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Club Profile: Sao Paulo

Rogerio Ceni (centre) captained São Paulo to Club World Cup success in 2005
Action Images
Every day, Sambafoot will profile a club from the top division in Brazil, describing the history of a club, its current standing and famous players. Today we look at São Paulo.

The team was formed on January 25 1930 as São Paulo Futebol Clube, but due to their stadium being called Floresta (Portuguese for Forest), they were more commonly known as São Paulo de Floresta. Despite winning the Campeonato Paulista in 1931, the club suffered financial difficulties, and in May 1935 disbanded. However, they were able to reform in December of the same year.

 

São Paulo have always enjoyed success in the Campeonato Paulista, winning the competition 21 times, a record that is bettered only by Corinthians and Palmeiras. They are also one of the most successful teams in the top division since it was rebranded in 1971 as the Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A, its current format, winning it six times.

 

The first of these Brasileirão triumphs came in 1977, when they defeated Atlético Mineiro in a penalty shoot-out. The next league win came in 1986, thanks to the goals of former Seleção great Careca, before Sao Paulo entered a great period of success during the 1990s.

 

They won the Brasileirão in 1991, before lifting the Copa Libertadores two years running in 1992 and 1993. They also won the Intercontinental Cup twice in the same two years, beating the great Barcelona and AC Milan sides of the time, who boasted the likes of Guardiola, Laudrup, Stoichkov, Maldini, Desailly and Papin in their squads. São Paulo had stars of their own, including Cafu, Leonardo, Rai and Juninho Paulista.

 

There was a spell of little success until 2005, when São Paulo won its third Libertadores and first ever FIFA Club World Cup, beating Steven Gerrard and Liverpool in the final. The man-of-the-match in the final was goalkeeper and captain Rogerio Ceni, who has been with the club since 1992 and incredibly scored over 100 goals, taking free-kicks and penalties for the team. They also won the Brasileirão for three consecutive seasons in 2006, 2007 and 2008.

 

Aside from Ceni, the current stars of the São Paulo squad are veteran Rivaldo, former Sevilla striker Luis Fabiano, ex-Shakhtar Donetsk midfielder Ilsinho and Lucas, who is being tipped as a star of the future. The team have picked up two wins from the first two games of the 2011 Brasileirão campaign, and will be hoping to improve on last season's ninth place finish.

 
 

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