Brazilians at PSG
When people think of Brazilians and Paris Saint Germain, the names of Neymar, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos will probably trip from their tongue first. Neymar joined the club for a world record £222m fee in the summer of 2017, a transfer that shocked the world when he chose to leave Barcelona for Ligue 1 and read the best PSG news website in english.
His compatriots Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Lucas Moura were ready to greet him at the club and his best friend, Dani Alves, joined during the same summer. All of a sudden, the French club had a sizeable Brazilian contingent to help settle Neymar into life in Paris. Ironically enough, Lucas Moura’s chances were limited by the arrival of Neymar and he soon left for Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League.
Chelsea centre-half David Luiz also spent three seasons at the club before moving back to Stamford Bridge in 2016. He formed part of an all Brazilian defence with Thiago Silva, backed up by the young pretender to the crown Marquinhos. When Luiz moved, Marquinhos was able to slot easily into the vacant centre-half slot and soon enough, Marquinhos and Silva were flanked by Dani Alves.
But PSG’s love affair with Brazilian players is not a recent phenomenon. It was here that Ronaldinho Gaucho made his first passage into Europe after thrilling Brazil with his performances for Grêmio. The Parisians paid a paltry 5 million euros for the playmaker and sold him to Barcelona for six times that just two seasons later. Ronaldinho went on to win every big trophy available to him in the club game and hoovered up two World Player of the Year awards.
In the early 90s, Paris Saint Germain enjoyed a cash injection from media giants Canal + and used the proceeds to buy some famous Brazilians. Most notably playmaker Raí, an elegant number 10 in the celebrated Brazilian mould. He won a league title, two French cups and a Cup Winners Cup in a successful five year spell. Raí also just happened to be the younger brother of Brazilian legend Socrates.
Raí was a teammate of bandy-legged winger Valdo Filho, another chip off the Brazilian block. A snake hipped winger famed for his close control and dribbling. He won a league title and two French cups in the capital. PSG have been well represented by other Brazilian talents in recent years, the centre-half Alex who also played for Chelsea and PSV Eindhoven.
Then there is the left-back Maxwell who won a Champions League with Barcelona. Thiago Motta declared for Italy internationally, but is a son of São Bernardo do Campo. He spent six years with Paris Saint Germain and, in truth, they have never really replaced his skills in the deep lying midfield role.
There have been slightly less famous flirtations with Brazilian players too- Vampeta, Nenê, Everton Santos and Roicardo Gomes have all passed through PSG’s doors. World Cup winning full-back Leonardo Araújo played for PSG for just one season, but recently rejoined the club as Technical Director, keeping PSG’s Brazilian connection nice and strong for the next few years at least.