We’ve now got just five days to go until host nation and five-times winners Brazil kick off the 2014 World Cup against Croatia in Sao Paulo.
To celebrate, we’ve taken a look at Brazil’s top five greatest World Cup Stars of all-time.
Do you agree with our list?
5. Romario – 1990 and 1994
The influence of Romario had been eagerly anticipated at the 1990 World Cup, but injury restricted him to just 66 minutes on the pitch and played a large part in the Brazilians enduring a disappointing tournament.
The forward was to bounce back in spectacular style at USA 94 though, as his five goals inspired Brazil to their fourth World Cup crown and ensured that he picked up the Golden Ball award for the best player at the tournament.
4. Garrincha – 1958, 1962 and 1966
Winger Garrincha was omitted from Brazil’s lineup for the opening two matches of the 1958 World Cup after showing ‘a lack of respect’ to Fiorentina players in a pre-tournament friendly, when he reportedly dribbled past four of them and the goalkeeper, then, instead of tapping into an open goal, waited to beat another man before scoring.
He earned his place back in the team and impressed along with the 17-year-old Pele as the Brazilians swept to glory, before doing so again as Garrincha starred in the 1962 tournament in Chile, where he was joint-top scorer.
Garrincha played two of Brazil’s three group matches in England in 1966, retiring after a defeat to Hungary at Goodison Park.
3. Jairzinho – 1966, 1970 and 1974
Jairzinho was another who played in Brazil’s disappointing 1966 World Cup, but when Garrincha retired he moved over to his favoured position on the right wing and exploded into life in Mexico in 1970.
The winger made history by scoring in every one of Brazil’s matches in the tournament, including the unforgettable 4-1 final victory over Italy, to earn the wonderful nickname "Furacão da Copa" – The World Cup Hurricane.
He also played at the 1974 tournament in West Germany, scoring two goals, but his name will forever be etched in World Cup folklore because of what he achieved four years previously.
2. Ronaldo – 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2006
Ronaldo possesses a winners’ medal from the 1994 World Cup, but the then 17-year-old didn’t make it onto the pitch at the finals in the USA. Four years later, this incredibly gifted Brazilian forward announced himself to the world.
He scored four goals as Brazil reached the final against France in Paris, where a bizarre episode led to him initially being left out of the team and then turning in a below-par display as Brazil lost 3-0.
In 2002, with many feeling that Ronaldo was already washed up following a series of injuries, he scored eight times – including twice in the final against Germany – to seal the Golden Boot and establish himself as a true world great, whilst four years later he grabbed his 15th and final World Cup finals goal, breaking Gerd Muller’s record in the process.
1. Pele – 1958, 1962, 1966 and 1970
But there can only be one No. 1.
Before he was guiding Daniel Sturridge on his choice of toasted sandwich, Pele was setting the world alight with his dazzling skills as a 17-year-old at the 1958 World Cup in Sweden, where he scored six goals – one in the quarter-final against Wales, three in the semi-final and two in the final – as the Seleccao won the tournament.
Four years later, with Pele now regarded as the best player in the world, he was injured in the second match of the tournament against Czechoslovakia and had to watch on as his teammates won the trophy. Injury would play a part again in England in 1966, as Pele suffered against Bulgaria and Portugal on the way to Brazil’s exit.
He was back to full health for 1970 though, and scored four goals as perhaps the greatest Brazilian side of all-time earned glory in Mexico, where Pele scored in his final ever World Cup match against Italy in the final.
Can Brazil pick up their sixth crown on home soil? They are our 4.00 favourites!