By 90Min
January 27, 2018

Over the last decade, La Liga has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. 

The Portuguese and Argentine forwards have shared the last 10 Ballon d'Or awards evenly between them, with Ronaldo's first award being the last time someone playing outside of Spain has been crowned as the world's best player.

However, before Ronaldo and Messi began their long-running dominance of Spanish football, La Liga was littered with world-class Brazilian imports. Their technical ability left fans speechless during European games, with the elusiveness of regular footage from domestic competitions giving the South American stars a certain aura of mystery.

Following Ronaldinho's official retirement from professional football in mid-January, there was a desire to find out just who was the greatest Brazilian to ever grace La Liga.

That question was quickly put to 90min readers and after almost 70,000 votes were counted, it was the former Barcelona star who was overwhelmingly voted as the best Brazilian player to ever play in La Liga.

Image by Ben Carter

Despite only receiving 2% of the vote, the poll's 'other' section would have included the likes of Roberto Carlos, Kaká and Cafu, all of whom rightly deserve their place in La Liga history.

Occupying the fifth place spot on this list is former Barcelona and Valencia centre-forward, Romario. After scoring 98 goals in 106 appearances with PSV Eindhoven in Holland, the Rio-born striker moved to Catalonia for €12m in 1993.

Romario scored an outstanding 55 goals in 70 appearances at international level with the Canarinha. However, his record with the Blaugrana was easily eclipsed by a Champions League winning midfielder.

Ruediger Fessel/GettyImages

With 4% of the overall vote, Rivaldo just misses out on a place in the top three Brazilian imports ever to have played in La Liga.

However, with a return of 107 goals in 198 games in Spain's top flight, the former Barcelona star, who spent one season with Deportivo La Coruña before moving the Camp Nou in 1997, will rightly be remembered for years to come.

If medals were going to be awarded to the top three Brazilians in this list (which, just to clarify, they're not) then Paris Saint-Germain's poster boy, Neymar, would be given the bronze.

David Ramos/GettyImages

Despite making a high profile move away from Catalonia at the start of the season for €222m, the 25-year-old is still remembered fondly and many fans are expecting that Neymar will be the player that will end Ronaldo and Messi's dominion of the Ballon d'Or.

With Real Madrid's Portuguese winger the first 'Ronaldo' that comes to mind these days, you could be forgiven for thinking that Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima's impact on European football has been forgotten.

However, the former Los Blancos and Blaugrana striker received 21% of the vote and is still rightly considered as one of the best players - let alone Brazilian players - to ever play in La Liga.


However, the clear winner in the eyes of 90min readers is the recently retired Ronaldinho, receiving almost 40,000 votes (59%).

Despite spending just five years in Spain, either side of spells in Paris and Milan, Ronaldinho became an idol for countless fans across the world for his performances with Barcelona.

In a similar way to how Johan Cruyff's influence in Catalonia during the late 1980's has helped shape how football is played at the Camp Nou still to this day, Ronaldinho helped define how a generation of people across the world view European and Brazilian football.

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