One of the finest full-backs to have ever played the game could not find room for himself in a side of global icons, but plenty of talent was squeezed into a difficult selection.
Cafu was, however, able to get some of the brightest global stars into his Brazilian galaxy, with only two members of his selection having failed to collect a World Cup winners’ medal – and both of those graced the 1982 side considered to be one of the best in history.
Between the sticks, Taffarel gets the nod on the back of 101 appearances for his country which included global glory at USA ’94.
Cafu happily surrenders the right-back berth he made his own to 1970 legend Carlos Alberto, while two more World Cup champions occupy centre-half berths in the form of Lucio and Aldair.
There was only ever going to be one choice for the final defensive spot, with Cafu telling The Guardian of a Real Madrid icon: “Left-back, for sure, is Roberto Carlos.
“A world champion, he played at a high level for many years, with the same quality and intensity whether defending or attacking. He was a giant. I have never seen a shot as powerful as his. He had a missile in his leg!”
Zico and Falcao are the two men without World Cup honours to their name to make the team in midfield, with their qualities complemented by the creative qualities of a former Barcelona star.
Cafu added: “Rivaldo, he was a genius. Come on! It was so wonderful to see him with the ball. He played with the same style as Falcao. Rivaldo was brilliant.”
Brazil have also had their fair share of prolific frontmen down the years, but two names stand out above the rest.
“Picking the two attackers is easy,” said Cafu.
“The first is the best player of all time – Pele. Do I need to say anything more?
“The athlete of the century, he scored more than 1,000 goals, and won the World Cup three times. He was complete. I don’t need to say anything more. Pele is Pele. No one can beat him.”
“Pele’s partner up front is Ronaldo,” added Cafu.
“He was incredible too. You had to pay attention to both feet with Ronaldo as they were as good as each other.
“He was an example to other players, too. He suffered three serious injuries during his career, and was always fighting against these problems. Ronaldo was essential to us in 2002 when we became world champions.”
A team with so much star dust would hardly need a manager to tell them what to do, but the final choice made by Cafu sees Mario Zagallo get the nod in the dugout – with a Brazilian icon the first man to have won the World Cup as both a player (1958 & 1982) and coach (1970).