Top 5 Brazilians to play for Barcelona

On Wednesday, July 13, Barcelona confirmed that they had an agreement in principle with Leeds United over the transfer of Brazilian winger Raphinha.

The Brazil international is widely considered to be one of the most excitable wingers in the world. With his devastating pace, immaculate exchanges, and clever crosses, he can unlock the tightest of defenses.

Under Xavi, the 25-year-old stands the chance to get better with every passing day.

Raphinha joins a long and elite list of Brazilian footballers to ply their trade at Barcelona. Most of them possessed the typical Brazilian flamboyance, but not all were as successful as many had hoped.

Today, we will take a look at five Brazilians who made it big at Barcelona, going down in their history.

Here are the top five Brazilian superstars to thrive in the Catalonian capital:

#5 Ronaldo Nazario

Former Brazil international Ronaldo Nazario is widely hailed as one of the best players in the history of the sport.

The striker was quick, had endless stamina, and possessed the knack for being in the right place at the right time. He was at Barcelona for only a single season, but that was enough to show the world his quality.

Ronaldo joined the Catalan giants in the summer of 1996, following a blistering campaign with PSV Eindhoven. He effortlessly settled into the club and started scoring for fun.

Over the course of the 1996-97 campaign, the 2002 World Cup winner scored 47 goals in 49 appearances across competitions. He finished the campaign as La Liga’s top scorer with 34 goals.

Ronaldo missed out on the Spanish title that season, but won the Copa del Rey, the Spanish Super Cup, and the UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup.

On the back of his exceptional campaign, Ronaldo won his first Ballon d’Or in 1997 (he won his second in 2002).

#4 Neymar

Barcelona signed Neymar from Brazilian outfit Santos for €88 million in the summer of 2013. The transfer fee was staggering at the time, as Neymar had not played outside of Brazil before.

Within a few months, however, all concerns about his possible fee evaporated, with him regularly popping up with important displays.

The left-winger enjoyed his best ever campaign in 2014-15, helping the Blaugrana to their second treble in history (first in 2008-09). Neymar scored 39 goals and provided 10 assists in 51 appearances across competitions that season.

Two seasons later, Neymar unexpectedly left the club for Paris Saint-Germain. PSG paid Barcelona a record €222 million for the player, activating his release clause.

Before leaving for Paris, the 30-year-old scored 105 goals and provided 76 assists in 186 games for the Camp Nou outfit.

His goals and assists helped Barca to two La Liga titles, one Champions League triumph, and three Spanish Cups, amongst other honors.

#3 Rivaldo

Long-legged and unimaginably gifted, Rivaldo joined Barcelona from Deportivo La Coruna in the summer of 1997, the same season Ronaldo left the club for Inter Milan.

Naturally an attacking midfielder, Rivaldo could play in multiple positions with ease. Between 1997 and 2002, he played in every position his coach deemed him fit to play in, making the desired impact.

Rivaldo enjoyed his best-ever campaign for the Blaugrana in the 1998-99 season, with him recording 29 goals and 19 assists in 48 games across competitions. His 24 goals and 16 assists in 37 La Liga games helped Barca to the league title.

The Brazilian’s contribution to the cause did not go unnoticed, as he was awarded the Ballon d’Or in 1999.

Rivaldo played a total of 235 games for the La Liga outfit in five seasons, bagging 130 goals and 44 assists.

He won one league title, one Spanish Cup, and one UEFA Super Cup during his stay at the Camp Nou.

#2 Dani Alves

Dani Alves moved to Barcelona from Sevilla in the summer of 2008. In his debut season, the right-back helped the club to their first-ever treble, contributing with five goals and 14 assists in 54 matches in all competitions.

Alves achieved the feat again in the 2014-15 season, providing 11 assists in 46 games across competitions as Barca marched on to their second treble.

Alves left the club for Juventus in 2016 but returned last season under Xavi, becoming his former teammate’s first signing as manager.

He signed a six-month contract with the club, possibly expecting a renewal in due time. Barca, however, had other ideas, as he let him leave as a free agent this summer.

Over two spells, Alves played 408 games for Barca, bagging 22 goals and 105 assists.

His contributions helped the club to six La Liga titles, three Champions League trophies, and four Spanish Cups, amongst other honors.

#1 Ronaldinho

Barca were privileged to have the magnificent Ronaldinho in his prime, running circles around the opposition and dropping jaws with every single touch.

The former Brazil international was simply magical during his stay in the Catalonian capital, going above and beyond to help the 26-time Spanish champions.

Ronaldinho joined the club from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2003. He scored 22 goals and provided 11 assists in 45 games across competitions for the Catalan giants in his debut campaign, but the club failed to win a trophy.

That changed the following season when his nine goals and 15 La Liga assists in 35 games fired them to the league title. Ronaldinho was awarded the Ballon d’Or on the back of his brilliant season in 2005.

The 2005-06 season marked the best-ever of Ronaldinho’s Barca career. The club won the league and the Champions League that season, and Ronaldinho, with 26 goals and 24 assists in 45 games, was the star of the show.

The 2002 World Cup winner left the club for AC Milan in July 2008. During his five-season stint at Barca, the forward played 207 games, scoring 94 goals and creating 70 more.

He won two La Liga titles, one Champions League trophy, and a couple of Spanish Super Cups with the five-time European champions.

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