Brazil has always been one of those mystical footballing nations and they are the most successful international team. Some players have brought that flair over to the Premier League with great effect.
Juninho – Middlesbrough 1995-97, 1999-2000, 2002-04
Juninho lit up Teesside during his three stints at the club and is still one of Middlesbrough’s most revered players of all time to this day.
He arrived from Sao Paulo in 1995 and initially had a sluggish start, scoring only two goals in his first season.
However, he was brilliant in the 1996-97 campaign, helping them reach the finals of the FA Cup and League Cup, though could not prevent them from going down – the pint-sized playmaker was reduced to tears in the process.
He returned on loan in 1999 and then permanently in 2002 – and his Boro career ended on a very happy note as they won the 2004 League Cup.
Gilberto Silva – Arsenal 2002-08
One of the members of Arsenal’s historic Invincibles squad, Gilberto Silva rarely took the personal accolades but he was a very important member of the Gunners team.
Alongside Patrick Vieira, Gilberto made up one of the most powerful and dynamic midfield duos and was instrumental in Arsene Wenger’s side making history.
His ability to read the game meant he picked up few bookings while he was also a good passer of the ball.
He eventually left Arsenal for 2008 as that era of the team came to an end.
Philippe Coutinho – Liverpool 2013-18 and Aston Villa 2022-
Philippe Coutinho was a real bargain buy for Liverpool in the January 2013 window as he arrived for only £8.5million.
Five years later, he would leave for a fee rising up to £142million which just goes to show how much he improved as a player on Merseyside.
Particularly under Jurgen Klopp, he became Liverpool’s go-to player and had his best Premier League season in 2016-17, scoring 13 times in 31 games.
Things didn’t work out at Barcelona but he is now back looking to rebuild his career at Aston Villa under old team-mate Steven Gerrard, and has made an excellent start with four goals in nine games.
Roberto Firmino – Liverpool 2015-
Another Liverpool player who has seriously improved in Jurgen Klopp’s tenure is Roberto Firmino.
When he first joined from Hoffenheim, many were unsure of what his best position was but now he regularly excels in the false nine position.
His link-up play and skill at combining being a number ten and number nine has allowed Mo Salah and Sadio Mane to become such goalscoring forces for the Reds.
He was one of the unsung heroes in Liverpool’s title win in 2020 and although he might not top the scoring charts, he certainly is a vital asset to Liverpool.
Ederson – Manchester City – 2017-
Liverpool’s Alisson may be unfortunate not to make the list but Ederson in many ways has redefined the role of a modern goalkeeper.
His passing is second to none, to the point where him playing outfield is a regular source of debate.
His ability to ping 80-yard balls from goal kicks is unmatched but he also does the basics very well and is a solid, commanding presence in the City goal.
Goalkeeper was a problem position for Pep Guardiola after he dispensed with Joe Hart but Ederson looks set to be the main man for many years to come.