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Vinicius, Neymar, Ronaldo and the top 10 Brazilian wonderkids of all time

22:50 EAT 20/07/2018
Neymar Vinicius Ronaldo
The 18-year-old was officially presented as a Real Madrid player on Friday and here, Goal looks at the biggest teenage talents to emerge from Brazil

  • Pele Santos


    Considered by most as Brazil's greatest ever player and by many as the finest footballer of all time, Pele was a World Cup winner at the age of 17 in 1958, having made his debut for Santos as a 15-year-old in 1956.

    O Rei went on to score over 1,000 goals in his career, spent mostly with Santos before a short stint in the USA with the New York Cosmos. He is the only player to have won three World Cups and is still Brazil's top scorer with 77 goals from his 92 games.

  • Zico


    Such was Zico's talent that the Flamengo forward was nicknamed "the white Pele" in his homeland. And although he never won a World Cup with Brazil, he is still regarded as one of the finest footballers ever produced by the South American nation.

    Zico made his Flamengo debut as an 18-year-old and would go on to score over 400 goals for the Rio de Janeiro side, most of those in the first of two spells either side of a two-season stint with Udinese. He finished his career with Kashima Antlers in Japan and scored 48 goals for Brazil.

  • Romario Brazil


    Romario started his career with Vasco da Gama in Rio, initially just as a fan and later as a professional once he had made his debut just days after his 19th birthday. At the age of 22, he then moved to PSV Eindhoven and later to Barcelona.

    Short in stature, the striker was famous for his lobbed goals in a spectacular career which saw him play until beyond his 40th birthday. He won the World Cup in 1994 with Brazil and hit 55 goals in 70 games for the Selecao overall.

  • Ronaldo Nazario FC Barcelona


    Ronaldo made his debut for Cruzeiro at just 16 years of age and after an impressive year, he followed a similar path to Romario as he joined PSV Eindhoven and then Barcelona, before moving to Inter and Real Madrid later in his career.

    Part of the 1994 World Cup-winning squad with Brazil, O Fenomeno did not feature that year, but played in two finals and claimed the trophy as the star in 2002. He scored 62 goals in 98 games for the Selecao and despite suffering a number of injuries, is among the nation's best-ever players.

  • Denilson Real Betis


    Denilson became the world's most expensive player when he moved from Sao Paulo to Betis in 1998, but he never quite lived up the billing and found himself back on loan to Flamengo in Brazil in 2000. He never did settle anywhere, with short spells in France, USA, Saudi Arabia and Greece in an unfulfilled career.

    However, he did feature prominently for his national team over a number of years and was part of the squad which won the World Cup in 2002, when he played five times as a substitute, including a brief one-minute appearance in the final against Germany.

  • Adriano Brazil


    Like Denilson, Adriano did not quite fulfill his early potential, the explosive striker moving to Inter as a 19-year-old and impressing with Fiorentina (on loan) and then Parma, before moving back to Milan to star for several seasons.

    Blighted by drug and alcohol problems later in his career, however, he was unable to live up to earlier expectations. He still managed 27 goals in 48 games for Brazil, though, winning a Copa America and a Confederations Cup. Still only 36, he last played for Miami United in 2016.

  • Ronaldinho Brazil Pavel Pardo Mexico


    Ronaldinho will go down as one of Brazil's best-ever and perhaps the one who played with the most joy throughout his career, which saw him star for Gremio (from the age of 18), Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, among others.

    A Ballon d'Or winner while at the Catalan club, he also won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002 and hit 33 goals in 97 appearances for the Selecao overall, last wearing the famous shirt in 2013. Now 38 and retired since January, he turns out for Barca Legends these days.

  • Robinho Atletico MG


    Dubbed "the next Pele" and "my successor" by the great man himself, Robinho has enjoyed a successful playing career, but one which never hit the heights expected when he emerged at Santos as a talented teenager, starring in his debut season at 18 years of age.

    A big-money move to Real Madrid came next, followed by another to Manchester City, before a long spell at AC Milan and two loans back at Santos. Now 34 and at Sivasspor in Turkey, Robinho has played 100 times for Brazil, scoring 28 goals.  

  • Young Neymar Santos


    Neymar also started out impressively at Santos (making his debut as a 17-year-old) and the Paris Saint-Germain forward is perhaps a more worthy successor to Pele, the 26-year-old having scored an amazing 57 goals in his 90 games so for Brazil.

    However, the former Barcelona attacker was somewhat disappointing in the recent World Cup, earning criticism for his theatrics in Russia, and also has something to prove after his controversial move to PSG last summer.

  • Vinicius Jr. Flamengo

    Vinicius Junior

    Unveiled as a Real Madrid player on Friday, Vinicius Junior turned 18 just last week and looks to have a great future ahead of him after starring for Flamengo in his homeland last season.

    The explosive forward was signed up by Flamengo at the age of 10 and made his debut as a 16-year-old. He has yet to represent Brazil at senior level, but has played in the youth teams for his country and is considered the next big star for the Selecao.