2010’s Brasileirão saw Fluminense crowned as champions for the first time in 26 years, and throughout the South American country there were players who stood up to enjoy stellar campaigns in the Copa do Brasil and the Copa Libertadores. Some have since left for Europe, even exiting Brazilian football before the season ended, but all will remember 2010 as a year when they were at the very top of their game.

We pick Brazilian football’s 2010 Team of the Year:


Fábio – 30 years old – Cruzeiro

Fábio squeaks in as goalkeeper in what was a battle for the Cruzeiro man due to Gremio’s Victor also producing a top notch campaign. However, Fábio has had a superb year between the sticks, as he has most years, but he has often been overshadowed by Victor – Brazil’s number 1. While champions Fluminense had the league’s best defence, with just 36 goals conceded, they could call upon strong defenders to protect their average keepers. Cruzeiro on the other hand, had average defenders, but in Fábio, an outstanding keeper, who helped them concede just 38 goals. Already calls are growing for Seleção coach Mano Menezes to reward Fábio with the cap he has been craving since Dunga was in charge.


Mariano – 24 years old – Fluminense

Having been sent packing from Atletico-MG in 2008, and having a terrible start to his time with Fluminense in 2009, Mariano rediscovered his touch in the final rounds of the 2009 Brasileirão. It has not deserted him this year and he has gone on to become one of Fluzão’s most important players, even getting the chance to wear the Seleção shirt.



Chicão – 29 years old – Corinthians

Another position with plenty of competition, but not because there were a raft of in-form right sided centre backs, but because so few in this role impressed this season. 2010 wasn’t even Chicão’s best year, but he has continued to be an important part of Corinthians’ side, and alongside William has helped form a strong defence which allowed the Timão to fight for the title.

Alex Silva – 25 years old – São Paulo

Back from Bundesliga side Hamburg on loan, Alex Silva was probably Sao Paulo’s best player this season. The defender certainly didn’t have the year he expected to, with his club side far from the race for silverware, but nevertheless turned in some superb performances. Classier than his older brother – Benfica’s Luisao – Alex Silva will quickly return to Europe and make his way into the Seleção.


Kléber – 29 years old – Internacional

Kléber may have been part of the team which caused Internacional supporters the greatest humiliation of their lives, but it is also the case that he was extremely important during the first half of the season, which ended with his side winning the Copa Libertadores. At that point, Kléber was probably the best left back in South America and one of the finest on the planet. Sadly, he was off song in the Club World Cup, along with the entire Inter side, as they lost to Africans TP Mazembe and finished third.

Defensive midfielders

Sandro – 21 years old – Internacional/Tottenham Hotspur

Sandro takes his place in 2010’s team of the year for much the same reason as Kléber. The midfielder was vitally important to Internacional during the first half of the year – so impressive in fact that he earned a move to English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur. Sandro was also one of Brazil’s seven backup players for the World Cup, and can now call himself a Seleção regular. With his power and ability to regain possession, Sandro deserves his spot.

Wesley – 23 years old – Santos/Werder Bremen

Alongside Arouca and Paulo Henrique Ganso, Wesley formed the best Brazilian midfield of the decade. A fundamental piece of the Santos puzzle, Wesley’s role was to help Ganso to create chance after chance, not forgetting to chip in with a few himself; it was not uncommon to see Wesley score. At the end of the year, the midfielder got his first chance to show his skills with the Seleção and is now troubling defences in the Bundesliga with Werder Bremen.



Attacking midfielders

Darío Conca – 27 years old – Fluminense

2010 was not the first season when the football world recognised Conca’s talents, but it was probably the first year when it was possible to hear some Brazilians asking for a foreigner to be considered for the Seleção; and considering the depth of the country’s talent, it was a strange sound, especially given that Conca is Argentine. The midfielder was, without doubt, 2010 Brasileirão’s best player, leading Fluminense to the title and keeping Deco out of the first team, appearing in all 38 league games. A talent like Conca deserves a spot in the any country’s national team.

Paulo Henrique Ganso – 21 years old – Santos

Unfortunately for Brasileirão fans, Ganso picked up an injury during the season, but his performances in the first half showed the kind of talent that Santos have on their hands. In the final match of the Campeonato Paulista, with Santos on their way to the title, due to having finished first in the first stage, the club’s coach Dorival Junior decided to substitute the 21-year-old. Ganso glanced at his number on the third official’s board, and then declared he would not leave the pitch. After that, watching Ganso was akin to watching an experienced professional who had already played in tens of finals. Ganso was, alongside Neymar, the club’s key player in their Copa do Brasil win, and Seleção coach Dunga came under huge pressure to take him to South Africa. Dunga didn’t listen, but nevertheless, before picking up an injury, Ganso was called up by new coach Mano Menezes to face the USA, and again showed his quality. The Spanish press nicknamed him "the Brazilian Guti". It was a nice gesture, to Guti.


Neymar – 18 years old – Santos

Neymar was crucial this season for helping to bring the ‘futebol arte’ back to stadiums across Brazil. The striker’s name cropped up again and again when fans of all clubs were asked to choose their team to represent Brazil at the World Cup, but sadly for them, Neymar didn’t travel to South Africa. Although the youngster showed amazing quality with the ball at his feet, he also demonstrated his immature and irresponsible nature at times, on one occasion causing Santos coach Dorival Junior to be sacked. The question being asked around Brazil is whether Neymar’s maturity will develop hand-in-hand with his skill. If that happens, Neymar – who scored on his debut for the Seleção against the USA – is on course to be one of the game’s greats. His 11 and 17 goals in the Copa do Brasil and Brasileirão, respectively, his dribbling, acceleration, quick feet and control of the ball, suggest he can do anything he sets his mind to.

Thiago Ribeiro – 24 years old – Cruzeiro

2010’s Brasileirão was the first season in which Thiago repeated the same level of play he had shown with Sao Paulo. Not satisfied with just fine performances, Thiago was the Copa Libertadores top marksman, scoring eight goals. The striker was certainly the most important attacking player for Cruzeiro during the league season, helping the Raposa  to fight for the title all year long.


Muricy Ramalho – 55 years old – Fluminense

His fourth Brasileirão title in five years (2006, 2007, 2008 and 2010) and also the fifth time he was named Brasileirão Coach of the Year in six years (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010). What more can be said about Muricy Ramalho? He refused to coach the Seleção after telling CBF boss Ricardo Teixeria that Fluminense would not release him and he could not quit, as he is a man of his word. Ramalho commanded Flu brilliantly, and led them to glory they had not known for 26 years. This year showed why Ramalho remains the best Brazilian coach in the game in the eyes of many.