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Meet 7 Brazilian Players That Are Of African Ancestry (Photos)

Afro-Brazilians are Brazilians who have predominantly or partial African ancestry. Most members of another group of people, multiracial Brazilians or pardos, may also have a range of degree of African ancestry. Brazilian society has a range of words, including negro itself, to describe multiracial people. Afro-Brazilians are categorized in the census as mixed race, pardo or preto. In the 1980s and 1990s Afro-Brazilian activists tried to influence the population to recognize their African ancestry and not to deny their blackness.

However, in this article, I will be sharing with you 7 Brazil Players that are of African ancestry:

1. Sidnei Rechel da Silva Júnior

Sidnei Rechel da Silva Júnior, born 23 August 1989, known simply aidnei, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays for Spanish club Real Betis as a centre-back.

He is of African descent.

2. Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho is a Brazilian footballer considered to be one of the best players of his generation.

A player regarded for his technique, tricks, overhead kicks, and dribbling, he was a member of Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning team. Playing in his very first World Cup, in 2002, he scored the game-winning score in a quarter-final victory over England.

Along with Ronaldo and Rivaldo, he was a part of the attacking trio that made the Brazilian team one of the most formidable ones in international football.

Born as the son of a small-time footballer, Ronaldinho developed an early interest in the game and started playing in the youth club matches by the time he was eight. He first caught the media’s attention when as a 13 year old he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team. Identified as a rising star, he made his senior side debut during the 1998 Copa Libertadores and eventually signed a five-year contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain in 2001. He was a member of the Brazilian squad in the World Cup 2002 and played an active role in helping his team clinch the championship. He later on joined the FC Barcelona of the Spanish league and achieved great success over the next few years, winning back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2004 and 2005.

His parents are João de Assis Moreira, who is the father, and Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos, the mother. His father was a welder in a shipyard, whereas the mother, who is a former cosmetic saleswoman, is now a nurse. Before retiring from football, his father was working at Gremio, one of Porto Alegre's big clubs as a match-day doorman.

Ronaldinho is of black African descent, although like many Brazilians he has a mixed heritage.

3. Douglas Costa de Souza

Douglas Costa de Souza is a Brazilian professional footballer. He plays as a winger for the Brazil national football team and the German professional football club Bayern Munich, on a loan from Italian professional football club Juventus FC. Costa is known for his dribbling, skills, crossing ability, and speed.

This Brazilian winger was born into a Brazilian hard-working family on 14 September 1990 in Sapucaia do Sul, Brazil. He is of African descent.

Costa made his professional career for the Brazilian professional football club Gremio on 4 October 2008 against Botafogo at the age of 18 years. In that match, his team won by 2-1 goals and he scored his first professional goal. He played for Gremio from 2008 to 2010 and at this time, he played 29 matches and scored two goals.

He began his international debut for the Brazilian national football team at the age of 24 years in a friendly match against Turkey in November 2014. He scored his first international goal in the competitions of the 2015 Copa America team opening match against Peru.

4. Fernando Luiz Roza

Fernando Luiz Roza is an Afro-Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a midfielder and central defender for English Premier League club Manchester City and the Brazil national team.

Fernandinho swapped Shakhtar Donetsk for City in 2013 and has gone on to prove himself as one of Europe’s top operators in the midfielder anchorman role.

The tireless Brazilian has won nine trophies in nine seasons in Manchester, including three Premier Leagues, four League Cups, an FA Cup and the Community Shield.

With 273 appearances to his name, the 34-year-old is a firm fan favorite and is a calm and classy influence at the heart of midfield.

He started his career with Atletico Paranense and built a reputation as one of Brazil’s most promising youngsters in his three years there, during which he played a key role in his country’s World Youth Championship triumph of 2003.

Seizing the opportunity to further his career in Europe, he signed for Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005.

Somewhat off the radar in Ukraine, he remained with Shakhtar for eight years, winning 14 medals including the UEFA Cup and six Ukrainian Premier League titles, while honing his craft on the Champions League stage.

Swapping Ukraine for Manchester, Fernandinho made an immediate impact in his debut 2013 to 2014 season, becoming a key piece of the jigsaw in the Club’s engine room and making 41 appearances as City lifted the Premier League title and League Cup.

He was one of the first names on the team sheet the following season, though no silverware was won, 2015 to 2016 saw him score in the League Cup final where City beat Liverpool in a penalty shootout.

His fifth campaign in sky blue was arguably his best, playing the anchor role with typical ease and class as the Blues romped to Premier League title and Carabao Cup successes.

His arrival at City sparked something of a revival at the international level, and he has gone on to represent Brazil at three World Cups. Fernandinho was also named in the 23-man squad for 2019’s Copa America.

5. Luiz Adriano

Luiz Adriano, born 12 April 1987, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a striker for Campeonato Brasileiro Série A club Palmeiras.

Born in Porto Alegre, he began his career at hometown club Internacional before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007. He became an integral member of the Ukrainian club, becoming the all-time leading goalscorer for Shakhtar in October 2014 and receiving his first call-up to the Brazil national team the same month.

Luiz Adriano's father worked as a security guard at a chemical plant, and his mother was a housewife. His parents are divorced. He has two brothers, Murillo, who is also a footballer, and Fabiano, and two sisters, Patricia and Caroline. His childhood idols include Romário and Ronaldo. He is of Black African descent.

