Copa América: Remembering Corinthians’ Brazilian stars from the 1990’s

06/21/2019 22h35 Corinthians Agency

Copa América 2019 kicked-off with two Timão players in Tite’s squad, goalkeeper Cássio and right-back Fagner. During the coming days, Corinthians.com.br will examine the best moments from Alvinegro players at the Copa América.

In 1991, Copa América was played during the month of July, in Chile. During the last edition with only 10 teams, without the two extra national teams invited, the Argentina won the competition while Brazil was finished second.

One year after Timão’s first title of the Brazilian championship, back into 1990, the Brazilian National Team featured champions Márcio Bittencourt, Neto and Ronaldo Giovanelli on their side.

Midfielder Márcio, who joined Corinthians in 1985 already with a Paulista title won in 1988, stood out on the pitch as a relentless marker who read the game better than most. Timão’s fans remember him for his dedication in the 1990 title decider against São Paulo, finishing the game with his shirt covered with blood.

Photo Caption: Neto and Ronaldo were two of Timão players on the 91 Copa America. Image: Ricardo Correa

One of the biggest idols of Corinthians’ history, midfielder Neto played for Brazil in 1991. A pass master and powerful shooter with his left foot, he was known as one of the best free-kick artists of Brazilian football.

The Alvinegro’ idol was crucial for the first Brasileirão title, scoring 23 goals, five of them from free-kicks. Eternal Xodó, as he was named by Corinthians’ fans, defended Corinthians colours for 228 games and contributed 80 goals, becoming a major part in the historical Brazilian title of 1990 and also state champion in 1997.

Another Corinthians player who defended the Brazilian colours in Chile, 1991, was Ronaldo Giovanelli. The goalkeeper, who debuted for Timão by stopping a penalty against São Paulo, played for Alvinegros for 10 years, from 1988 till 1998 and became one of the best goalkeepers in Corinthians history and Brazilian football.

Agile and with fast reflexes, the goalkeeper thrilled the fans with his acrobatic skills, crucial for the three Paulista titles (1988, 1995 and 1997), one Brazilian Cup in 1995 and first Brazilian Championship in 1990. Ronaldo is the third player who wear the Corinthians shirt more times in the club’s history, with 602 games, behind Luizinho (606) and Wladimir (805).

The 1993 Copa América was played in Ecuador and included two invited nations for the first time: México and USA. Attacking midfielder Viola played for Brazil that year. Standing out playing for Corinthians, he debuted at the age of 19 in a Paulista Championship final in 1988, replacing Edmar who was playing for Brazil at the time.

During the second half he scored the winning goal of the state title, against Guarani. During the following years, he was on loan for clubs of São Paulo and ended up not playing for the championship-winning side in 1990.

Back to Corinthians in 1992, he became one of the best scorers of the 1990’s. Viola was the top scorer of the Paulista championship in 1993 with 20 goals, including a memorable goal celebration, imitating a pig against Palmeiras.

Helping Brazil to a fourth World Cup title in 1994, he won several titles playing for Corinthians – Paulista Championship in 1988 and 1995 and Brazilian Cup in 1995. During second game of Brazil on the ‘93 Copa América edition, against Chile, Viola left the pitch injured and would not play again for Brazil in that competition. A key part of the side, his injury makes it even worst for the sensitive moment Brazil was facing on that competition, reaching the quarter finals.

Brazil got their fifth Copa América in 1997, in Bolivia. Not considered as a major competitor that year, they won the tournament for the first time outside of Brazil, struggling with the Bolivian altitude

Defender Célio Silva, from Corinthians, was one of the players called for Brazil. With a strong shot, he reached 19 goals for Corinthians, playing 157 games in four years (from 1994 to 1998) and was a champion three times; winning the Paulista Championship in 1995 and 1997 and Brazil Cup in 1995.

In 1999, Brazil won all the games they played and became Copa América champion, securing a sixth title. Brazil was the champion for the second time in a row, like Corinthians, who became back-to-back champion of the Brasileirão. National champions Dida, João Carlos and Vampeta were in the Corinthians side.

Photo Caption: Vampeta was one of the Corinthians’ players who helped Brazil winning 1999 Copa America title. Image: Alexandre Battibugli

Dida, the goalkeeper, is considered one of the best in Corinthians history and was a specialist at saving penalties, with two important saves in the same game, in front of Raí, against São Paulo in the semi-finals of the Brazilian Championship of 1999 and one save from Nicolas Anelka, at that time playing for Real Madrid, in the FIFA Clubs World Cup played in 2000. At 1.95m, Dida arrived to Timão on a loan from AC Milan and stayed at the club between 1999 and 2000, returning in 2001 to win more titles.

Vampeta and Rincón, considered one of the midfield pairings in Brazilian football history. Vampeta also played side-by-side with Marcelinho Carioca and Ricardinho, considered one of the best Corinthians midfields.

He wrote his name in club’s history by becoming Paulista champion in 1999 and 2003, champion of the Rio-São Paulo in 2002, Brazil Cup in 2002, two times Brazilian champion in 1998 and 1999 and world champion in 2000. Vampeta and Dida played together for the Brazilian National Team in the Copa América in 1999 and at the World Cup, three years after.