It all started with Milton Queiroz da Paixao in 1987: Tita, as he was known, was the first Brazilian to play for Leverkusen. Many other players from the land of the Sugar Loaf Mountain were to follow. Many of them made their mark on the Werkself game. Together with his fellow countryman and team-mate Wendell, Paulinho, who signed for Bayer 04 in the summer of 2018, is continuing this long tradition. The 18-year-old is already the 23rd Brazilian in the club's history. Read on for an overview of all Bayer 04 players from the country of the five-time World Cup winners.
Tita (1987-88, 21 Bundesliga games, 10 goals)
Full name: Milton Queiroz da Paixao
The Brazilian pioneer at Bayer 04. Tita came, scored and won the UEFA Cup with the Werkself in 1988. After a successful year at Leverkusen, the attacking midfielder moved on to Pescara in Italy. The now 60-year-old still speaks very highly of his time at Bayer 04 today.
Jorginho (1989-92, 87/9)
Full name: Jorge de Amorim Campos
The right back, winner at the World Cup in the USA in 1994 with the Selecao, took the Bundesliga by storm. He wore the black and red shirt for three years, spoke almost perfect German after a short time and was a role model in terms of integration. No wonder that Bayer 04 supporters voted him part of the 'Team of the Century' in 2004 by an overwhelming majority.
Paulo Sergio (1993-97, 121/47)
Full name: Paulo Sérgio Silvestre do Nascimento
Paulo Sergio (also a World Cup winner in 1994) did not make it into the team of the century but the nippy winger left the footsteps behind. No Brazilian has scored as many goals for Bayer 04 in the Bundesliga up to now as the winger who later moved on to Roma and then, like Jorginho, to Bayern Munich
Rodrigo (1995-96, 27/1)
Full name: Rodrigo José Queiroz Chagas
Bayer 04 have mainly been lucky in their choice of Brazilian pros but the 1995/96 season that almost ended in relegation is an exception. Roderigo, a right-back like Jorginho, had the misfortune to play in a Leverkusen side that didn't function as a team. He returned to Brazil after one season.
Ramon (1995-96, 15/1)
Full name: Ramon Menezes Hubner
What applies to Roderigo, also sums up Ramon to an even greater extent. The classic number ten, in spite of all his undoubted potential, never really found his place in the team, which is primarily due to relegation battles requiring more strength in challenges than skill on the ball. Ramon returned to his home country to play for Vasco de Gama.
Zé Elias (1996-97, 23/0)
Full name: José Elias Moedim Júnior
Zé Elias, a left footer in defensive midfield, also only spent one season in the Bundesliga. The beefy strategist moved on to Italy to play for Inter Milan and then Bologna, Genoa, Olympiakos, FC Santos, in Ukraine and Cyprus before ending his professional career in 2009 at SCR Altach in Austria.
Emerson (1997-2000, 82/11)
Full name: Émerson Ferreira da Rosa
The second Brazilian to make the Bayer 04 team of the century. 'Emma' became one of the big attractions in the Bundesliga and started a global career at Leverkusen: Roma, Juventus, Real Madrid and AC Milan were his subsequent employers. He combined tactical and strategic skill with outstanding ball control.
Paulo Rink (1997-2002, 88/29)
Full name: Paulo Roberto Rink
The striker was anything but a typical Brazilian magician with the ball. The left footer with German roots shone more through dynamism and penetration that saw him play for Germany where he made 13 international appearances including at Euro 2000 under coach Eric Ribbeck. Definitely the most German of all Bayer 04's Brazilian players.
Zé Roberto (1998-2002, 113/17)
Full name: José Roberto da Silva Júnior
At his first club in Europe, Real Madrid, he didn't make it in the first team but at Leverkusen he beat everything on the left wing. Many people are convinced that Bayer 04 would have won the Champions League in 2002 if Zé had not been suspended for the final. The model pro was still playing at the age of 42 for Palmeiras.
Robson Ponte (1999-2001/03-05, 79/6)
Full name: Robson Ponte
Ponte twice played for the Werkself. He came to the attention of the club's management because he played cat and mouse with the Bayer 04 defence in a friendly against Guarani. Ponte failed to establish himself in the first two years but that changed after his return from a two-year loan spell at Wolfsburg.
Lucio (2000-04, 92/15)
Full name: Lúcimar Ferreira da Silva
One of the really great Brazilians to play for Bayer 04. A central defender with strikers blood and the power of steam roller,nickname 'the animal'. A World Cup winner in 2002, hero and goalscorer in the 4-2 win in the Champions League thriller in the same year against Liverpool. After three outstanding years at the Werkself, Lucio also moved on to FC Bayern.
