The Arrogance Of Brazilian Fans: Is It Really Supported By The Stats?

Josep Vernet-RieraCorrespondent ISeptember 3, 2009

PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 21: Fans enjoy the match during the FIFA Confederations Cup match between Italy and Brazil at Loftus Versfeld on June 21, 2009 in Pretoria, South Africa.   (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Brazilian fans enjoy being arrogant and saying that their players are the best of the world - always!

Still, does this whole behaviour make sense? Is Brazil actually the best national team ever? Are Brazilian players the best in the world? 

I have conducted an interesting mathematical research, that will prove whether or not Brazilian fans have the right to be arrogant.


Individual success

Individual awards:

The FIFA World Player of the Year award was won 8 times by Brazilian players, three times by French players. Two Italian and two Portuguese players have also grabbed the award, just like one player out of Germany, Liberia and the Netherlands.

So, at first sight Brazil would look like a dominant country. Not if you compare the size of the countries.

Brazil has a population of 180m., compared to Portugal's 10m. that's a lot, really.

Still, Figo and Ronaldo won the title coming out of a population of 10m., which means that the success rate of Portuguese players, is much larger than that of Brazilian players, since they would have to have 36(!) players, that won the title, in order to equal Portugal's rate.

If we look at the winners since 2000 we would find out, that if we combine the population of the countries of European winners (Italy, France, Portugal), it would still be much smaller than Brazil's population and still, these European nations combined have more WPOTY awards than Brazil (5-4 in the last nine years).

Unlike most of you will think, the most successful player in the FIFA WPOTY awards is Zizou. He was 3x number one (record alongside Ronaldo), still he was 1x number two and 3x number three, thus giving him an edge over Ronaldo.

On a further analysis, you'll find, out that Ronaldinho is the third most successful player, At fourth there is a tie between Romário, Figo and George Weah! Following would be Ronaldo and Di Baggio.

When searching for which player has the most team titles, Vito Baía (Portugal) has 32, way ahead of Pelé and Rijkaard, each with 25 a piece.

When talking about the best player of the world, there is a big discussion between Pelé and Maradona, and some experts even claim the spot for the Portuguese Eusébio (the European player that won the Ballon D'Or and the Golden Boot and has the best goal-match rate in history).


Who helped the growth of notable teams?

Brazilian fans often claim that their players are the ones, that put European teams on the map. How much of this is true?

Not much.

Real Madrid was launched into stardom by an Argentine, Di Stefano, Barcelona by the Dutchman Cruyff.

Although some might say, that Barça's first "Dream Team" ('92 season) was launched by Romário, this could not be further from the truth. It is true that Romário was the best scorer, but he was the only Brazilian in the team, not to mention the fact that he shared the spotlight with Guardiola, Bakero, Begiristain, Goikoetxea, Hagi, Koeman Ladrup and ,most notably, Hristo Stoichkov.

British teams never had great sympathy for Brazilian players and in Italy, the only legend coming outside of the old continent is Maradona. Platini and Di Baggio are the biggest legends in Italy (at least when we count their awards).

In the Netherlands, Ronaldo did his fair share for PSV Eindhoven, but Ajax's Cruyff is still regarded as the best player ever to grace the fields of Holland.

Portugal's most prolific side, Benfica, played until the late 70's without foreigners and had won the CL twice in a row, by beating Madrid and Barça in the early 60's.

Porto was also led by Portuguese players in its two most notable European campaigns.

France also owes nothing to Brazilian players, much like Germany, that found its club legends in Franz Beckenbauer, Gerd Mueller and Lothar Matthäus.


Better Managers?

Well, name one great Brazilian gaffer. Big Phil will be the one popping up, but he didn't establish himself in club football. Sir Alex Ferguson, the unknown Bella Gutman, José Mourinho and Marcelo Lippi or Cruyff are still regarde as some of the best all-time coaches—all Europeans.


Better Teams?

Real Madrid or Flamengo? Barça or Fluminense? Liverpool or Internacional? ManUtd or São Paulo? Juve or Corinthians? Inter or Santos?

Although Brazilian teams have already beaten European teams in the World Club Cup, one must explain to the Brazilian fans, that at the given time, European teams have to play UEFA CL football and League football, plus Cup matches, which are unbelievably more competitive than the Brazilian League.


National Team's achievements

Brazil is one of the most respected teams. They have 5 WC titles (record) and they were two time runner-up.

Italy follows in a close second with 4 titles and two time runner up.

Assuming that Italy has a population of around 50-60m., Brazil (pop.:180m.) should have won the cup 12 times, if they had the same success rate as Italy.


My conclusion:

Brazilian players are amongst the best of the world, the national team is great, but when you're so big and so good, the success rates just do not impress me.

Portugal and Italy have better success rates than Brazil, just like Germany.

Imagine what would happen if we congregated Portugal, Spain, France, Italy and the Netherlands—then you would have roughly the same populations as that of Brazil!

And if we did that with all our stats, this "super-nation" would have more titles than Brazil in any category!

I know I will get some heat for this, but this is just to show Brazilian fans, that they do not have so many reasons to be plain arrogant.


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