- Paris Saint-Germain announced the signing of Neymar on Thursday
- PSG now have five Brazil internationals in their ranks
- The club has long been a destination for the country’s big-name players
Paris Saint-Germain’s Brazilian contingent now has a new member, with Neymar joining Lucas, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Dani Alves and taking to five the number of Auriverde internationals at the disposal of coach Unai Emery.
The love affair between Brazil and the club from the French capital goes back several years, with many a Seleçao mainstay having worn the PSG jersey in the past.
Joel Camargo: the pioneer
Played for PSG from 1971 to 1972
27 caps for Brazil
A Santos legend and a world champion in 1970, Camargo was Paris Saint-Germain’s first major international signing. Unfortunately for the defender, he suffered a serious car accident just a few months after A Seleçao claimed the world title and made just two appearances in his solitary season with the club. After returning to Brazil, Camargo slowly dropped out of the limelight, though Santos paid a stirring tribute to him on 11 November 2006. He died in May 2014, just a few weeks before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™.
Valdo: the creator
Played for PSG from 1991 to 1995
45 caps, 4 goals
The early 1990s proved to be a new era for PSG, who made their ambitions clear by signing Valdo from Benfica, where he had enjoyed three fine seasons. A gifted playmaker who represented his country at two FIFA World Cups (Mexico 1986 and Italy 1990), Valdo lit up PSG for four seasons before returning to the Portuguese giants.
Ricardo: the rock
Played for PSG from 1991 to 1995
48 caps, 4 goals
Joining PSG from Benfica at the same time as Valdo, Ricardo also spent four highly productive seasons in Paris before moving back with his compatriot to the club from the Portuguese capital. The defender, who captained Brazil at Italy 1990, returned to the Parisians to begin a successful coaching career in 1996, this after retiring as a player due to repeated injury problems.
Rai: the captain
Played for PSG from 1993 to 1998
97 caps, 37 goals
Rai was already a star by the time he arrived in Paris in 1993. A captain for his country and a playmaker in Tele Santana’s great Sao Paulo side, he nevertheless enjoyed a testing first season in the French capital, while also relinquishing his national team skipper’s armband and place in the starting line-up as Brazil conquered the world at USA 1994. He made up for those setbacks the following season, delighting the PSG fans by showcasing his class and intelligence.
Leonardo: the grafter
Played for PSG from 1996 to 1997
55 caps, 7 goals
Leonardo arrived in Paris the day after the club’s UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup triumph, having been signed to replace the Inter Milan-bound Youri Djorkaeff. Aside from the opportunity to join his friend Rai, the 1994 World Cup winner was also keen to get acquainted with France in the lead-up to the next world finals. The left-sided player settled in immediately, striking up a productive partnership with his compatriot. The experience proved to be a short one, however, with Leonardo moving to AC Milan after just one season. He returned to Paris in 2011, this time as a director of football, helping to take the club to a new level by signing global stars of the calibre of Thiago Silva, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham.
Ronaldinho: the rising star
Played for PSG from 2001 to 2003
97 caps, 33 goals
The Parisians scored a major coup in luring the Gremio star in 2001, who had already begun to excel for the national team and attract the interest of Europe’s biggest clubs. Though somewhat inconsistent, he made a significant mark at the club with his devilish dribbling, ingenuity and jaw-dropping flair, with arch-rivals Marseille proving his favourite victims. A year after helping Brazil lift another world title in 2002, Ronaldinho signed for Barcelona, where, in moving in the opposite direction to Neymar 14 years later, he would give free rein to his considerable talent.