Ranking every Brazilian to play for Tottenham in the Premier League

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Tottenham Hotspur's Sandro playing in the Champions League quarter-final against Real Madrid. White Hart Lane, April 2011.

Richarlison has completed his big-money move to Tottenham – but how will he compare to the other Brazilian players who have played for the Lilywhites?

The 25-year-old, who has cost Spurs an initial £50million, will be just the eighth Brazilian to represent the club in the Premier League.

We’ve ranked the seven Brazilians that have made a first-team appearance for Spurs, not including any players that only played for their reserves.

7. Gilberto

The first Brazilian to play for Spurs’ senior side, Gilberto arrived in January 2008 but didn’t have the same impact as his namesake in the red half of north London.

He endured a disastrous debut against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Cup last-16, making a mistake that led to the Dutch side’s only goal before being booked and getting hauled off at half-time.

While the left-back came off the bench to score in a 4–0 win over West Ham United on his Premier League debut, he continued to struggle defensively and made just eight more appearances for the club.

His performances at White Hart Lane even led to a particularly brutal Daily Mail headline that read, “Brazil finally produce rubbish footballer.”

Gilberto’s contract at Spurs was terminated by mutual consent at the end of the 2008-09 season, and the defender returned to Brazil with Cruzeiro.

“I want to say sorry with all my heart to the Tottenham fans,” Gilberto later told ESPN. “I’m gutted that it didn’t work. I would have loved to have stayed, but I got branded very quickly. There were some great people at the club, but it was a bad time for me personally.”

6. Paulinho

Tottenham received £86million for Gareth Bale in 2013 and reinvested just shy of £17million of that money on Paulinho, who had been starring for Corinthians and Brazil.

The midfielder produced a man-of-the-match performance on his debut but failed to build on that promising start, showing only fleeting glimpses of his ability and struggling to make a mark on Premier League games.

His Spurs career never really recovered from a horrible game against Liverpool in December 2013 where he saw red, Spurs were thrashed 5-0 and Andre Villas-Boas lost his job as manager.

Mauricio Pochettino was appointed Spurs boss ahead of 2014-15 and only had to work with Paulinho for half a season before selling him at a loss to Chinese side Guangzhou Evergrande.

“I really cannot say a bad word about the club or the staff or the president,” he later told the Players’ Tribune when reflecting on his time at Spurs.

“It is true that it was a very difficult period for me as a player, and there were times when I did not want to leave my apartment in London because I was so stressed about not playing.

“For a footballer, not playing is like a fish not being in the water. I felt as though I were suffocating. For whatever reason, I was not in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans. I didn’t fit his philosophy, I guess. But we never even had a disagreement.”

While he’s done alright for himself since leaving Spurs, this shot against Burnley rather summed up his time in north London.

5. Emerson Royal

Tottenham agreed to pay Barcelona £25.8million for Emerson in the summer of 2021 and the Spanish side must have been laughing all the way to the bank.

The right-back failed to justify that price tag during a difficult debut season in north London and his defending has even made Spurs fans miss Serge Aurier. OK, maybe that’s a bit of a stretch…

He has also struggled to adapt to the wing-back role since Antonio Conte arrived at the club, registering just one assist and one goal in all competitions.

According to reports, Tottenham are willing to cut their losses and move the Brazil international out after just one season as Conte looks to reshape the squad.

4. Carlos Vinicius

After scoring 24 goals in all competitions for Benfica in 2019-20, Vinicius joined Tottenham on a season-long loan deal as Jose Mourinho looked to add more firepower to his squad.

He mainly played second fiddle to Harry Kane and got just 303 minutes of Premier League football under his belt in 2020-21, scoring once in a 2-0 win over Aston Villa.

The striker did score six Europa League goals for the club and also netted a first-half hat-trick against non-league side Marine in the FA Cup.

But his performances in the cup competitions weren’t enough to convince Spurs to take up the £36million option to sign him permanently.

3. Lucas Moura

Admittedly, Lucas has been frustratingly inconsistent since Spurs parted with £25million to land the forward from PSG in January 2018.

But that Champions League semi-final second leg hat-trick against Ajax – and the lack of competition from his compatriots – is enough to get him into the top three here.

In fact, this video almost made us put him at No.1…

2. Heurelho Gomes

Gomes was signed by Juande Ramos in 2008 but struggled to adapt to English football during a difficult debut season and made a series of high-profile mistakes.

The goalkeeper turned things around in 2009-10 and helped Tottenham qualify for the Champions League for the first time by producing some brilliant performances, not least in their vital 1-0 win at Manchester City.

After making 126 appearances during his first three seasons, Gomes was displaced by Brad Friedel in 2011 and made just four more appearances for the club before joining Watford in 2014.

Heurelho Gomes celebrates after Tottenham beat Chelsea at White Hart Lane. April 2010.

READ: Heurelho Gomes: ‘I told Redknapp I’d never play for him again – I regret it’

1. Sandro

Signed from Internacional for £8million in 2010, Sandro quickly established himself as a favourite in north London due to his passion and combative style of play.

But the defensive midfielder could also compete with the very best and produced two iconic performances to help Spurs knock AC Milan out of the Champions League in 2011.

He racked up more than 100 games in a Spurs shirt and scored some stunning goals for the club but a series of injury problems ultimately stopped him from fulfilling his potential.

Sandro left for QPR just as Pochettino arrived at Spurs in 2014 and in 2020 told the Guardian: “That’s the biggest regret of my career, completely. I wish I could have played with Pochettino.

“He improved the players. He took Tottenham to another level. We take decisions in our lives that, if we knew what was going to happen, we wouldn’t take. I got it wrong. I got it wrong and I regret it.”

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