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It’s hard to talk about Brazil’s best right-backs without remembering the captain of the World Cup, Cafu. The star marked generations, won countless awards and ended his career on a high note. We also had Carlos Alberto Torres, Nilton Santos, Djalma Santos, Leandro…

Today’s article will introduce you to the 10 best right-backs in Brazil, as well as telling you a little about them and their most recent performances. And at the end, maybe we’ll bring you a little bit more about the stars of the past… Read on to find out!

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How do you know who the best right-backs in Brazil are?

The position, despite forming the line of defense alongside the defenders, allows for a lot of attacking drops to support the team on the other side of the central line. So a right-back doesn’t just have one role: he must be able to defend and attack equally well.

Who are the best right-backs in Brazil?

Meet the best right-backs in Brazil

For this article, we’re going to take an overview of the players’ performances in the Brasileirão 2023 and the state championships that are reaching their final stages.

  1. Mayke from Palmeiras

Having played for Palmeiras since 2019, Mayke is one of the players Abel Ferreira trusts. During the last few years under the Portuguese coach, he has even been used as a winger on a few occasions.

However, it’s at right-back that he tends to stand out the most. Many consider him to be one of the best right-backs in the country, especially due to his consistency in this position.

Mayke was chosen to occupy the position in the Brazilian National Team 2023.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Paulista
33 matches7 matches
1 goal0 goals
6 assists3 assists
7 cards (yellow)0 cards
Source: BeSoccer
Mayke, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram



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  1. Fabrício Bustos from Internacional

Revealed by the Independiente team, he left the Argentine club to join Internacional in 2022. He plays regularly and is important to the team, contributing greatly to Internacional’s good performance at the start of the year. Now, in 2024, the player is standing out and being recognized as one of the best right-backs in the country.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Desempenho no Campeonato Gaúcho
29 matches13 matches
3 goals0 goals
3 assists1 assists
4 cards (yellow)1 card (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer
Bustos, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

  1. Samuel Xavier from Fluminense

As a starter for Fluminense, Samuel Xavier has stood out as a key player in recent years. His contribution has been crucial in winning several titles, such as the Copa Libertadores and the Recopa Sudamericana. Specifically in the latter competition, he helped the team beat LDU, a team that had already beaten the Tricolor Carioca last year.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023
25 matches
1 goals
2 assists
7 cards (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer

The player suffered an injury recently and is out of the 2024 Campeonato Carioca.

Samuel Xavier, one of Brazil's best right-backs

Personal archive/Instagram

  1. Rafinha from São Paulo

Veteran Rafinha, ex-Bayern Munich, is considered one of the best right-backs in Brazil for his tactical intelligence, speed, skill and experience. Rafinha was fundamental to Flamengo winning the Brasileirão and Libertadores, as well as contributing to São Paulo’s first win in the Copa do Brasil.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Paulista
25 matches3 matches
0 goals0 goals
1 assists0 assists
10 cards (yellow) 1 card (red)0 cards
Source: BeSoccer
Rafinha, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

  1. Varela from Flamengo

The Uruguayan arrived at Flamengo in 2022 after spells at European clubs such as Manchester United. The following year, his performance wasn’t exceptional, but everything changed with the arrival of Tite. Playing as a right-back, Varela has steadily improved his performance. As a result, he is often called up to play for the Uruguayan national team.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Carioca
5 matches11 matches
0 goals1 goals
0 assists0 assists
0 cards 0 cards
Source: BeSoccer
Varela, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

6.

Mariano fromAtlético-MG.

Mariano was signed by Atlético Mineiro in 2020, brought in by then coach Jorge Sampaoli. Since then, he has established himself as the team’s first-choice right-back and has been an important part of the club’s tactical scheme. He is known for his technical ability, speed and ability to support the attack effectively. He is an attacking full-back who likes to venture into the opponent’s half, contributing with precise crosses and decisive passes.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Mineiro
22 matches6 matches
0 goals0 goals
1 assists0 assists
5 cards (yellow)3 cards (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer
Mariano, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

7.

Fagner from Corinthias

Fagner is much loved by Timão fans. In his career he has won the World Cup and also the Copa América. He is an extremely technically skilled player.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Paulista
30 matches10 matches
0 goals0 goals
1 assists3 assists
10 cards (yellow)4 cards (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer
Fagner, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

8.

