Ranking the Top 8 Brazilians to Play in a Manchester Derby

Christopher AtkinsContributor IOctober 29, 2014

Ranking the Top 8 Brazilians to Play in a Manchester Derby

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    It would be fair to say Brazilians have not enjoyed the best of times in Manchester, with "mixed" perhaps a generous assessment of their performances over the years.

    Ranking the best of them in terms of Manchester derby performance is particularly difficult, as several players who have played for either club have not been trusted in the fixture, including esteemed luminaries Sylvinho, Jo, Rodrigo Possebon and Glauber.

    Bleacher Report has picked the top eight Brazilians to have featured in the fixture based upon derby performance. Who, then, tops the list?

8. Fabio

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    A Champions League finalist and a Brazil international, Fabio's Manchester derby career lasted a paltry six minutes in his five seasons at United—an indication of his lack of progress at the club.

    Prone to injury throughout, the Fluminense academy product failed to follow the path of his brother to a regular berth at first-team level, although he also had the major issue of displacing Patrice Evra to contend with.

    Given his lack of playing time in the fixture, he has to bring up the bottom of our list.

7. Kleberson

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    Managing a whole 74 minutes of derby action in his first season at Old Trafford, World Cup winner Kleberson is next on our list, although his derby career is eminently forgettable.

    The Brazilian played in a 3-1 win, in which Paul Scholes starred with a brace, before being substituted by a young buck named Cristiano Ronaldo.

    It was about that time when their careers began to head in entirely different directions.

6. Robinho

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    Robinho threatened to offer Manchester City and the Premier League so much before ultimately disappointing in much the same manner that his overall career has failed to ignite as hoped.

    The one-time golden boy of Brazilian football made two appearances in Manchester derbies, losing both to a Manchester United side at the pinnacle of the European game at the time.

    It was a forgettable foray into the world of City-United cameos by a player who had the potential to really set the tie alight in recent seasons. Sadly, it never came to fruition.

5. Anderson

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    Anderson has sadly become something of a laughingstock among many fans. However, he was once a very talented player and showed as much in spells of his United career.

    The Gremio product has remarkably lasted seven-and-a-half years at Old Trafford, placing him as the longest-serving Brazilian player in Premier League history alongside Lucas Leiva—no mean feat. However, he has failed to kick on and become a true star.

    Anderson's career in Manchester is unlikely to last much longer, and it would be a major surprise to see him with the club past January. However, his past contributions do not deserve to be forgotten, and there were real contributions at times.

4. Elano

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    Elano's Manchester City career was far too brief given the initial impact he made, shining for the club under Sven-Goran Eriksson. However, as rumours of cliques within the dressing room spread, Elano was one of the fall guys.

    While he never scored in a Manchester derby, his performances at the beginning of the 2007 season—including a 1-0 success over United—were exceptional and thus see him register high on our (admittedly underwhelming) list.

    Still playing in the Indian Super League, Elano made a mark on the English game, but he could have achieved so much more had his spell been more sustained.

3. Fernandinho

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    It says a lot about the success of Brazilians in Manchester that 29-year-old Fernandinho registers at No. 3 on our list despite just one season in the north-west of England thus far.

    The former Shakhtar man has played the entirety of his two clashes with United to date and has helped rack up an aggregate score of 7-1 over the 180 minutes.

    Given another year or two of similar performances, he could easily top this list by some distance.

2. Rafael

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    High on this list for his longevity rather than any standout performances in Manchester derbies, Rafael already has six years to his name at Old Trafford and has shown signs that he could be a key long-term figure for the club.

    His most famous moment in derby clashes came as an impetuous 21-year-old in November 2010. He endeared himself to supporters by standing up to former Red Devil Carlos Tevez in a spat between the pair.

    Rafael is a popular figure among fans for the fight he shows on a regular basis in a side accused of lacking characters. To many, it was the clash with Tevez that solidified his place in their hearts going forward.

1. Geovanni

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    It would be fair to say Brazilian attacking midfielder Geovanni enjoyed his outings against Manchester United, also scoring against the club in the colours of Hull City.

    However, his biggest impact against the Red Devils came in a 2007 Manchester derby when he ensured his side a 1-0 victory over their rivals to extend their unbeaten start to the season to three games.

    Geovanni, once at Barcelona, may never have hit the heights expected of him during his football career, but he might have done so had he only ever encountered Manchester United.

    A big-game player who relished the limelight, he was well-suited to such high-profile clashes.