By 90Min
July 22, 2019

Tele Santana is number 20 in 90min's Top 50 Great Managers of All Time series. Follow the rest of the series over the course of the next four weeks. You can find Tom Gott's Tele Santana career overview here


Across his lengthy managerial career, Tele Santana produced some of the most exciting moments in the history of football.

He created a superteam with Brazil in 1982, before doing something similar with Sao Paulo ten years later. Unsurprisingly, there are plenty of names who deserve a place in his all-time XI.

Image by Jack Gallagher

There isn't space for all of them though, so here's Santana's ultimate lineup.


Goalkeeper & Defenders

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Zetti (GK) - During Santana's unprecedented success with Sao Paulo, Zetti established himself as one of Europe's most reliable goalkeepers. The team were so focused on attack that they would often be vulnerable defensively, so Zetti was often called upon to save his teammates. Fortunately, he did just that, time and time again.

Cafu (RB) - Cafu was only just beginning his legendary career by the time Santana rocked up in Sao Paulo, but the two went on to perform miracles. Often fielded up in midfield, Cafu was a vital part of the team's glory years, and he went on to achieve even more success with Brazil and AC Milan later down the line.

Ronaldao (CB) - Another member of that historic Sao Paulo side, Ronaldao (then known simply as 'Ronaldo') was still fairly inexperienced during Santana's time at the club. This was not a problem for Ronaldao, who formed part of a powerful defensive line that helped the side story to victory against Johan Cruyff's Barcelona in 1993.

Luizinho (CB) - The first of many names from the 1982 Brazil side on this list, Luizinho had earned his way into Santana's side through his impressive performances at club level. He played in every game of that summer's World Cup and was deservedly named as the best defender of the tournament, even though Brazil didn't even make it to the knockout stages.

Junior (LB) - Junior was Santana's dream defender. He could play at left-back, on the wing or in central midfield, and he did so with the kind of technical ability which most can only dream of replicating. He was part of Santana's Brazil side in both 1982 and 1986, before hanging his boots up to pursue an incredibly successful career in beach football.


Midfielders

Bongarts/GettyImages

Toninho Cerezo (CM) - Santana's name is synonymous with defensive midfielder Toninho Cerezo. The pair worked together for Brazil in 1982 and 1986, and twice for Sao Paulo between 1992 and 1996. His defensive prowess gave Santana's sides a much-needed anchor, but Cerezo still did plenty of his best work with the ball at his feet as a deep-lying playmaker.

Falcao (CM) - Brazil's midfield in 1982 was nothing short of unbelievable, and Falcao was a core part of that. The Internacional and Roma icon had the physique to help defensively, but also the stunning flair to work going forward. There was nothing Falcao could not do, and there's a good reason he is seen as one of Brazil's finest ever.

Zico (AM) - Brazil have produced some stunning attacking players, yet Zico was head and shoulders above of almost every single one. He was one of the most technically gifted players the world has ever seen, and he could create and score goals at an elite rate. He was part of the legendary midfield of 1982, and also 1986 World Cup with Santana, despite being injured.

Socrates (AM) - He may have been another member of that illustrious midfield, but Socrates was involved everywhere for Santana. Initially fielded as a striker, 'The Doctor' would often drop deep into midfield, where he could use his imposing physicality to bully opponents with ease. He used his intelligence to his advantage and became a versatile weapon under Santana.

Rai (AM) - There are few players who directly benefited from Santana's wisdom quite like Rai. The younger brother of Socrates, Rai blossomed into an elite scorer following Santana's arrival at Sao Paulo, establishing himself as a vital part of the side's attacking brilliance. He scored crucial goals in Copa Libertadores and Intercontinental Cup finals, and it's safe to say that Sao Paulo would not have enjoyed as much success without him.


Forward

Russell Cheyne/GettyImages

Careca (ST) - Careca was forced to miss the 1982 World Cup through injury, but certainly made up for lost time in 1986. He managed five goals before Brazil were eliminated in the quarter-final, finishing second in the competition's Golden Boot award. With his terrifying combination of power, speed and precision, Careca was the complete striker for Santana. 


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