They carry heavy names those Brazilian players and to just skip the problem every footballer is given an artist name, it’s just brilliant, and in this story we are consentrating on those with four letter names, such great legends.
So let’s start with the three that all played a major part in the 1958 and 1962 World Cup finals. Didi, Vava and Pelè, they were just sensational and brilliant. The attacking forward line with Vava and Pelè, and of course with the brilliance of Didi.
Didi had a fantastic career as a player lasting from almost 20 years, being first noticed in the year of 1947 starting up with Madureira, he later made moves to several of the notable Brazilian teams, including spells at Fluminense and Botafago, he also had his time with Real Madrid winning the European Cup in 1960.
Vava also had long career lasting from 1949 to 1969, playing most of his time with Vasco Da Gama, but also a period with Atletico Madrid in Spain and San Diego Toros in the NASL. He was a massive player. the first to score in two World Cup finals, with two in 1958 and one four years later. He scored 15 goals in only 22 internationals.
The name Pelè is well known and his life in World football well documented, but still one of those magic players with a four letter artist name. He made his breakthrough as a teenager in the 1958 World Cup and had probably his peak as a player in the 1970 World Cup which must be said to probably be the most epic of them all, with a almost complete Brazilian team winning the tournament.
Santos players Zito and Pepè must not be forgotten, two brilliant players that might have come a bit in the shadow of their mighty teammate Pelè. Pepè played 750 league games for his club and had a fantastic career with Santos, Zito just a few games below with 727 in total. Both members of the 1958 and 1962 Brazil squads.
Another legend of Santos was Lima appearing 696 times for his club, but at international level he stopped on only four and was part of the World Cup squad for England in 1966. Leao a prolific goalkeeper over a decade with the Brazilian team, being in the squad for 1970, 1974, 1978 and 1986. He was the first goalkeeper in history to be captain of Brazil, he had the job in the 1978 World Cup.
Another player that was expected fantastic performances from was Zico, who were talked highly about, but in a way never managed to live up to his “image”. Few might have hoped for more than the “bronze” in 1978, and especially in 1982 everyone believed Brazil would go all the way with Zico as the affiche star. Zico also appeared in the 1986 World Cup.
The 1982 tournament in Spain became a sad affair in the end after some fantastic games during the group stages with another four letter artist to shine. The name Eder will for always be cemented in World Cup history, his goals and shots from distance was just phenomenal to watch.
Going forward and loooking at the Brazil squad for the 1990 World Cup, Tita was a name in the squad, played 32 times for his country. The midfielder might not have seen the headlines at international level but has carved out a good career as a coach and has been in charge of several Brazlian and Mexican teams. During his playing career he had spells with European clubs Bayer Leverkusen and Pescara.
Cafu is another player in the family of “the four letters” and he first apperead in the World Cup in 1994 and what a great way to make his debut at this stage. He made the right back position his own over the next decades and kept it going until 2008 when he at the age of 38 bowed out, with a career of greatness to look back on. Winner of the 1994 and 2002 World Cup, a captain in the latter tournament.
A new fantastic goalkeeper, with a four letter artist name, came into the squad in 1998, and then with Cruzeiro, Dida went from strength to strength. He later signed for AC Milan, a club he served for ten seasons from 2000 to 2010. He had a long international career as well playing for Brazil from 1995 to 2006, adding up 91 caps. He retired at the age of 42 just five years ago.
Kakà comes next and his presence in the 2002 World Cup was not that influential but he was crowned World Cup champion. Kakà also appearead in the 2006 and 2010 World Cup and in total appeared 92 times for Brazil. Kakà, Cafu and Dida were all three playing for AC Milan at the same time and all were part of the set up when defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the 2007 Champions League final. Kakà and Dida played the final, Cafu was an unused sub.
Dida, Cafu and Kakà were accomponied by Fred, Cris and Juan for the 2006 World Cup finals with those “four letters” adding to six. Fred, Cris and Juan were all splended footballers but not rated at the level of those three others. Juan might have been a big fogotten but did add up 79 caps for Brazil.
Doni is a third goalkeeper to mention, being part of the 2010 Brazil squad for South Africa. We might remember Doni playing for Roma but also had a life at Liverpool during his career. With top competition during his time, he only won 10 caps, in a career lasting 12 years in the professional game.
The Brazil squads for the 2014 and 2018 World Cup also had their “four letters” with Hulk and Fred being the two waving the flag. Fred was a cult hero and played a major part in his days up front at Lyon, and is still in the game at the age of 36 recently moved to back to Fluminense from a short period with Cruzeiro. Hulk is probably best known for his time with Zenit and Porto, now playing in China and earlier also been in Japan.
When one Fred departed another Fred arrived, carrying the tradition on and the only player in the 2018 World Cup from Brazil to have a name in this category. Fred represented Shakhtar Donetsk at the time but has since moved to Manchester United.
With Fred a bit on the fringe at the moment, the goalkeeper Ivan from Ponte Preta was the only “four letter” in the recent squad, but still not made his full debut. Would be a pity if the tradition that has lived so long would stop, but hopefully a number of new and excitng “four letter” artist will appear also in the future.