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Soccer in Brazil – statistics & facts

Jogo bonito is a nickname believed to be given to soccer by the most successful Brazilian player, Pelé, back in the 50s. Directly translated as ‘beautiful game’, the name reflects Brazil's beloved sentiments for the sport. Soccer –also known as football– is the most followed sport in this South American country and a source of national pride. In the history of the most important soccer tournament, the FIFA World Cup Championship, Brazil is yet to be beaten based on the number of titles won: five in total. The national team –commonly referred to as La Seleção– first emerged on the global stage as an unrivaled powerhouse during Pelé’s times. It has since become renowned for decades of top games and star players like Garrincha, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Sócrates, Careca, and Zico, among many others. In more recent years, however, La Seleção had some struggles, dwindling to its lowest during FIFA World Cup in 2014, in which, playing as a host, the team experienced its worst-ever loss.

A broad soccer landscape – beyond the field

Since its introduction by the Scottish in the late 19th century and its global premiere at the inaugural FIFA World Cup in 1930, soccer for Brazilians has been more than just a sport. For some, its global notoriety represents economic opportunities. Between 2017 and 2021, more than thousand Brazilian footballers played professionally abroad each year. Additionally, the sport provides a sense of community for others. According to a 2020 survey, four out of ten Brazilian teens and adults followed soccer to socialize with friends, while six out of ten children do so for a similar reason. Like the country's diverse culture and geography, Brazilian soccer depicts a multifaceted picture.

Brasileirão: Brazil’s most important soccer tournament

The Campeonato Brasileiro – Série A, commonly known as Brasileirão, is a successor of Taça Brasil, the first nationwide tournament played in the country; and the Torneio Roberto Gomes Pedrosa/Taça de Prata, played between 1967 and 1970. Nowadays, Brasileirão is the most important national soccer championship of the country’s first league, though not the only one. The other tournaments in which clubs of the highest men’s professional league compete are the Copa do Brasil and the Super Copa do Brasil, which has only been played four times as of 2021. In the entire Brasileirão’s history, the soccer club SE Palmeiras has won the most titles, accumulating 10 in total.

No corner left untouched by the coronavirus

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, soccer did not escape its harsh economic and health effects. During the first wave of the pandemic, the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) postponed both the Copa Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana to prevent the contagion across the region. Similarly, the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) canceled all professional soccer events at the beginning of the pandemic and only resumed them in the second half of 2020 without fans’ presence. As a result, the CBF’s income went down by approximately 75 percent in 2020 after outstanding results in the previous year.

Interesting statistics

In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 37 most important statistics relating to "Soccer in Brazil".


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