Pelé to Nene, Why Are Brazilian Athletes Famous with 1 Name?


Brazil has strong links to various sports, especially football. Since time immemorial, they are known as a producer of talented footballers. Brazil has even won the most World Cups of all time. They have collected five world titles as of 2021.

Apart from football, Brazilians love to play volleyball. This one sport is touted as the number two popular sport in the Samba country. City governments often provide volleyball courts and other recreational facilities on their beaches. Two of the most popular are Copacabana and Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro.

Basketball is no less popular in Brazil. Their national team is even ranked 15th in the world and ranked 3rd in the Americas zone in the FIBA ​​ranking list as of 2021. Several Brazilian athletes have also played in the NBA, the best basketball competition in the world. Raul Neto (Washington Wizards) and Didi Louzada (New Orleans Pelicans) are two examples that are still active today.

A football player of the past : Of the many athletes in Brazil, citizens of the world are more familiar with soccer athletes considering that this one sport is the most popular sport in the country of Samba. At the 1958 World Cup, Brazil won their first world title. At that time, Brazil had a deadly trio. They consist of Pelé, Didi, and Garrincha.

Didi finished the tournament by winning the title of the best player at the 1958 World Cup. Because of his work during his career in the world of football, he is now known as one of the best players of all time.

Meanwhile, Pelé—who was only 23 years old—was the best young player with a collection of six goals. He only lost to Just Fontaine (France) who scored thirteen goals during the 1958 World Cup.

If you look closely, the row of players above have one thing in common. They are both famous with only one name, either by first name or nickname.

Pelé, for example, was named Edson Arantes do Nascimento. Before being called Pelé, he was called Dico by his family and Gasolina while playing for Santos. Uniquely, Pelé was not happy because he was called Pelé. According to him, Pelé is a bad name. However, the name is not widely known.

Unique names : Eras have changed. However, Brazilian football continues to produce talented players. Citizens of the world today know the name Neymar. The mainstay of Paris Saint-Germain is the main face of Brazil in this era.

Neymar has also been a member of the national team many times. He later managed to lead Brazil to the Qatar 2022 World Cup after passing the qualifying round. Neymar will look to make Brazil world champions again next year. Moreover, they have been short of world titles since 2002.

Apart from Neymar, the world’s citizens had time to recognize famous names from different eras, for example Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Romário, Cafu, Dunga, Kaká, and many others.

These Brazilian players actually have full names. Kaká, for example, whose full name is Ricardo Izecson dos Santos Leite. However, because his younger brother, Rodrigo alias Digão, could not pronounce “Ricardo” as a child, his name became “Caca” which was later changed to “Kaká”.

Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, on the other hand, were born with the same name: Ronaldo. Ronaldinho’s full name is Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, while Ronaldo’s full name is Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima.

Initially, Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima was called Ronaldinho, which means ‘Little Ronaldo’. However, he left that name when he moved from Brazil to Europe. The 2002 World Cup Gold Shoe winner is also better known by the name Ronaldo.

Because the name Ronaldo has been attached to Ronaldo Luís Nazário de Lima, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira became known as Ronaldinho. He only moved to Europe in 2001 while defending Paris Saint-Germain in the French League. During his career, Ronaldinho has played for seven other clubs: Gremio, Barcelona, ​​AC Milan, Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro, Queretaro and Fluminense.

Volleyball and basketball : Athletes who are known by one name exist not only in the world of football, but also in other sports, such as volleyball and basketball. Because Brazilian athletes deliberately introduce themselves like that.

From volleyball, the world’s citizens got to know players, such as Giba, Bernardinho, and Serginho. Giba’s full name is Gilberto Amauri de Godoy Filho. Meanwhile, Bernardinho and Serginho were named Bernardo Rocha de Rezende and Sérgio Dutra dos Santos, respectively.

From basketball, there is one unique name, namely Nene. He briefly played in the NBA with the Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, and Houston Rockets. Nene is the first Brazilian player to be selected through the NBA Draft. He was also an important pillar of the Brazilian national team at that time.

Nene himself was born with the real name Maybyner Rodney Hilário. However, she is better known by the name Nene Hilario. Nene then changed her name to Nene only legally in 2003.