Chelsea’s 16 Brazilian stars over the years ranked – as Andrey Santos nears move

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    Chelsea haven't always had the best of luck when shopping for Brazilians.

    They've seen high-profile moves for the likes of Kaka, Robinho and Raphinha collapse at the last minute, and lengthy pursuits of prodigiously-talented youngsters like Neymar and Endrick snuffed out by Spanish rivals.

    But truth be told, the Blues love a Brazilian. They've had at least one in their squad every year since 2007, and with highly-rated midfielder Andrey Santos arriving from Vasco da Gama, that run looks set to continue.

    Here, Daily Star Sport is taking a look back at each of the 16 Brazilian-born stars to have played for Chelsea down the years, and ranking them from best to worst.

    READ MORE: Reece James 'replacement lined up by Chelsea' after club confirm knee injury woe

    1. Thiago Silva

    Few could've predicted just how massive an impact Thiago Silva would have on Chelsea's team when he arrived in 2020 aged 35.

    Simply put: he's still one of the very best centre backs on the planet and has been arguably Chelsea's most consistent performer over the last two years. Neutrals tend to overlook him because of his age, but in truth the former PSG man hasn't looked a day over 30 since arriving in England.

    A Brazilian John Terry in more ways than one, Thiago Silva will deservedly go down as one of Chelsea's greatest ever defenders, despite his relatively short stint at Stamford Bridge.

    What changes would you make to our list? Let us know in the comments section below.

    2. Diego Costa

    He's the first of three players on this list who represented a different international side, but make no mistake, Diego Costa is as brilliantly Brazilian as it gets.

    The brutish centre forward, whose calculated aggression turned him into of European football's most despised stars, fired Chelsea to two Premier League titles in three seasons, scoring 20 league goals in both.

    He remains the Blues' sole striker success story in the last decade, and even though it all ended in tears after he fell out with Antonio Conte in 2017, Costa will always be a huge fan favourite in west London, as proven by the rousing he reception he received when he returned to Stamford Bridge with Wolves earlier this season.

    3. Jorginho

    His placement here might divide opinion but there's no question that, in the right system, Jorginho is a fantastically-effective midfielder.

    Despite making a slow start to life at Stamford Bridge, the Brazilian-born Italian international has grown into one of Chelsea's most important players and is barely ever left out of an important game, no matter who the manager is.

    He finished third in the 2021 Ballon d'Or, and although some might snigger at that in hindsight, others assert Chelsea wouldn't have won the Champions League without him, nor Italy the European Championship.

    4. David Luiz

    Another choice that might divide opinion, but David Luiz was a much better player than people give him credit for.

    The frizzy-haired centre back was a maverick both on and off the field, which didn't help his reputation in the 'no nonsense' cauldron of English football, but at his very best (which, admittedly, we didn't see as often as we should've done), Luiz was an top player with exceptional versatility and a technical range most midfielders would be jealous of.

    His performance in the 2012 Champions League final alone could've earned him a place in the top five here, but he was similarly immaculate in Chelsea's title-winning campaign in 2017 too. And, the odd mistake aside, everything in between wasn't half bad either.

    5. Willian

    Willian's Chelsea career was a bit of a mixed bag in that he was relentlessly consistent, but very rarely spectacular.

    Fans liked him, not least because of the way he famously rejected rivals Tottenham prior to his 2013 move, but he never felt like 'the man' at Stamford Bridge, in spite of all his obvious talent.

    But 63 goals in seven seasons is a pretty good return, especially when he consider how short on goals Chelsea's wingers have been since he left.

    6. Ramires

    Ramires was a bit of an enigma during his five-and-a-half year stint in west London. Built like a marathon runner, he didn't look like much but was deceptively powerful and had a burst of acceleration few players could match.

    He had almost none of the flair English fans have come to expect from Brazilian imports, but was capable of the odd moment of magic, most notably his iconic chip against Barcelona in the 2012 Champions League semi-final, and his mazy solo goal against Manchester City in 2011.

