Top Best 10 Santos FC Players Of All Time

Santos FC is always associated with the biggest football legend of all time Pele. It is one of the biggest and most successful football clubs in Brazil that is also known worldwide for its players turned stars. Santos have a record of winning 8 national championship titles, 22 Campeonato Paulista, Copa Paulista de Futebol, 1 Copa do Brasil, 8 Brasileiro, 3 Libertadores, 1 Recopa Sul Americana and 2 Intercontinental Cups. Fans all over the world root for this team and there’s always a dynamic power within the audience whenever the team comes to the field to play. Such is the craze for the team worldwide. 

Santos is also known for creating gems in the football World and hence there’s evergreen respect for the team despite the ups and downs it faces from time to time. Here we’ll have a look at such top 10 players who played for Santos FC and went on to make it big.


Best 10 Santos Football Players:

10: Gilmar dos Santos Neves 

Being the greatest goalkeeper of his time, Gilmar started his career for the Santos club in 1961 joining Pele. With Gilmar between the posts, Santos conquered almost every championship they competed in: they won five São Paulo State Championships in 1962, 1964, 1965, 1967, 1968, five National Championships in 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, two Libertadores Cups in 1962 and 1963 and two Intercontinental Cups. “Even though I was a champion many times over with Corinthians, I had my biggest successes at Santos. We were a family with no egos in the way.” The composed goalkeeper once told FIFA.

The people who understand the gameplay of Santos understand that the contributions of Gilmar were of paramount importance for Santos in reaching the glory it did during the ‘’Golden Era’.

9: Diego Ribas

Diego Ribas made his first senior appearance for Santos in the state championship at the age of 16 years. He was a classic attacking midfielder with incredible dribbling skills and forcing Brazil to pay attention to his talent. He, Robinho, Elano and Alex soon formed a formidable group that helped Santos to the 2002 Brazilian Championship, their first league title since 1968. Pele had commented on him by saying that he got what he needed to be better than Pele. In 2009, he moved to Juventus, but could not find his form. In 2012, he was a part of Atletico Madrid that won the 2012 Europa League. 

At the international level, he earned 33 caps between 2004 and 2011. Although he got his many ups and downs and may have not reached the highest potential many fans still stick to considering him one of the greatest who played many memorable games against opponents leaving the world in awe.

8: Neymar

Neymar has been ruling the hearts of the current football generation like a king. He is one of the most well-known football personalities in the world with millions of fans rooting for him. His professional career began in Santos FC in 2009 and by 2010 he became the star player of the club. During his five year Santos career, Neymar made 134 appearances in which he scored 70 goals and made 35 assists. Under his leadership, the team won a Copa Libertadores title, an achievement it had not achieved in 48 years. Later he moved to FC Barcelona and in 2017 PSG paid for his release making him the most expensive player. 

The player is the latest inspiration for hundred of thousand of players from Brazil who want to make it to the pro level. If Neymar maintained his level he might have had a Ballon D’or by now but sadly injuries ruined his great career.

7: Giovanni Silva

Giovanni is considered one of the best club legends of all time by hundreds of club supporters. Pele took notice of this extremely efficient attacker and signed him for Santos. He tasted success in the club leading to the declaration of him being the best player in Brazil in 1995. Later year FC Barcelona signed him up and there at his prime he worked his wizardry in the field by winning two leagues, two Copas del Rey, one Spanish Super Cup, one Cup Winners Cup and one European Super Cup. He made 138 appearances and scored 40 goals for Barcelona.

6: Robinho

This ex-Real Madrid and Man City star were first personally picked up by the legend himself, Pele, as his successor at the age of only 15, in 1999 to play for Santos. Later, he led Santos FC to a Brazilian Championship for the first time after the year 1965 where Pele was playing during that year and into his 2nd year, he scored 32 goals in 35 appearances and led the club to another championship. He became a sensation capturing the attention of many international clubs and eventually, Real Madrid signed him for a 4 years contract.

Even though the star’s career saw a downfall after the high success he had contributed largely to Santos and its club in making it bigger.

5: Carlos Alberto

Carlos Alberto was one of the greatest fullbacks that ever played the game. He was only 22 when he moved to Santos, but he made history by becoming the most expensive footballer in Brazilian history and accompanying other greats in the team along with Pele. His stance, remembered by fans, was always composed and he seemed a man wiser than his age. The current young fullbacks can learn a thing or two if they analyze the style of this Carlos Alberto. All these qualities contributed to making him the captain in place of the outgoing retiring legend Zito in 1967. As captain, he led Santos to many successes winning the Recopa Sul-Americana in 1968, and the Paulista Championships in 1967, 1968, 1969 and 1973.

In 1970, his goal in the World Cup Final was considered one of the greatest goals in the history of the tournament.

4: Pepe

I’m the greatest human striker in the history of Santos – because Pelé is from Saturn“. This cool statement is from the man himself. One of the greatest left-wingers for Santos FC Pepe is known among fans by the name of Vila Cannon because of his left leg full power kicks and the fact that Santos plays in the Estádio Urbano Caldera, nicknamed Vila Belmiro. Pepe spent his entire club playing career with Santos, scoring 405 goals in 750 league appearances for the club and later he started his managerial career in 1973, coaching his favourite club Santos FC.

3: Dorval Rodrigues

The famous trio during the “Pele era” Pele himself along with Coutinho and the best right-winger of the club’s history Dorval Rodrigues. He played 612 games for the Santos club with 194 goals for the club and is the sixth all-time highest scorer of the club. After his demise President Andres Rueda paid tribute to the club’s eternal idol by stating, “Dorval is one of the unforgettable players who helped build this beautiful story for Santos. He deserves all the obeisances for his trajectory. Santos lost one of their biggest idols today”, he stated.

2: Coutinho

Coutinho played for Santos from 1958 to 1968 and in 1970, periods during which Santos won five Brazil Cups and seven Campeonato Paulista titles, two Copa Libertadores, and two Intercontinental Cups. Coutinho has been named the greatest Santos’ player after Pelé, with whom he formed a high powered attacking duo with 1461 goals scored out of which 370 were by Coutinho which made him the third-highest scorer in the club’s history. The best partner to “the King” and the genius of the small area as he could dodge opponents even within a small space. He was capped 15 times and is known as one of the greatest strikers in the history of Santos.

1: Pele

Anyone familiar with football is familiar with the name Pele and Santos FC had this greatest footballer of all time in their team who played almost his entire career for the club. He has attributed a total of 643 official goals for Santos itself. He was a stalwart for his home club winning 21 trophies and making the team more perfect with his presence. His career in Santos was filled with iconic moments like scoring his 1000th goal in the match against Vasco da Gama to lead Santos to their first Copa Libertadores title. Later he unretired to join New York Cosmos in 1976. But Santos has always been in support of the legend’s actions and decisions throughout his career and considers him the biggest asset the club had.

The world got its best gift from Santos FC.


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