The Greatest South American All-Time XI - Chosen by You

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Ronaldo, Neymar and Luis Suarez excluded from Greatest South American XI chosen by fans before Copa America start

Throughout history, South America has undoubtedly produced legendary football players, many of which have won World Cup and Copa America titles. As a proud online sportsbook and sponsor of many football greats, here at , we wanted to find out who fans consider the greatest South American All-Time XI.

We conducted a survey in conjunction with market research firm Censuswide, asking more than 1,000 football fans from across South America to choose the best players of all time from the continent. Let’s dive into the results.

  • In total, there are a whopping seven Brazilians in the team - including four of the back five

  • Diego Maradona, Lionel Messi and Daniel Passarella are the only Argentineans involved in the lineup

  • Arturo Vidal is the only non Brazil or Argentina international selected by voters

  • More than 1,000 South American football fans were selected by market research firm Censuswide, in partnership with

The Greatest South American XI of all time has been chosen by fans, with no place for Luis Suarez, Neymar or Ronaldo.

Trying to whittle down a plethora of incredible players from across history proved to be an unenviable task, with some of the best players to have ever played the game missing out from the all-time XI.

In goal, former AC Milan shot-stopper Dida was selected ahead of Claudio Bravo. The 2002 World Cup winner won 91 caps for his country and won an Olympic medal as well in 1996. Scorpion kicking, sweeper keeper Rene Higuita came in at third as the Colombia international collected 20% of the votes.

Joining him in the side is fellow 2002 World Cup winner Cafu at right-back. The former Roma defender beat out fellow Brazilian Dani Alves to claim a place in the side, as well as Argentina legend Javier Zanetti. Roberto Carlos was an unequivocal choice at left-back, collecting an amazing 54% of votes ahead of Marcelo.

The first non-Brazilian to get into the side is Daniel Passarella, the Argentina captain who helped his side win the World Cup in both 1978 and then again in 1986. Regarded as one of the most ferocious tacklers ever, Passarella combined his grit with grace when the ball was at his feet.

Alongside him at centre-half is Thiago Silva, one of the most decorated footballers of all time and an imperious figure in European football. At AC Milan, PSG and then Chelsea, he collected a litany of trophies, including the Champions League in 2021 with the Blues.

Moving into midfield, Arturo Vidal beat out some seriously tough competition to claim a spot. Javier Mascherano failed to collect enough votes to be considered, meaning Vidal joins the legendary Zico in midfield. Regarded as one of the greatest players in the world during his time, the Brazilian scored an incredible 101 goals from free-kicks alone.

Moving further up the pitch, some really big names begin to miss out of the GOAT XI. Neymar, Vinicius Jr, Garrincha and Alexis Sanchez all fail to make it into the side on the wings. Instead, Ronaldinho and Diego Maradona claim the spots, with the Brazilian grabbing 31% of the vote, and Maradona with 24%.

Up front, Ronaldo, Romario and Luis Suarez also miss out completely. However, few could argue with Lionel Messi and Pele as a strike partnership. The pair collected a combined53% of the vote to claim their starting positions and complete the GOAT South American XI.


Player Number of Votes
Dida (Brazil) 34%
Claudio Bravo (Chile) 22%
Rene Higuita (Colombia) 20%
Jose Luis Chilavert (Paraguay) 17%
Faryd Mondragón (Colombia) 7%


Player Number of Votes
Cafu (Brazil) 38%
Dani Alves (Brazil) 28%
Javier Zanetti (Argentina) 19%
Carlos Alberto (Brazil) 11%
Luis Eyzaguirre (Chile) 4%


Player Number of Votes
Roberto Carlos (Brazil) 54%
Marcelo (Brazil) 23%
Juan Pablo Sorin (Argentina) 13%
Nilton Santos (Brazil) 7%
Juan Torales (Paraguay) 3%


Player Number of Votes
Thiago Silva (Brazil) 29%
Daniel Passarella (Argentina) 21%
Elias Figueroa (Chile) 13%
Walter Samuel (Argentina) 12%
Paulo da Silva (Paraguay) 8%
Domingos da Guia (Brazil) 7%
Carlos Gamarra (Paraguay) 6%
José Nasazzi (Uruguay) 4%


Player Number of Votes
Zico (Brazil) 31%
Arturo Vidal (Chile) 21%
Socrates (Brazil) 20%
Nolberto Solano (Peru) 8%
Roberto Acuña (Paraguay) 6%
Julio Cesar Romero (Paraguay) 5%
Jose Velazquez (Peru) 5%
Obdulio Varela (Uruguay) 4%


Player Number of Votes
Ronaldinho (Brazil) 31%
Diego Maradona (Argentina) 24%
Neymar (Brazil) 16%
Vinicius Junior (Brazil) 8%
Garrincha (Brazil) 6%
Alexis Sanchez (Chile) 5%
Rivaldo (Brazil) 5%
Teófilo Cubillas (Perú) 3%
Jairzinho (Brazil) 2%


Player Number of Votes
Lionel Messi (Argentina) 30%
Pele (Brazil) 23%
Ronaldo (Brazil) 19%
Romario (Brazil) 6%
Luis Suarez (Uruguay) 5%
Ivan Zamorano (Chile) 4%
Gabriel Batistuta (Argentina) 3%
Alfredo di Stefano (Argentina) 3%
Mario Kempes (Argentina) 2%
Sergio Aguero (Argentina) 2%
Diego Forlan (Uruguay) 1.5%
Alberto Spencer (Ecuador) 1%
Arsenio Erico (Paraguay) 0.5%

Stake brand ambassador Sergio Aguero has played with, and against, some of the greatest South American players of all time. He welcomed Argentina and his best friend Messi to Miami with a herd of goats on the eve of the tournament and believes the Inter Miami star is unequivocally the best in the world.

“I’ve played with the GOAT, and it was great to spend the day with some more of his kind! If Argentina can win Copa America, then they can cement their legacy as one of the Greatest Teams of All Time.”

Can’t get enough of the GOAT? See what Aguero had to say about Copa America 2024 in our exclusive interview , with his picks and predictions to help you bet on the major football tournament .