The 10 Brazilian soccer teams you should know about

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February 17th, 2022

Brazilian soccer will always be near the top of the list of the game’s most memorable and influential moments, but while their players may make it on the biggest global stage, the clubs are somewhat forgotten.

Players move on for more money and more fame in Europe and elsewhere, but in Brazil the heartbeat of the beautiful game continues to beat louder than ever.

Here are the 10 Brazilian soccer teams you need to know.

10. Santos FC

Nickname: The Fish
Founded: 1912
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Santos are one of the most famous clubs in the world because that is where Pele made more than 600 appearances.

The Brazilian legend helped Santos become one of Brazil’s most successful clubs, with 24 league titles. They’ve become a symbol of “Joga Bonito,” which means the "beautiful game," and live by the motto “Technique and Discipline.”

9. SC Internacional

Nickname: The Reds
Founded: 1909
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Inter had their greatest spell of dominance in the late 1970s, as they won three league titles, including the 1979 Serie A, in which they went undefeated — the only time a club in Brazil has achieved that feat.

In 2006, Inter won the Club World Cup, beating Barcelona in the final to be crowned the best team in the world. A decade later the club was relegated for the first time in their history but bounced back a year later, and continue to build towards the future.

8. Gremio

Nickname: Immortal Tricolour
Founded: 1903
League: Brasileiro Serie B

Inter’s most fierce rivals are Gremio, and together the pair play out the Grenal derby, one of the most heated derby games in Brazil.

The club was founded by an Englishman, Andy Fairbank, and a German, Paul Cochlin, but they quickly became one of Brazil’s most popular clubs.

Gremio have won the Serie A title twice but suffered relegation last year, as they have rapidly declined over the last decade.

7. Cruzeiro

Nickname: The Fox
Founded: 1921
League: Brasileiro Serie B

Cruzeiro remain just one of the two clubs to have completed the domestic treble in Brazil, winning the Brasileiro, the Mineiro and the Copa do Brasil in 2003.

They won the league again back to back in 2013 and 2014. However, the Foxes suffered the first relegation in their history as recently as 2019.

6. Atletico Mineiro

Nickname: The Rooster
Founded: 1908
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Atletico was originally founded by 22 upper-class students in the city of Belo Horizonte, but they opened their doors to players of every social class and quickly became known as “The People’s Club.”

They are two-time winners of the Brasileiro Serie A, most recently in 2021, when they completed the league and cup double.

5. CR Vasco da Gama

Nickname: Big Vasco
Founded: 1915
League: Brasileiro Serie B

Vasco are based in Rio de Janeiro and have a strong fanbase among the many Portuguese living in Brazil.

They are four-time Serie A champions, most recently in 2000, as they reveled in a golden generation.

That year, they won the Copa Mercosur in one of the greatest games in Brazilian history. They scored four goals in the last eight minutes to win 4-3 and completely turn around the game against Palmeiras.

In 2008, Vasco were relegated for the first time in their history and have been bouncing between the top league ever since.

4. Palmeiras

Nickname: The White and Green
Founded: 1914
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Palmeiras are Brazil’s most successful club in domestic competition, as they have won 10 Brasileiro Serie A titles and four more Brazilian Cups.

Their rivalry with Corinthians is one of Brazil’s most famous and known as the Derby Paulista. In 2015, the squad essentially reformed and signed 25 new players to coincide with a new stadium. Since then, they’ve won two Serie A titles and continued to be Brazil’s most successful club.

3. Sao Paulo

Nickname: Paulista Tricolor
Founded: 1930
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Sao Paulo are one of just three Brazilian teams that have never been relegated from Serie A, and in total have won six Brasileiro titles.

The early 1990s were the most successful for Sao Paulo, as they won numerous domestic trophies, including an unprecedented CONMEBOL treble.

Legends Rivaldo and Luis Fabiano both joined the club towards the end of their careers in 2011, but that hasn’t stopped the struggle, and the club have won just one trophy in the last eight years.

2. Corinthians

Nickname: The Great Team
Founded: 1910
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Corinthians have seven league titles and are one of Brazil’s most successful ever clubs. They rose to prominence on the global stage after winning the Club World Cup in 2000 and 2012.

They last won the league in 2017 and have since struggled in mid-table but remain one of Brazil’s most popular sides after winning four league titles in the last 17 years.

1. Flamengo

Nickname: The Scarlet and Black
Founded: 1895
League: Brasileiro Serie A

Flamengo is the most popular club in Brazil and have won a total of eight Serie A titles along with three Brazilian Cups and numerous other honors.

Zico, considered to be one of the world’s greatest playmakers of all time, played more than 200 times for the club and helped them to three league titles and an Intercontinental Cup win over Liverpool.

They have never been relegated from Serie A and remain one of the main contenders for the league title in the modern game.