Full name: Marcos Vicente dos Santos
One of the two Brazilians at Bayer 04 not to play a single Bundesliga game. Marquinhos was considered to be a great talent but only played 13 games for the Leverkusen reserve and once for the first team in the DFB Cup. After two years he was transferred back to his home country where he ended up being much more successful.
Juan (2002-07, 139/10)
Full name: Juan Silveira dos Santos
A cultured and quick-footed central defender full of anticipation and aerial strength. Juan established himself at Bayer 04 straightaway, first of all in tandem with Lucio and then with Roque Junior. After five successful years with the Werkself he went to Italy to play for Roma. He recently suffered a torn Achilles playing for Flamengo at the age of 39.
Franca (2002-05, 71/21)
Full name: Françoaldo Sena de Souza
The striker needed one season to settle in: He only scored one goal in 16 Bundesliga matches. Franca was then a big hit in 2003/04: Never to be forgotten was his magical curler in the 4-1 win against Bayern or his goal in the 3-0 home victory in the Champions League against Real Madrid. After three years he headed off to Japan.
Cris (2003, 2/0)
Full name: Cristiano Márques Gómes
The bald central defender only spent a few months at the club. Cris, signed in January 2003, to shore up an insecure defence in a really difficult season only made two appearances in the Bundesliga. Later in eight seasons with Lyon he showed what he could do in European football.
Roque Junior (2004-07, 35/0)
Full name: José Vitor Roque Júnior
Another central defender and World Cup winner of 2002. Roque Junior joined the Werkself from AC Milan and stayed for three years where he often had to battle with injuries. Characteristic for him was ability to minimise the ground covered in the game thanks to his cool tackling – which brought him the nickname 'Roque Senior'.
Athirson (2005-07, 30/2)
Full name: Athirson Mazzoli de Oliveira
In his last two years at Bayer 04, the left footer, whose strongest suit was in going forwards, was at best solid. The 19-time Brazil international was previously at Juventus. After his time at Leverkusen Athirson returned to his home country and ended his career in 2011.
Renato Augusto (2008-13, 101/8)
Full name: Renato Soares de Oliveira Augusto
One of the Brazilians with the most ability to play for Bayer 04. Renato could do things with the ball that would have tied other players up in knots. A lot of injuries stood in his way of making a real breakthrough with the Werkself. Renato was in tears when he parted from the fans on leaving the club. Today he is still playing in China.
Henrique (2008-09, 27/0)
Full name: Henrique Adriano Buss
The central defender was brought in on loan from Barcelona at the age of 21 and he went on to reach the DFB Cup final in Berlin with Bayer 04 in 2008/09 that unfortunately ended in a 1-0 defeat to Werder Bremen. Henrique made 27 Bundesliga appearances for the Werkself and later on he played in Europe for Napoli and Racing Santander. He currently plays for Corinthians São Paulo
Full name: Carlos Vinícius Santos de Jesús
The second Brazilian never to have played in the Bundesliga. The right-sided midfielder was unable to find his feet and after six months he went out on loan to Jahn Regensburg. After a short return to Brazil, he played in Switzerland (FC Aarau, FC Thun) and Portugal (Estoril Praia) and he is currently on loan from Standard Liege at the Brazilian second division team Guarani Futebol Clube.
Wendell (2014-18, 136/7, as at 24.4.2019)
Full name: Wendell Nascimento Borges
Wendell has been an indispensable part of the Werkself for five years. The left-back, whose trademark is his happy countenance and broad grin, is a really important point of contact for his young fellow countrymen Paulinho. The contract of the nimble defender runs to 2021.
André Ramalho (2015-17, 22/0)
Full name: André Ramalho Silva
The likable curly head, who can play in central defence and holding midfield, joined the Werkself from RB Salzburg in 2015 along with coach Roger Schmidt. A year later Bayer 04 loaned him out to Mainz. Six months after his return to Leverkusen he went back to Salzburg in January 2018 where he won the league title again.
Paulinho (from 2018, 13/0, as at 24.4.2019)
Full name: Paulo Henrique Sampaio Filho
The 18-year-old winger is the 23rd Brazilian to play for the Werkself and, like many of his predecessors, is looking to conquer the football world from Leverkusen. The talented youngster played for the Vasco de Gama first team at the age of 16. In his first season at Leverkusen, the quick-off-the-mark, technically impressive Paulinho has mainly made brief appearances so far.