He’s a midfielder with over 400 goals and 350 assists in a career that spanned 19 years and remarkably saw him play 999 official matches.

He represented the most successful national team of all time on 49 occasions and captained them to continental glory in 2004.

So who are we talking about exactly? Chances are you’ll have no idea and frankly we can’t blame you. Because today we’re talking about Alex - a decent candidate for the most overlooked player in modern footballing history.


Alex at Coritiba


After making his debut for Coritiba as a 17 year old in 95, Alex got to work. A string of standout performances and a state championship quickly landed the creative number 10 on the radar of some of Brazil’s biggest clubs and Palmeiras snapped him up in early 1997.

It was evident from the start that they had picked up a gem. His first season with the side saw him thrust straight into the first team as he helped them to two cup finals, remarkably defeating his team old team Coritiba in both. His breakout season earned him his first cap for Brazil aged 21.


Alex lifting a trophy with national side, Brazil.


He shone in Palmeiras’ Copa Libertadores triumph a year later before falling just short in the final of the 2000 edition.

While his career trajectory only seemed to be going one way, his May 2000 move to Parma started a new chapter. While many struggle to adapt to new surroundings, Alex failed entirely and his career floundered. After two years he was sold to Cruzeiro. It was a good move.


Alex at Palmeiras


He was the heartbeat of a side that in 2003 claimed an historic domestic treble and his performances sae him once again on the move to Europe. Sort of.

It would be on the Asian side of the Bosphorus that Alex would finally make it in a European league. Despite signing at 28, the ageless Alex helped Fener win three Turkish Championships and a Turkish Cup in an eight year spell.


Alex at Fennerbahce


He breezed to the golden boot with 28 goals from midfield at a spritely 33 and in total contributed 347 goals and assists in 378 games. He was so good that a statue was erected of him before he even left

His move to Turkey spelled an end to his time in the national side and probably contributed to his relative lack of exposure today...


Alex for national side Brazil


But to those who know, it cemented his status as a legend.
What a player.


Words by Andy Gallagher





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