6. Willian

Willian Borges da Silva, born 9 August 1988, commonly known as Willian, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a winger or as an attacking midfielder for Premier League club Arsenal and the Brazil national team.

Willian started his career at Corinthians, before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in August 2007. In his six years at the club, he won honours including four Ukrainian Premier League titles and the UEFA Cup in 2009. In 2013, he briefly signed for Anzhi Makhachkala before joining Chelsea for £30 million, winning the Premier League and League Cup in his second season in England.

Willian made his debut for Brazil in 2011 and has since represented his country at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, as well as the 2015 Copa América, the Copa América Centenario, and the 2019 Copa América, a tournament Brazil won on home soil.

Willian in action for Brazil against Austria in 2014.

As a member of the under-20 Brazil team, Willian made his debut in the 2007 South American Youth Championship against Chile on 7 January 2007, which Brazil went on to win. In 2007, he was also selected for the FIFA U-20 World Cup, but Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals by Spain.

On 10 November 2011, Willian made his senior debut for Brazil in a friendly match against Gabon. On 16 November 2013, he scored his first international goal in a 5–0 win over Honduras in Miami, Florida.

On 7 May 2014, Willian was selected as part of the 23-man squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. He came on at half-time in extra time of the round of 16 match against Chile in Belo Horizonte for his Chelsea teammate Oscar, and took a penalty in the shootout which he put wide of the goal, although Brazil nonetheless advanced.

At the 2015 Copa América, Willian assisted Roberto Firmino's decisive goal in the 2–1 win over Venezuela in Santiago, a result which sent Brazil into the quarter-finals as group winners.

On 5 May 2016, he was named by Brazil manager Dunga among the 23-man list for the Copa América Centenario to be held in the United States.

In May 2018 he was named in Tite's final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

On 7 June 2019, he received a late call-up for the 2019 Copa América to replace the injured Neymar.

Willian is Afro-Brazilian and is married to Vanessa Martins. They have twin daughters, Valentina and Manuell. Like many Brazilian footballers, Willian is a devout Christian.

7. Neymar

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, popularly known as Neymar, is a famous world football legend, athlete, professional footballer and a model. He currently plays for the Brazil national team, and French club, Paris Saint-Germain, as a forward striker. He was the former striker of Barcelona and has often been considered as one of the best player in the world.

He is widely regarded as one of the richest footballer of all time. He was born on 5th February 1992 in Mogi das Cruzes, Sao Paulo in Brazil to Neymar Santos and Nadine da Silva. Neymar’s mother is white, while his father is of black African descent.

He is very handsome, gifted, skillful and talented. He inherited his name from his father, who is a former footballer and became his son’s advisor as Neymar’s talents began to grow.

n 2003, Neymar moved with his family to Sao Vicente, where he began playing for youth side, Portuguesa Santisa. Then, later in 2003, they moved to Santos, where Neymar joined Santos FC. With the success of his youth career and added income, the family bought their first property, a house next to the Vila Belmiro. Their quality of family life improved.

When Neymar was just 15 years old, his earnings was 10,000 reais per month. When Neymar turned 16 years old, his earnings increased to 125,000 reais per month. At the age of 17, Neymar signed his first full professional contract and was upgraded to the Santos first team. From there, he began signing his first sponsorship deals.

Neymar began playing football at an early age and was soon spotted by Santo FC who offered him a contract in 2003, where he was inducted into their youth academy, which has in the past, produced Brazilian internationals like Coutinho, Clodoaldo, Diego, Elano and Alex. He also joined the likes of Pepe, Pele and Robinho in starting out his career at the club.

While in the youth academy, Neymar met Paulo Henrique Ganso and both of them became good friends in the process. At the aged of 14 years old, Neymar travelled to Spain to join the Real Madrid youth team, at the time when Real Madrid had stars like Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Roberto Carlos and Robinho.

Neymar came into prominence at an early age at Santos, where he made his professional debut at the aged of 17 years old. He helped the club win two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil and the 2011 Copa Libertadores, Santos’ first continental title since 1963.

In 2011 and 2012, Neymar was twice named the South American Footballer of the Year before relocating to Europe to join Barcelona. As part of Barça’s attacking trio with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, Neymar won the Continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UFA Champions League in the 2014 to 2015 season, followed the next year by the domestic double.

In 2015, Neymar came third for the FIFA Ballon d’Or Awards. In August 2017, Neymar moved from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain in a transfer worth €222 million, making him the world’s most expensive player.

Neymar has score 53 goals in 83 matches for Brazil since debuting at the age 18 years old. He is currently the fourth highest goal scorer for his national team. He was a key player in Brazil’s victories at the 2011 South American Youth Championship, which he finished as the leading goal scorer and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as player of the tournament.

Neymar’s participation in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and 2015 Copa America was cut short by injury and a suspension respectively, but the next year he captained Brazil to their first Olympic gold medal in Men’s Football at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Neymar is famously known for his dribbling and goal scoring skill, and with his ability, he has earned comparisons to former Brazil and Santos forward Pele. Off the pitch, Neymar is ranked among the world’s most prominent sportsmen in the world. SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world in 2012 and 2013 and ESPN cited him as the world’ fourth-most famous athlete in 2016.

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African Afro-Brazilian Brazil Brazilian Sidnei Rechel da Silva Júnior


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