Matheus Alexandre from Cuiabá

Matheus Alexandre is a right-back who started out at Corinthians and was loaned to Cuiabá in 2021. His best qualities are versatility, speed and technical ability, contributing both in defense and attack. Still young, his time at Cuiabá has been seen as promising.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Desempenho no Campeonato Matogrossense
35 matches2 matches
1 goal0 goals
0 assists0 assists
5 cards (yellow)0 cards (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer

The player has suffered a thigh injury and is therefore not playing at the moment.

Matheus Alexandre, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

9.

William from Cruzeiro

A graduate of Internacional’s youth academy and with experience at two clubs in Germany (Wolfsburg and Schalke 04), William is once again in top form at Cruzeiro. During the season, he played 40 games and scored one goal. William arrived at Cruzeiro in 2023 after spending around two years recovering from serious injuries. He managed to make a full recovery and earned a starting place in the Minas Gerais team.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Campeonato Mineiro
36 matches11 matches
0 goals0 goals
2 assists3 assists
6 cards (yellow)1 card (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer
William, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

10.

Paulo Henrique from Vasco

In February 2023, the right-back arrived at Vasco on loan from Atlético-MG. In eight months, he cemented himself in the team and had a standout performance. He started 2024 as a starter in Ramón Díaz’s team. So far, he has played five games, provided one assist and has lived up to expectations. In important matches, such as the classics against Flamengo and Fluminense, PH has performed well in duels with the opposition forwards.

Performance in the Brasileirão 2023Performance in the Carioca Championship
14 matches9 matches
1 goal0 goals
1 assists1 assists
3 cards (yellow)4 cards (yellow)
Source: BeSoccer
Paulo Henrique, one of the best right-backs in Brazil

Personal archive/Instagram

List of the best right-backs in Brazil:

  • Mayke
  • Fabrício Bustos 
  • Samuel Xavier
  • Rafinha
  • Varela
  • Mariano
  • Fagner
  • Matheus Alexandre
  • William
  • Paulo Henrique

Brazil’s best right-backs: a look back at the past

As we joked at the beginning of the text, we are now going to reveal the list of the best right-backs in Brazil from back then. The best of all time, we might say.

  1. Cafu

Titles: Five-time World Cup winner (1994 and 2002), two-time Copa América winner (1997 and 1999), two-time Confederations Cup winner (1997 and 2005), among others.

History: Cafu is widely recognized for his leadership, versatility and tireless energy on the pitch. He was instrumental in the achievements of the Brazilian national team and also had a successful career at clubs such as São Paulo, Roma and Milan.

Curiosity: Cafu is the player who has worn the Brazilian national team shirt the most times, with 142 appearances.

  1. Carlos Alberto Torres

Titles: 1970 World Cup Champion, Brazilian Champion (Série A) with Santos in 1965 and with Fluminense in 1971.

History: Known as “Capita”, Carlos Alberto was an extremely technical right-back and also a born leader. His iconic goal in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy, after a memorable team move, is one of the most famous in soccer history.

Curiosity: Carlos Alberto Torres was the captain of the legendary Brazilian team of 1970, which won the third World Cup in Mexico.

  1. Djalma Santos:

Titles: Two-time World Cup winner (1958 and 1962), as well as several state titles for Palmeiras.

History: Djalma Santos was known for his impeccable defensive skills, as well as his ability to support the attack effectively. He was a key player in the historic Brazilian national team of the 1960s.

Curiosity: Djalma Santos is considered one of the best right-backs of all time and was voted the best right-back in World Cup history by FIFA in 2002

4. Leandro

    Titles: World Cup winner in 1982, as well as numerous state and national titles for Flamengo.

    History: Leandro was recognized for his versatility, speed and technical ability. He was an exceptional right-back both in defense and in support of the attack, contributing significantly to the success of Flamengo and the Brazilian national team during his career.

    Curiosity: Leandro was a key player in the legendary Flamengo team of the 1980s, known as the “Golden Generation”.

    List of the best Brazilian right-backs of all time

    • Cafu
    • Carlos Alberto Torres
    • Djalma Santos
    • Leandro

    Did you like this list? Then check out the texts below:



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