    7. Oscar

    Speaking of moments of magic, Oscar announced himself to English football by curling a gorgeous 25-yarder in against Juventus on his Champions League debut.

    The baby-faced Brazilian looked destined for greatness, and was a mainstay in Chelsea's side during their 2014/15 title-winning campaign, but after falling out of favour with Antonio Conte a couple of years later he skedaddled for China.

    8. Deco

    Deco's best years were behind him when he arrived at Chelsea in 2008, but that didn't stop him making a splash on his debut by scoring a 30-yard corker.

    The Brazilian-born Portugal international never really settled in England and failed to nail down a regular starting spot in a midfield that featured the likes of Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel.

    Chelsea fans were treated to flashes of brilliance, but they were few and far between, and the former Barcelona and Porto man left the club at the end of his second season.

    9. Juliano Belletti

    Just like Deco, Juliano Belletti never really managed to nail down a regular starting spot, but the defender's stint in England was a far happier one than his former Barcelona team-mate's.

    He became something a fan favourite after netting a couple of long-distance screamers, and proved a more than effective stand-in at right-back whenever Branislav Ivanovic and Jose Bosingwa were unavailable.

    10. Alex

    Alex will be best remembered for his thunderbolt of a free-kick, and netting vital goals against both Arsenal and Liverpool, but there was always a sense that he wasn't quite good enough to be Chelsea's starting centre back.

    He deputised for John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho for a couple of seasons, and when the latter left in 2010, he only lasted four months in the first team before the Blues went out and bought a replacement – David Luiz.

    11. Filipe Luis

    Filipe Luis' sole season at Stamford Bridge was a desperately unlucky one. He was brought in as Ashley Cole's long-term replacement at left-back, and would've been exactly that had Cesar Azpilicueta not nicked his throne just before he arrived.

    Through no fault of his own, the Brazilian couldn't get in the team, and despite playing well every time he got a run out, he couldn't knock Azpilicueta off his perch. He returned to Atletico Madrid at the end of the season after winning the league and that was that.

    12. Kenedy

    Kenedy looked a heck of capture when he arrived from Fluminense in 2015 but Chelsea's managerial merry-go-round saw him fade into insignificance pretty quickly.

    The winger was loaned out to Watford, and then to Newcastle, and despite getting the odd run out under both Antonio Conte and Thomas Tuchel as a wing-back, it soon became clear he wasn't going to make the grade and he was sold to Real Valladolid in the summer.

    13. Emerson Thome

    Emerson Thome was Chelsea's first Brazilian signing, but arguably one of their most forgettable too.

    The central defender joined the club in 1999 from Sheffield Wednesday and was understudy to both Marcel Desailly and Frank Leboeuf at the back, but after failing to push either of them for a starting spot, he left for Sunderland at the end of the season, with Chelsea making a tidy £1.3m profit.

    14. Alexandre Pato

    Given that he scored a goal in every other game he played for Chelsea it feels a little harsh putting Alexandre Pato this low down. But then again, he only played for the club twice.

    The previously prodigious striker joined the club on loan following a series of career-threatening injuries, and as such the bloom was very off the rose by then. He waited two-and-a-half months to make his debut, and despite scoring a penalty, barely got a look in after that, and disappeared back to Brazil.

    15. Lucas Piazon

    Chelsea fought off interest from some of the world's biggest clubs to land Lucas Piazon in 2011, though they really didn't have bothered.

    The midfielder made a handful of forgettable appearances in his debut season before getting lost in the shuffle of Chelsea's labyrinthine loan system.

    16. Mineiro

    Where do we start with Mineiro? The midfielder was signed as an emergency back-up when Chelsea's squad were hit by a series of injuries in 2008, but barely even got a look in.

    He played twice, looked well short of match sharpness, and disappeared at the end of the season. Two years later he was playing in Germany's fourth tier – that's how bad he was.

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