Firmino, Willian, Coutinho: Who is the best Brazilian player in Premier League history?

Liverpool star Roberto Firmino

Arsenal veteran Willian recently surpassed Lucas Leiva to become the Brazilian with the highest number of appearances in Premier League history. 

The 32-year-old made his 248th appearance in England's top-flight during Arsenal's 3-0 win over Newcastle United earlier this month.

During that time Willian has racked up 21,688 minutes of playing time, scoring 37 goals and providing 42 assists in the process. 

The record-breaking appearance has prompted some debate amongst the team here at GIVEMESPORT.

Indeed, Willian's achievement got us wondering where exactly he ranks amongst the 87 Brazilian players who have made at least one Premier League appearance.

And, perhaps more pertinently, who is the greatest player from the most esteemed footballing nation on the planet to have turned out in a Premier League jersey? 

With that question in mind, we've created a ranking featuring the 19 best Brazilians of the Premier League era and listed them in descending order. 

Take a look at who makes the cut below...

19. Thiago Silva

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Chelsea's summer signing hasn't quite had enough time to establish himself in English football but he's a first-class talent nonetheless and sneaks into 19th place.

18. Lucas Moura

Lucas Moura may not be a guaranteed starter under Jose Mourinho but the exhilarating hat-trick he scored to book Spurs a place in the 2019 Champions League final gives him the nod here. 

17. Rafael

The greatest managers in football are often those who can help individual players to flatter to deceive, and that's exactly what Sir Alex Ferguson did with Rafael.

While far from the most gifted right-back Man United had ever seen, Rafael was in and out of the team for seven seasons and was a regular during Ferguson's final ever season at Old Trafford, helping the club to lift the title with three goals and four assists from 28 appearances.

16. Edu

Edu scored seven goals in 79 Premier League outings to help Arsenal claim two titles and three FA Cups during a three-and-a-half-year stint in north London.

15. Elano

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A special player graced the then City of Manchester Stadium turf during the twilight period between Man City's transition from mediocre strugglers to global Goliath.

Elano scored 14 goals, many of which were sublime thunderbolts from outside of the area, and provided 11 assists during a sparkling yet fleeting spell with Man City between 2007 and 2009.

14. Lucas Leiva

Lucas Leiva's 247 league appearances for Liverpool underline his loyalty to the club, but he wasn't quite talented enough to earn a place in the top ten. 

The reliable metronome was a solid deep-lying midfielder in English football and remains a first-team regular at Lazio at 34 years of age.

13. Ederson

It's unlikely that we'll ever witness a goalkeeper with such laser-precise distribution ever again. 

Ederson is arguably the first player in history who could conceivably be considered a deep-lying playmaker while donning goalkeeper gloves, and the impact he's had at Man City cannot be underestimated. 

12. Juninho

Juninho racked up 125 appearances for Middlesbrough during three separate spells in the North East, bringing a touch of playmaking panache that is seldom seen at the Riverside Stadium. 

11. Ramires

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Ramires is the Brazilian with the eighth-highest number of appearances in the history of the division.

The combative, all-action midfielder made 159 appearances for Chelsea in a five-and-a-year long spell in which he won the Premier League and the Champions League before heading to China.

10. Oscar

Like Ramires, Oscar also moved to China following a captivating stint at Stamford Bridge. 

The diminutive playmaker perhaps wasn't quite worth the £54m Chelsea managed to command for his signature, but a return of 21 goals and 24 assists in 131 league outings certainly isn't to be sniffed at. 

9. Gabriel Jesus

As things stand Gabriel Jesus is the second-highest Brazilian goal scorer in Premier League history.

If the 23-year-old remains at Man City there's no doubt he could overtake Roberto Firmino at the summit.

8. David Luiz

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David Luiz, the epitome of a loose cannon, could quite easily rank at the top of this list one day and be omitted from it entirely the next, so a place in mid-table seems rather apt for the Arsenal veteran.

7. Fabinho

Liverpool's signing of Fabinho has proven to be a masterstroke. 

The holding midfielder is a defensive titan and a cunning technician who has showcased an extra facet to his game this season while plugging a gap in Liverpool's injury-stricken defence.  

6. Alisson

Arguably the greatest goalkeeper in world football in recent seasons, Alisson has everything you could ask for from your last line of defence. 

Brazil's number one is a world-class shot-stopper and oozes composure with his distribution. He's the full package and Liverpool owe a slice of their success to the consistency of his performances.

5. Philippe Coutinho

Though his career at Anfield ended somewhat acrinomoiusly, there is no doubt that Philippe Coutinho is one of the all-time Premier League greats to descend from Brazil. 

A return of 41 goals and 37 assists in 152 games speaks for itself. 

4. Willian

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The league's new record holder enjoyed a sparkling career with Chelsea before his move to the Emirates Stadium in 2020.

Arsenal are yet to see the best of him but he has proven to be a near-unplayable talent at his scintillating best.

Willian twice won Chelsea's Player of the Year award during seven-year spell and also won as many Premier League titles. 

3.Gilberto Silva

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One of Arsenal's most iconic stalwarts will remain etched into the fabric of the club due to his role in the 2003/04 invincibles season.

Gilberto Silva was a regular at the base of the midfield and possessed the athleticism to balance his defensive responsibilities with a desire to break forward, scoring four goals and providing three assists in 32 appearances during that particular campaign.

All in, Silva won one league title and two FA Cups with Arsenal and also played every single minute of Brazil's triumph at the 2002 World Cup. 

Comfortably one of the greatest midfield pivots of his generation.

2. Roberto Firmino

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Perched in second place on the podium with those blinding-white teeth on display is Roberto Firmino. 

Though his recent form is a notable concern for Liverpool, Firmino's niche role at the spearhead of the front-three has facilitated Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane's breath-taking form and helped the Reds to clinch the Champions League and the Premier League in the past two seasons. 

His return of 62 goals and 43 assists in 193 games roughly gives him an average of a goal contribution every other game, but it's the core aspects of his skillset that are difficult to illuminate with raw data - chiefly intrinsic link-up play and selfless movement - that have made him such an impressive talent.

It was a tight call for top spot, but Firmino just missed out to his North West rival...

1. Fernandinho

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The greatest Brazilian footballer to grace the Premier League has had a transformative effect since joining Man City from Shakhtar Donetsk in 2013. 

At the base of midfield the 35-year-old has used his telepathic reading of the game, incisive range of passing and athleticism to lead by example. 

An authoritative presence who's grown in stature with every passing year, Fernandinho will go down as one of the driving pioneers of City's revolution. 

With three titles, five League Cups and one FA Cup to his name, he's deservedly been handsomely rewarded for his efforts with a plethora of medals. 

A genuine club legend no doubt.

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