Three Brazilians who flopped massively in the Premier League

The Premier League is the richest league in the world and with big transfer budgets come big-money signings. The best of the best are attracted but not every deal pans out as planned.

Some great players have passed through England’s top-tier and failed to spark. Sometimes that happens but the infuriating thing is when they go on to reach stardom elsewhere. That’s what leaves a bitter taste in fans’ mouths.

Here are 3 Brazilians who have struggled in the Premier League.


With 100 caps for the Seleção and 12 senior titles won, it is understandable to wonder what the 34-year-old attacker is doing on the list but the truth is that a lot was expected from Robinho and he largely failed to deliver. Widely considered Pele’s successor, he aided Santos in winning its first Campeonato Brasileiro since Pele himself won it in the 1970s.

He was courted by a number of top European clubs but eventually agreed to join Real Madrid in 2005. He spent three seasons at the Bernabeu and was instrumental in their league triumphs of 2007 and 2008 but after the club failed to offer him a new contract, Robinho exited.

He arrived at Manchester City as their first marquee signing for a then Premier League record of £32.5m on the same day that the club was taken over by the Abu Dhabi United group. Robinho failed to impress significantly and just a season later, he was sent on loan back to former club Santos as he had fallen down the pecking order at City.

Since then, Robinho became something of a journeyman, turning out for AC Milan, Santos, Guangzhou Evergrande, Atletico Mineiro and Sivasspor.

Brazil v Chile: 2010 FIFA World Cup - Round of Sixteen
Robinho struggled at Manchester City (Image credit: Getty)

Robinho never stayed in the Premier League long enough to earn legendary status and though he will retire with his career considered relatively successful by many, he failed to live up to the expectations in England.


Gilberto da Silva Melo will go down as one of the worst Tottenham Hotspur signings of all time. He joined the White Hart Lane side from Hertha Berlin for £1.9million in 2008. The Brazilian joined Jonathan Woodgate, Alan Hutton and Chris Gunter as manager Juande Ramos’ new recruits.

During the first nine games of the season, he was on the bench before taking to the pitch against West Ham and, somehow, scoring. It ended up being his only goal for the club and the first of only 10 games that he played in a Spurs shirt.

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Gilberto in action (Image credit: Getty)

After displaying one too many calamitous mistakes, Gilberto was moved on to Brasileirao side Cruzeiro in 2009.

Afonso Alves

45 goals in 38 games for Heerenveen — it’s not hard to see why Middlesbrough were attracted to Brazilian striker Afonso Alves in January 2008. So much so, the Teeside club broke their transfer record to sign the then-27-year-old for a fee believed to be in excess of £10million, as per BBC.

After sitting out for seven of his first 10 Premier League games with Boro, Alves bagged a brace against Manchester United, marking his fifth appearance for the club.

Afonso Alves Middlesbrough
Afonso Alves played for Middlesbrough (Image credit: Getty)

In the next five games, Alves notched a further four before the season came to a close with Middlesbrough in 13th place. The following campaign, the goals really dried up as Alves managed to put away just four efforts in 31 league games.

Middlesbrough were relegated at the end of the 2008/09 season and in September 2009, the striker was sold to Qatari side Al-Sadd.


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