What is it about Brazilian footballers that makes them more skilful and entertaining to watch than other players?
Few nations have a reputation quite like the five-time World Cup winners, who seem to produce incredible talents year after year.
Luckily for English football fans, the Premier League has been graced with some truly brilliant Brazilian stars throughout its 28 year history.
talkSPORT host Darren Gough recently named his top five of all time, with legendary Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho taking the top spot on his list.
And in light of his selections, we at talkSPORT.com have identified the top Brazilian players to ever grace the top flight…
Arguably the greatest Brazilian to grace the top flight, Juninho became a hero on Teesside during three separate spells at Middlesbrough.
Having moved to the English top flight from Sao Paolo in 1995, the mercurial midfielder dazzled for Boro, helping them to two cup finals in 1997, although both ended in defeat.
Juninho formed a special relationship with the Riverside faithful, and despite the club’s relegation in at the end of the 1996/97 campaign he scooped the club’s Player of the Year award.
In the hope of making Brazil’s World Cup squad, Juninho joined Atletico Madrid but returned on loan in 1999 following the club’s return to the Premier League.
He returned to Brazil for two years before Boro remarkably came calling again in 2002, where he went on to play a key role in a League Cup triumph – the club’s only major trophy.
Gilberto Silva (Arsenal)
Having been instrumental in Arsenal’s record-breaking ‘Invincibles’ side, Gilberto Silva made his name as one the finest holding midfielders in the world during his six-year stint at Highbury.
After dazzling for Brazil at the 2002 World Cup, Arsene Wenger swooped in to sign him from Atletico Mineiro in 2000 and he would go on to flourish with Patrick Vieira in midfield.
He later played a key role in mentoring the hugely talented Cesc Fabregas before leaving for Greek side Panathinaikos in 2008, having made more than 200 appearances for the Gunners.
There’s a good reason why the defender was nicknamed ‘The Tank’ during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Alex’s impact at Chelsea has always been understated.
He was a formidable physical presence at the back with John Terry and also scored the occasional absolute screamer.
After joining the Blues in 2004 from PSV, Alex originally had to play second fiddle to Ricardo Carvalho before he finally got his chance in the XI.
He developed into one of the top flight’s most solid centre-backs, winning a Premier League title and two FA Cups before leaving for Paris Saint-Germain in 2012.
Another of one of the most underrated Premier League players of the last decade.
Ramires was extremely consistent for the Blues for many years following his £19m move from Benfica in 2010, rarely putting in poor displays and always giving 100 per cent for the team.
The Brazilian arrived shortly after the departures of Michael Ballack and Deco, while Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel and Michael Essien were also in Carlo Ancelotti’s ranks.
Although he wasn’t the most glamorous of players, Ramires’ indefatigable work-rate was crucial to Chelsea’s success.
He also scored one of the most iconic goals in the club’s history when he chipped Victor Valdes in the the Blues’ stunning Champions League victory over Barcelona in 2012.
Ramires is currently seeing out his career in Brazil with Palmeiras, but it could be argued never got the respect he deserved from Chelsea fans during his playing days.
Nowadays, however, you’ll be hard-tasked to find a Chelsea fan who doesn’t speak fondly of the Brazilian, who made 246 appearances in his six years at the club.
Philippe Coutinho (Liverpool)
Liverpool fought off Southampton to seal the £10m signing of Coutinho from Inter Milan – and given the fee they recouped later on, this could be seen as one of the biggest bargains in Premier League history.
Coutinho made his debut as a substitute for Stewart Downing in Liverpool’s defeat to West Brom in 2013 and would go onto become one of the most skilful and talented players in the Premier League for half a decade.
The nifty playmaker had a knack of scoring sensational goals, and often in big matches too, having found the net against Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City and Tottenham during his time at Anfield.
Barcelona then paid a staggering £142m to bring him to Camp Nou, which ultimately funded the Reds’ moves for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson – who, as we all know, have turned out to be incredible acquisitions.
His departure was necessary for Liverpool to grow and improve, but his dream Barca move has turned out to be a nightmare.
He struggled to have a similar impact for the LaLiga giants and he is now on loan at Bayern Munich.
Ederson (Man City)
To the surprise of many, Pep Guardiola quickly omitted Joe Hart from his starting XI when he arrived at the club and brought in Claudio Bravo.
The Chilean stopper struggled between the sticks and Etihad chiefs swooped in to sign Ederson in a £35m deal from Benfica in 2017.
The 26-year-old has been integral to the success of Guardiola’s all-conquering side.
In truth, Ederson is so technically gifted that he’d probably do a great job in most outfield positions.
With an extensive passing range and excellent distribution to match, there’s no question he is one of the very best goalkeepers on the planet.
Since his switch to City, he has won two Premier League titles and was also named in the PFA Team of the Year for 2018/19.
Roberto Firmino (Liverpool)
The Reds forward has made the ‘false nine’ role his own in recent years and become a hugely popular figure at Anfield.
Liverpool swooped in to sign Firmino for £29m from Hoffenheim in 2015 and he has become one of Klopp’s most important players for his relentless work-rate and intelligent movement.
Both traits have been essential to the counter-pressing style that the Reds have had so much success with in recent seasons.
The 28-year-old is also the top scoring Brazilian in Premier League history with 48 goals in 137 appearances in his five years at the club.
Fernandinho (Man City)
No player has been as crucial to Man City’s recent success as Fernandinho, who has been one of the most consistent players in recent years.
The 35-year-old, who has deputised brilliantly as a central defender this term, has been a rock in front of City’s backline over the years, allowing the club’s wealth of attacking superstars to flourish.
Fernandinho is everything you want in a defensive midfielder and he has served the club brilliantly since his £34m move from Ukrainian side Shakhtar Donetsk.
His work-rate and ball-winning ability is among the very best in the division and he would walk in to most sides in the Premier League despite being in his mid-30s.
The Brazilian has won eight major honours at City and was named in the PFA Team of the Year when Guardiola’s men won an unprecedented domestic treble in 2018/19.
The 31-year-old has been a pivotal member of Chelsea’s first team since arriving at Stamford Bridge from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013.
He has twice been named as the club’s Player of the Year and helped the them win five major honours in his seven years at the club – including two Premier League titles in 2015 and 2017.
With a turn of pace and typically Brazilian flair, Willian has been one of the Premier League’s finest wingers since arriving in English football.
However, he could be on the move this summer with his contract at Stamford Bridge set to expire.
Tottenham are reportedly interested in a move.
What an impact the goalkeeper has had since his £65m arrival from Roma in 2018.
Alisson arrived and has effortlessly solved what has been a huge problem Liverpool over the years.
After Loris Karius’ horror show in the 2018 Champions League final, Alisson was brought in to transform Liverpool’s back line and he has done exactly that.
The stopper has been an imperious figure between the sticks and many regard him as the world’s best in his position.
Klopp’s rampant Reds had only conceded 21 goals in 29 league games this season before coronavirus brought football to a halt, and a lot of that is thanks to their man in net.