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Prince of Asturias Award for Sports 2002
The Brazilian football squad -described recently by Pelé as "shining more than any other team"- has won five world championship trophies with footballers of outstanding stature who have played out their careers in the sporting arenas of the world´s top teams. Blessed with enormous technical abilities, Brazil´s footballers have always played in an innovative, clean, attacking style that has been a lasting example for millions of football players and fans.
The 1958 World Cup in Sweden witnessed the birth of a national team that captivated the world as a whole with its imaginative, free-flowing style of play. Led by the legendary figures of Pelé, Didi and Garrincha, and captained by Hideraldo Luiz Bellini, the team became the outstanding footballing benchmark of its time. Four years later Brazil won the Cup for the second time, in Chile, with Mauro Ramos de Oliveira leading the team on this occasion. In Mexico 1970, Carlos Alberto Torres, known as the "Gran Capitán" added another trophy to the list when he led his team to a third World Cup triumph. Torres was also the scorer of the last of Brazil´s goals in the competition when he rounded off a four-one victory over Italy in the final.
In 1994, Carlos Caetano Bledorn Verri, "Dunga" -one of the greatest players in the FIFA rankings- captained the team to a fourth championship win, in the United States. This year Brazil lifted the trophy for the fifth time, in Korea, beating Germany 2-0 in the Final. They were led by Marcos Evangelista de Moraes, "Cafu", who by chalking up over one hundred appearances for his country may become Brazil´s most capped player ever. Another Brazilian footballer, Ronaldo, was also the Korea World Cup´s top scorer, with eight goals, equalling Pelé´s twelve-goals-in-all World Cup tally.
The Brazilian football squad also holds the record for winning the most Confederations Cups, on 4 occasions. It currently heads the overall standings of the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. It also holds the honour of being the only team that has participated in all editions of the World Cup. It has always qualified for the World Cup without playing any play-offs. As of 2014, Brazil has won a total of 62 official international titles at the both professional and grassroots levels, which constitutes a world record. For all these achievements, Conmebol considers it the most glorious and successful of all national teams in South America and the world.
It has been the only team in the world to obtain the FIFA Best Team Award of the Year on 12 occasions, being the team that has won this award the most times. It has also won the FIFA Fair Play Award on 4 occasions, and the FIFA Most Attractive Team Award on 1 occasion.
Leônidas da Silva, Didi, Garrincha, Rivelino, Zico, Romario, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka, and the iconic Pele are some of the players who have formed part of the squad.
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