The first Brazilian players to join Barça came mostly from the same team

The signing of Douglas, from Sao Paulo, means that he joins other players from the same club who played for Barça. The first Brazilian players to join Barça came mostly from the same team: Vasco da Gama from Rio de Janeiro. However, later on players began arriving from other prominent Brazilian club.

The first Sao Paulo player to come to Barça was Wálter Machado Da Silva, the Brazilian number 9 in the 1966 World Cup. Da Silva played for Flamengo at that time, and before that Corinthians, but had made his league debut in 1956 for Sao Paulo, where he played two seasons before being transferred. He made his debut for Barça on February 28 1967, at the Camp Nou, against Feyenoord, in a friendly. From 1962, Spain was banned from importing foreign players, hence Da Silva only played in exhibition matches, a total of 14.

Barça didn’t sign any other ex-Sao Paulo players until 2004. José Edmílson Gomes and Juliano Belletti joined the team at the beginning of the second season with Frank Rijkaard as coach. Edmilson, a defensive midfielder, began his Sao Paulo career in 1994 and won one League title, one CONMEBOL Cup, and two South American Supercups. After playing for Olympique Lyon he signed for Barça, and in his first year won his first Spanish league title, although he was out for the second half of the season due to injuries.

Belletti, another former Sao Paolo star, came to Barcelona on 22 June 2004. On May 17, 2006 he scored the second goal in the historic 2-1 win that gave FC Barcelona its second Champions League title, and he became known as the Hero of Paris in his seven seasons with Barça, taking over the mantle following the historic Ronald Koeman goal which won Barça’s first Champions League.

Vitor Borba Ferreira Gomes, Rivaldo, also played for Sao Paulo, but this was after his successful time at Barça. In January 2011, Sao Paulo announced the signing of Rivaldo, winner of the Balon d’Or in 1999, but a few months later, announced his impending departure from the club. The signing of Douglas has renewed the  historical links between Barça and Sao Paulo.


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