juninho was one of the first Brazilians to make their mark on the English game after signing for Middlesbrough from Sao Paulo in the mid-nineties.

The £4.75m capture of the midfielder was viewed as a significant coup for Middlesbrough just months after promotion to the Premier League.

Nicknamed ‘The Little Fella’, the diminutive playmaker helped Boro to the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup in his first full season, though both ended in defeat, and was named as the Premier League Player of the Season despite the club’s relegation. A three-point deduction for postponing a fixture at Blackburn condemned Middlesbrough to relegation and reduced Juninho to tears on the pitch.

He signed for Atletico Madrid following relegation, but later returned for two further spells at Middlesbrough, first on loan in 1999, before a permanent return in 2002 after helping Brazil to World Cup success that summer. The midfielder formed part of the team that won the 2004 League Cup – the first and so far only major honour in the club’s history – before leaving for Celtic on a free transfer.

Juninho made 125 league appearances and scored 29 goals across his three spells in the North East and was voted as the club’s greatest ever player in 2007.

Gilberto Silva

Gilberto Silva was a team-mate of Juninho’s during Brazil’s 2002 World Cup win in Japan and South Korea, with the midfielder a surprise inclusion in the squad before capitalising on an injury to captain Emerson to feature in every single minute of the Selecao’s success.

Arsenal secured a deal to sign the defensive midfielder and Silva made an immediate impact with a winner in the Community Shield after completing his £4.5 million move from Atlético Mineiro.

The Brazilian provided assured presence alongside Patrick Vieira in a formidable midfield axis, one which was at the heart of Arsenal’s 2003/04 Invincibles title-winning campaign.

He later led an inexperienced side in the post-Invincibles era and produced the best goalscoring form of his career in 2006/07, with 11 goals in all competitions for Arsene Wenger’s side.

Silva made 244 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners and twice won the FA Cup before joining Panathinaikos in 2008.

Fernandinho

Fernandinho arrived at Manchester City with some scepticism, with the Blues’ Brazilians beforehand having consisted of the talented, but underwhelming, collection of Jo, Robinho, Elano, Glauber and Maicon.

The 28-year-old arrived from Shakhtar Donetsk having never featured in a major European league, but departed almost a decade later as one of the most celebrated players in the club’s modern history. Combative, courageous and technically accomplished, he won the Premier League title during his debut campaign and earned four more winners’ medals before his Etihad exit.

So often in the right place at the right time to stop opposition attacks, he was the perfect pivot at the base of the midfield, tenacious in his tackling and confident in possession. The Brazilian made 383 appearances for the division’s dominant side of the last decade and captained the club in his latter years, voted in by his team-mates due to his professionalism and leadership.

Often understated and perhaps even underrated, he might just be the most influential Brazilian of the Premier League era after collecting five league titles and seven domestic trophies during a decorated spell in English football.

Roberto Firmino

Roberto Firmino is the highest-scoring Brazilian in Premier League history and was an integral part of Liverpool’s success during the Jurgen Klopp era.

Firmino signed for the Reds during Brendan Rodgers’ tenure before evolving into a key component of Klopp’s side, with the move to a centre-forward position bringing the best from the Brazilian and those around him.

Firmino formed part of Liverpool’s formidable front three alongside Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, a trio who tormented defences in both the Premier League and Champions League.

His finest campaign came in 2017/18 as he scored 27 goals in all competitions, the first season in which the club’s new-look front three worked in tandem. Over the following seasons Liverpool won the Champions League, Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup, Club World Cup and UEFA Super Cup, completing a full set of major honours for Firmino at Anfield.

Firmino scored 82 goals and laid on 50 assists in 256 appearances for Liverpool, but those numbers tell only a fraction of his role in the side. The lead of the press, link-man and capable of producing spectacular moments of skill, he is one of the best examples of the modern false nine.

Ederson

Ederson has been a pioneer for the Premier League, a goalkeeper whose influence is evident when watching the impact on his positional peers.

The Brazilian signed for Manchester City with a reputation as one of Europe’s rising shot-stoppers and has since developed into one of the most unique talents in the game.

Ederson’s outstanding ability with the ball at his feet has made the goalkeeper integral to the demands of Pep Guardiola, with his comfortability in possession and expansive passing range offering City a confident route out when playing from the back.

His distribution has come alongside individual and collective success at the Etihad, with his list of honours including five Premier League titles, six domestic cups and the Champions League. Ederson has also won the Premier League’s Golden Glove on three occasions and earned inclusion in the PFA Team of the Year twice.

The Brazilian has been the perfect fit for Pep Guardiola’s possession-based system and an example for others to follow, a goalkeeper with the passing range of an elite midfielder.

Alisson

From one transformative goalkeeper to another, Liverpool broke the world-record for a ‘keeper to sign Alisson from Roma in 2018.

Loris Karius’ capitulation in the Champions League final persuaded Jurgen Klopp to spend big on a new number one and Alisson has proven to be worth every penny since arriving at Anfield.

He was named as winner of the Best FIFA Goalkeeper and Yashin Trophy as Liverpool won the Champions League during his debut campaign in 2018/19, success which came alongside a Copa America triumph with the national team.

He has since added the Premier League, FA Cup, League Cup and Club World Cup to his medal collection, while forming a reputation as one of the most complete goalkeepers in the world.

Alert to danger, athletic and excellent in his distribution, he has proven to be both the ideal last line of defence and first step of attack for Liverpool. Arguably the world’s best number one, he is exceptional one-against-one and a pivotal part of the Reds’ success of recent campaigns.

Read – Seven interesting transfer deals you might have missed around Europe’s major leagues

Read Also – 10 Premier League records Harry Kane already holds

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