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A “midfielder” is a player who plays in an intermediate position between defense and attack, and is responsible for setting up plays, distributing passes and often scoring goals. At Cruzeiro Esporte Clube, some midfielders stood out in a unique way, making their mark and contributing significantly to the team’s glories. Here’s a look at the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history!

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Best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history

Dirceu Lopes

Dirceu Lopes, known as the “Prince”, played for Cruzeiro from 1963 to 1977. He is widely regarded as one of the best midfielders in the club’s history, with his technical ability, vision and ability to score goals. Lopes was instrumental in winning the 1966 Brazil Cup, where Cruzeiro beat Pelé’s Santos.


Tostão, who played for Cruzeiro from 1963 to 1972, is one of Brazilian soccer’s greatest icons. Although he also played as a striker, he excelled as a midfielder, combining tactical intelligence and precision passing. His contribution was crucial to Cruzeiro’s growth in the 60s.


Alex is fondly remembered by Cruzeiro fans for his time between 2001 and 2004. The midfielder was known for his incredible skill on the ball, precision passing and ability to score decisive goals. He led Cruzeiro to the Triple Crown in 2003 (Campeonato Mineiro, Copa do Brasil and Campeonato Brasileiro). Certainly one of the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history.


Palhinha played for Cruzeiro between 1996 and 1998 and was a key player in midfield. His vision of the game and ability to create attacking moves were crucial to the team’s success, especially in winning the Copa Libertadores in 1997.


Ricardinho, who joined Cruzeiro in 2002, is remembered for his refined technique and precise passing. Despite his short spell, he left a significant mark on the team, contributing with his experience and tactical intelligence.


Douglas played for Cruzeiro between 1988 and 1992 and was one of the main midfielders. He was known for his ability to control the pace of the game and distribute precise passes, and was vital to the team during his time there. He can also be considered one of the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history.

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Éverton Ribeiro

Éverton Ribeiro shone at Cruzeiro between 2013 and 2014, a period in which the club won two consecutive Brazilian Championships. His skill, disconcerting dribbling and vision made him one of the best midfielders of his generation at the club.


Although best known for his career with Botafogo and the Brazilian national team, Jairzinho had a remarkable spell with Cruzeiro from 1976 to 1980. As a midfielder, he brought experience and technical quality to the team, helping them to several victories.

Dirceu Guimarães

Dirceu Guimarães played for Cruzeiro from 1983 to 1984. He is remembered for his intelligence on the pitch and his ability to set up plays, being a technical reference during his time at the club. Another who is not left out of the list of the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history.


Montillo, who played for Cruzeiro from 2010 to 2012, quickly became a fan favorite. The Argentine midfielder was known for his ability to handle the ball, his vision of the game and his ability to decide matches with goals and assists.


Joãozinho played for Cruzeiro from 1973 to 1982, and although he is best remembered as a winger, there were times when he played as a midfielder. His ability to dribble and cross made him a versatile player and fundamental to the team’s scheme.

Zé Carlos

Zé Carlos, who had several spells with Cruzeiro (1984-1988, 1992-1994), was a midfielder with excellent vision and goalscoring ability. He was crucial in several of the team’s victories during the 80s and early 90s.

Douglas Costa

Douglas Costa, although best known for his international career, had a promising start at Cruzeiro (2008-2010). As a midfielder, he showed skill and speed, leaving a lasting impression on the fans.


Cleisson played for Cruzeiro between 1995 and 1998 and was a midfielder with a great ability to mark and support the attack. He was instrumental in winning important titles during his time at the club.


Henrique is one of the most emblematic players in Cruzeiro’s recent history, with several spells at the club (2008-2020). Although he has also played as a midfielder, his passing ability and control of the game make him one of the team’s greatest midfielders.

List: the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history

  1. Dirceu Lopes
  2. Tostão
  3. Alex
  4. Palhinha
  5. Ricardinho
  6. Douglas
  7. Éverton Ribeiro
  8. Jairzinho
  9. Dirceu Guimarães
  10. Montillo
  11. Joãozinho
  12. Zé Carlos
  13. Douglas Costa
  14. Cleisson
  15. Henrique

The history of Cruzeiro Esporte Clube is rich and full of achievements, much due to the talent and dedication of those players who played as midfielders. They left a legacy of technique, passion and victories that continue to inspire new generations of fans and players.

Did you like getting to know the best midfielders in Cruzeiro’s history? Then keep following our articles to learn more about the history and idols of Brazilian soccer.

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