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8 Brazilian Players That Have African Origin (Photos)

Afro-Brazilians are Brazilians who have predominantly or partial African origin. Brazilians of African origin comprise nearly 10 percent of Brazil's total population. Their immigration to Brazil can be traced back to the slave trade of the 19th century. It is estimated that nearly 4 million slaves were shipped to Brazil from Africa.

However, in this article, I will be share with you 8 Brazilian Players that have African origin:

1. Willian

Willian Borges da Silva, better known as Willian, is a Brazilian professional footballer who currently plays as an attacking midfielder for Corinthians and the Brazil national team.

Willian started his professional soccer career with the Brazilian club, Corinthians, before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in 2007. In his six years at the club, he won several honours including four Ukrainian Premier League titles and the UEFA Cup in 2009. Five years ago, he briefly signed for the English club, Chelsea, where he the Premier League and League Cup in his second season in England.

Willian made his first professional appearance for the Brazil national team ten years ago and has since represented his country at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World Cups, 2015 and 2019 Copa América respectively.

Willian is of Black African descent.

2. Ronaldinho

Ronaldo de Assis Moreirea, commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaúcho, is a former Brazilian professional soccer player who played for Paris Saint-Germain and the national team of Brazil as an attacking midfielder.

Regarded as one of the best soccer players of all time, Ronaldinho was awarded FIFA World Player of the Year awards twice and a Ballon d'Or.

Playing in his very first World Cup for the Brazil national team in 2002, he scored the game-winning score in a quarter-final victory against England. Along with Ronaldo and Rivaldo, he was a member of the attacking trio that made the Brazilian team one of the most formidable ones in international football.

Ronaldinho is of African ancestry.

3. Didi

Waldyr Pereira, better known as Didi, was a Brazilian footballer of African descent who played as a midfielder for the Spanish club, Real Madrid, and the Brazil national team.

Commonly regarded as one of the best football players of all time, he played in three FIFA World Cups for the Brazil national team, winning one and was awarded the Golden Ball for his performance at the 1958 competition.

During Didi's professional football career, he was part of Fluminense FC between the end of the 1940s to the mid-1950s and one of the major players of the iconic squad of Botafogo FR in the early 1960s.

He died twenty years ago in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the age of 72.

4. Jairzinho

Jair Ventura Filho, better known as Jairzinho, is a 76-year-old Brazilian retired professional footballer who last played as a winger for Jorge Wilstermann and the Brazil national team.

He was an integral member and top scorer of the legendary Brazilian national team that won the 1970 FIFA World Cup.

Due to the economic and political hardship and the Sport Legislation of the time, he played most of his club football in South America where he spent eleven years at Botafogo. He went on to play in Europe during the final years of his career, a common pattern for South American players until the 1980s, when the economic and political situation changed. Jairzinho replaced his footballing idol Garrincha in both the Botafogo and Brazil teams, and played in three consecutive World Cups for the Brazil national team.

Regarded as one of Brazil's best players ever, and as one of the greatest players of all time, he was ranked number one ahead of Zinedine Zidane in World Soccer Magazine's list of the 100 greatest players of the 20th century.

Jairzinho is of African descent.

5. Fernandinho

Fernando Luiz Roza, better known as Fernandinho, is a 36-year-old Brazilian professional soccer player currently playing as a midfielder for Manchester City and the Brazil national team.

Fernandinho started his football career professionally at the Brazilian club, Atlético Paranaense, before joining the Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005, where he became one of the best foreign players to ever play in the Ukrainian Premier League. With Shakhtar, he won six Ukrainian Premier League titles, four Ukrainian Cups and the 2008 to 2009 UEFA Cup. He was voted by the Shakhtar Donetsk fans as the best Brazilian player to ever play for the team. Eight years ago, he joined Manchester City, where he has since won four Premier League titles, among other trophies.

With the Brazil national team, Fernandinho made history by becoming the scorer of the only goal in the final of the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship. He was a member of the Brazil squad that came fourth at the 2014 FIFA World Cup and also competed at the 2015 Copa América, the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and the 2019 Copa América respectively.

6. Dida

Nélson de Jesus Silva, better known as Dida, is a 48-year-old Brazilian retired professional footballer who last played as a goalkeeper for Internacional and the Brazil national team.

After kicking off his senior club career professionally with Vitória in Brazil in the early 1990s, Dida became a penalty kick-saving specialist with Cruzeiro and Corinthians. He is perhaps best remembered for his ten-year career with AC Milan from 2000 to 2010, where he established himself as one of the world's best goalkeepers and won multiple trophies and individual awards with the club.

Dida earned 91 caps in eleven years with the Brazil national team, winning the FIFA World Cup and an Olympic medal, while he is the most successful player in the history of the FIFA Confederations Cup. He notably broke a color barrier during the 1999 Copa América by being the first Afro-Brazilian starting goalkeeper since Moacyr Barbosa half a century earlier, and, in 2006, became the first black goalkeeper to start for Brazil in a FIFA World Cup finals tournament since 1950. He retired from international play after Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-finals.

Dida is of African ancestry.

7. Obina

Manuel de Brito Filho, better known as Obina, is a 38-year-old retired professional Brazilian footballer who last played as a striker for Matsumoto Yamaga.

Obina is of African descent.

8. Neymar

Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior, better known as Neymar, is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for the French club, Paris Saint-Germain, and the Brazil national team.

At the age of 17, Neymar's professional soccer career kicked off with the Brazilian club, Santos, where he won two successive Campeonato Paulista championships, a Copa do Brasil, and the 2011 Copa Libertadores. Regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time, Neymar won the South American Footballer of the Year in 2011 and 2012 respectively. He later joined the La Liga club, FC Barcelona, where he won the continental treble of La Liga, the Copa del Rey, and the UEFA Champions League, and finished third for the 2015 FIFA Ballon d'Or for his performances that season. Neymar moved from Barcelona to the French club, Paris Saint-Germain, four years ago. With PSG, he won three league titles, three Coupe de France, and two Coupe de la Ligue.

With 69 international goals for the Brazil national team since debuting professionally at the age of 18, Neymar is the second highest goalscorer for Brazil, after Pelé. He played an integral role in Brazil's winning the 2011 South American Youth Championship, where he emerged as the top goalscorer, and the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, where he won the Golden Ball as player of the competition. He was part of the Brazil squad at the 2014 and 2018 FIFA World cup respectively.

Off the pitch, Neymar is currently ranked among the world's most famous sportsmen. SportsPro named him the most marketable athlete in the world in 2012 and 2013, and ESPN cited him as the world's fourth-most famous athlete five years ago. Four years ago, Time included him in its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world. Three years ago, France Football ranked Neymar the world's third highest-paid footballer.

The 29-year-old talented footballer's mother is white and his father is of black African descent.

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African Afro-Brazilians Brazil Brazilian Willian Borges da Silva


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