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Ranking Top 10 Brazilians on Impact in Serie A

Christopher AtkinsContributor IAugust 4, 2014

Ranking Top 10 Brazilians on Impact in Serie A

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    LUCA BRUNO/Associated Press

    Over the years Italy's Serie A has churned out some of the finest individual sides that European football has ever witnessed, and among their ranks have been several important Brazilian players.

    Brazil exports footballing talent in a manner that no other country can quite claim to compete with, and many of the game's most famous and successful faces have hailed from the South American nation.

    But with so many having achieved success on the Old Continent, determining which players have been the very best is a difficult challenge.

    Who, then, deserves recognition as one of the 10 best Brazilians in the history of Serie A?

10. Aldair

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    Claudio Villa/ Grazia Neri/Getty Images

    A centre-back of true class, Aldair's 13-year spell with Roma saw him consistently prove himself to be one of the best in his position in European football.

    He earned 81 caps for his country, appearing in two World Cup finals over the course of his time in Italy, achieving success over the Azzurri in the 1994 competition.

    So important was his contribution to the club over the course of his time in Italy, winning both Serie A and the Coppa Italia, that AS Roma opted to retire the No. 6 shirt upon his departure, though the number has once more been made available with Aldair's blessing.

9. Ronaldo

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    Grazia Neri/Getty Images

    Sadly for all concerned, Brazil superstar Ronaldo's five-year spell at Inter Milan was hindered by injury—he featured just 24 times in all competitions during his final three seasons at the club.

    However, his impact was such that in his first two seasons alone he made a considerable contribution to Serie A football with 39 goals in 51 appearances and a UEFA Cup success.

    In his first season at the club he was named both Serie A Player of the Year and UEFA Club Footballer of the Year. Unfortunately, injuries denied him the opportunity to continue in such a manner.

8. Maicon

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Over the course of a six-year spell in Milan with Internazionale, right-back Maicon played an important role in securing four league titles and a UEFA Champions League success.

    An excellent attacking player, Maicon can justifiably claim to have been at the top of the world game for a period of several seasons. While he may have appeared to be swiftly heading to the end of his career, he recovered well to help Roma to a second-place finish last season.

    Following the 2009-10 season, in which Inter secured continental glory, he was named European Defender of the Year before earning a berth in the FIFPro Best XI later the same year.

7. Careca

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    Dan Smith/Getty Images

    Despite playing second fiddle to superstar Diego Maradona, Careca scored 73 league goals in the colours of Napoli during a six-year spell at the club.

    It was a period of unprecedented success for the club, with Careca boosting his own personal honours tally with Serie A, Italian Super Cup and UEFA Cup medals.

    His most successful season on a personal level came in 1988-89, when 19 goals in 30 fixtures helped Napoli to a second-place league finish.

6. Toninho Cerezo

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    Getty Images/Getty Images

    A European Cup finalist with both Roma and Sampdoria, Toninho Cerezo is widely regarded one of the greatest defensive midfielders to emerge from Brazilian football.

    It was with Sampdoria that he achieved his greatest success, winning a Serie A title, two Coppa Italia and a European Cup Winners' Cup to add to his Coppa Italia triumphs with Roma.

    He is regarded as one of the most influential players in Sampdoria's illustrious history.

5. Julinho

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    A star of the 1954 World Cup, Julinho is one of the greatest and most important figures in the history of Fiorentina—despite spending just three years in Italy.

    The winger stood out by helping the club to Serie A glory in his first campaign in 1955-56 and followed it up with two further runners-up spots.

    In 1957, Fiorentina also reached the European Cup final, where they encountered the phenomenal Real Madrid side of the era and fell just short of continental glory.

4. Kaka

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    Kaka's prime may have lasted anywhere near as long as it should have, but there can be no doubting that it was magical for a while.

    Between 2003 and 2009, the Brazilian scored 95 goals to help the Rossoneri to a league title, a Champions League crown and a FIFA Club World Cup. A return for the 2013-14 season, also, was largely successful on an individual level.

    Nominated for the Ballon d'Or five times while with the club, Kaka picked up the honour in 2007, as well as finishing in the UEFA Team of the Year on three occasions. He will rightfully go down as true Milan great.

3. Falcao

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    Paolo Bruno/Getty Images

    The "King of Rome" spent five years in the Italian capital at the outset of the 1980s, winning two Coppa Italias and a long-awaited league title.

    Unfortunately for the mercurial Brazilian, his time in Italy will always be partly remembered for defeat to Liverpool in the 1983-84 European Cup final, when he refused to take a penalty.

    It was the beginning of the end of his marvellous spell at the club, which brought great success to the Stadio Olimpico. He is fondly remembered by the Giallorossi faithful to this day.

2. Cafu

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    New Press/Getty Images

    A veteran of 11 Serie A seasons with Roma and AC Milan, right wing-back Cafu won league titles in Italy with both clubs, as well as a Champions League title during his time in Milan.

    A game changer in the role of full-back play in the modern era, Cafu’s relentless surges forward from defence were a major theme of both sides' play during his time in Italy.

    With two World Cup wins and three successive finals to his name with his country, Cafu can also claim to be one of his country’s greatest players at international level.

1. Mazzola (Jose Altafini)

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    Claudio Villa/Getty Images

    A four-time Serie A winner, Jose Altafini scored a total of 216 league goals for Napoli, Milan and Juventus over the course of 18 years in Italian football.

    Indeed, so successful was his time in the country—during which time he won the European Cup with Milan—that he even switched nationalities in order to represent Italy after having already won the 1958 World Cup with Brazil.

    His 22 goals in the colours of the Rossoneri during the 1961-62 season also saw him top the Serie A goalscoring chart for the only time in his career.

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