5 Big-Name Brazilians Who Fell Short in the Premier League
For a long time it was considered an almost impossible task. Brazilians had attempted to crack the English game, but many had fallen by the wayside in their attempts.
It has since been proven, of course, that such comments bare little relevance to the reality of the situation. Brazilians can and have excelled in the Premier League, it's just that there have been some big-name casualties lost along the way.
When moving to any new country, past reputation is meaningless. It is a straightforward task of adapting to survive and justifying the expenditure of the club that now pay your wages. For some it is easy. Others find their new environs difficult to handle.
Of all the Brazilians to have played in England, which then have been the five biggest failures? Let's take a look and see.
1. Branco (Middlesbrough)
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A 1994 World Cup winner on Teesside? Who would have imagined?
Middlesbrough had already brought in Juninho Paulista while Emerson would follow the next summer, but it was the arrival of 72-cap full back Branco in February 1996 that should have captured the imagination.
"There is no problem over Branco's age. There was a time when you were considered too old at 30 but things are different now," manager Bryan Robson insisted to silence any doubters.
"I am sure we will see the best of Branco. Players in the 26-33 bracket often have that added experience. I would expect Branco to continue playing at the top level for another three or four years." (Independent)
The left-back with the rocket free-kick was already 32 on arrival and, just two years after Robson's bold comments, retired from professional football.
While his first 11 minutes in a Boro shirt were described as exhilarating (Independent), the rest of his career in Northeast England was somewhat of an anticlimax.
Just nine league games and less than a year later, he was on his way out the door. Having arrived short of fitness, Branco never recovered and struggled to adapt to the pace of the English game.
He did, though, score twice in a Boro shirt, although somewhat disappointingly the goals only came against Hereford in the FA Cup.
2. Kléberson (Manchester United)
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A central member of the Brazil side that won the 2002 World Cup, Kléberson arrived at Old Trafford just a year later with that title and a £6 million transfer fee provoking sizeable expectations of the 24-year-old.
"He is a young, athletic midfield player who can play in a number of positions," United boss Alex Ferguson said upon his arrival (BBC). "One of the reasons we sold Seba Veron was because we knew we were getting Kleberson - that shows how highly we regard his talent."
A dislocated shoulder in his second match at the club stalled his career at the club before it had even started, and upon return the former Atlético Paranaense man struggled for form and consistent selection.
There were several further attempts to turn the Brazilian into an important player at the club, but after just 20 league appearances in two seasons he was shipped onwards to Besiktas for a reduced £2.5 million fee.
For all Ferguson's comments about the "number of positions" that the Brazilian could play, his natural home is as a box-to-box midfielder. At United, though, he had Roy Keane to contend with.
The young Brazilian ultimately suffered the same fate as Veron and left with his reputation severely lessened. At a club with strong, established midfielders it simply proved too manufacture himself a space in the team.
3. Afonso Alves (Middlesbrough)
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Poor old Middlesbrough appear in our list once more and this time with a club record signing.
A £12 million move from Dutch side Heerenveen should have brought a regular goalscorer, instead it bought a striker who would become a symbol of the club's impending decline. Afonso Alves.
After his January 2008 arrival at the club, Alves struggled for consistent goals but a hat-trick against Manchester City on the last day of the season meant that he finished his half-season with a respectable six goals.
The 2008-09 campaign, though, would prove to be a disaster for both the Brazil international and his club.
With Alves leading the Boro attack, Gareth Southgate's side struggled greatly for form and results. The Brazilian scored just four times in 31 Premier League matches and his club were relegated.
It was to be Alves' last season in European football, having played the rest of his career in the Middle East. His goalscoring feats in Holland were ultimately washed away by a wretched 18-month spell on Teesside.
4. Robinho (Manchester City)
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Robinho's spell at Manchester City, following a deadline day £32.5 million move from Real Madrid, can be viewed as an analogy that encapsulates his entire career. A promising start that never quite developed as hoped.
The Brazilian has incredible talent and took to the English game like a duck to water, but found his performances heading on a continual downward slope after initial highs.
Managerial changes at the club and injury saw the 90-cap international struggle for form in his second season at Eastlands. A good initial goal return was replaced by just one goal in 12 matches, as well as talk of discontent and cliques within the dressing room.
Incredibly, after just 18 months in Manchester, he was loaned back to former club Santos to finish the 2009-10 English season. It was a move that bemused many given the sizeable fee that City had spent such a short time before.
In truth, Robinho's performances for the Citizens were fairly good until his injury-hit second campaign. The size of his transfer fee and the way he was loaned out then sold to Milan at a considerable loss, though, determine that he is remembered as a flop.
Unfortunately for Robinho, bar his initial spell at Santos, he has never hit the heights expected of him at any stage of his career. His is a talent that, while yet to hit 30, looks to have been unfulfilled.
5. Andre Santos (Arsenal)
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Poor old Andre Santos. By the end of his spell at Arsenal, having recently moved on loan to Grêmio, he had become a scapegoat for everything that was going wrong at the North London club.
His performances were not good, but toward the end of his spell at the club his treatment somewhat resembled a witch hunt, as he failed to adapt to the English demands of a full-back.
Santos' issues were no different to those suffered by many who have played at full-back for the club in recent years. The criticism, though, appeared to often focus on his nationality and a perceived inability to defend.
In truth, Santos was never a European style full-back. That is not the role he played before arriving in London, and that in itself asks questions of the Arsenal scouting system.
The Brazil international is now back in his homeland, where he is once more well-regarded. His time in England, though, was entirely forgettable.