The Premier League is viewed by many as the world’s best, and several top-notch Brazilians do in fact ply their trade there. For example, for the November 2023 international break, Brazil called up nine Premier League players to go with eight from non-English European clubs and seven who play their club ball at home in Brazil.
Arsenal tops this list as more players were called to Brazil’s side from that club than from any other: center-back Gabriel Magalhaes and forwards Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus. Newcastle United also had multiple Brazilians called up as midfielders Bruno Guimaraes and Joelinton boarded the plane that was destined for South America.
The Premier League sides with one player apiece heading to Brazil’s national team for World Cup qualifying matches versus Colombia and Argentina on Nov. 16 and 21 include Aston Villa (Douglas Luiz), Liverpool (Alisson), Tottenham Hotspur (Emerson Royal) and Brighton & Hove Albion (Joao Pedro).
With that said, top Brazilians playing in England or even anywhere in Europe has not always been the case. For example, during Pele’s time, this was not normal or expected at all, and he spent nearly his entire career with Brazilian side Santos before wrapping it up with the U.S.-based New York Cosmos.
And there are the numerous Brazilians who have played in Europe but have never pulled on the kit of a Premier League side.
One example is Ronaldo, who, after playing a season with Brazilian club Cruzeiro, took advantage of Europe’s riches but not in England. He played in the Netherlands (PSV), Spain (Barcelona and Real Madrid), and Italy (Inter Milan and AC Milan) before wrapping up his career with another Brazilian side in Corinthians.
Neymar is another non-Premier League example although, of course, he could still change that as he entered his 2023-24 campaign at the age of 31. He played with Santos before going for the money with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain and then doing so again in 2023, heading to Saudi Arabia to play for Al Hilal.
As for Brazilians who have played in the Premier League in the past, which ones were the greatest? Of course, that is very much up for debate, but many would at least consider the likes of David Luiz (Chelsea and Arsenal), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Gilberto Silva (Arsenal), Juninho Paulista (Middlesbrough), Lucas Leiva (Liverpool), Lucas Moura (Tottenham Hotspur), Oscar (Chelsea), Ramires (Chelsea) and Roberto Firmino (Liverpool).
What will the future hold? Only time will tell, especially with Saudi Arabia-based clubs now signing many of the world’s greatest players and other European sides wanting to stay on pace with those in the Premier League.