The two World Cup winners (and one runner-up) with Brazil who started their European careers at Bayer Leverkusen

The unprecedented champion of the Bundesliga was home to some great names of the Brazilian National Team
Josué Seixas
2024-04-15 15:14:45

Bayer Leverkusen made history this weekend by lifting the German championship title for the first time. This Bundesliga came 119 years after its foundation, and despite the great footballers who wore their uniform, including three who would achieve glory (or come very close to it) with the Brazilian national team.

These three players began their careers in Europe with the pharmaceutical company’s team, a team known for developing young talents like Kai Havertz or Florian Wirtz and also serving as a great springboard for stars who succeed in other teams, such as the cases of Michael Ballack and Toni Kroos.


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A right-back with great technique and projection, Jorginho joined the German team in 1989 from Flamengo. After three seasons, he changed teams, but not countries: he was at Bayern Munich before moving his career to Japan. With Brazil, he played in the 1990 World Cup in the team that was eliminated by Argentina in the round of 16, and in the 1994 World Cup, where they ended up as champions after defeating Italy on penalties in the final.


Considered one of the best central defenders of his time, he shone with Bayern Munich and later with Inter Milan, including winning the 2009-2010 Champions League. His first experience in Europe was with Bayer Leverkusen, where he arrived in 2001 from Internacional. He was part of the squad that reached the final of the 2001-2002 Champions League, lost to the Galacticos of Real Madrid. With Brazil, he won the 2002 World Cup and the Confederations Cup in 2005 and 2009.

Zé Roberto

A midfielder with an exquisite left foot and great technique, Zé Roberto had a very memorable time at Bayer Leverkusen. Although this was not his first experience in Europe, as he had previously been at Real Madrid, his time at the Spanish club was very brief and without achievements. He was also part of the Leverkusen team that reached the Champions League final, and with Brazil, he was a runner-up in the 1998 World Cup. After a long career, which included several successes with Bayern Munich, he retired at the age of 43 in Palmeiras in 2017.