Nelinho Profile

Brazil is celebrated for its footballing tradition and the production of exceptional talents, and Nelinho, the Brazilian right-back, was one of the most groundbreaking figures in the nation's football history. Known for his attacking prowess from the defensive position, his ability to score remarkable long-range goals, and his contributions to both domestic and international football, Nelinho's playing career is celebrated for its pioneering spirit and its lasting impact on the right-back position. This essay delves into the pioneering playing career of Nelinho, tracing his journey from a promising talent in Brazil to a revered figure in the world of football.

Early Life and Beginnings

Nelinho de Moraes was born on July 26, 1950, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. From a young age, his passion for football was evident, and he quickly rose through the ranks of local youth teams. Nelinho's unique ability to blend defensive duties with an attacking flair caught the attention of scouts, setting the stage for his professional debut with Cruzeiro in the 1970s.

Club Success

Nelinho's club career was notably associated with Cruzeiro, where he became an iconic figure in the club's history. He began his professional journey with Cruzeiro and played a pivotal role in the team's domestic and international successes. His innovative style as a right-back made him a unique and influential player.

During his time at Cruzeiro, Nelinho played a key role in the club's achievements, including multiple Campeonato Mineiro titles and international triumphs. His ability to surge forward from defence, deliver pinpoint crosses, and score remarkable long-range goals made him a standout player for the club.

One of the defining moments of Nelinho's club career came during the 1976 Copa Libertadores, where his performances were instrumental in helping Cruzeiro secure the championship. His groundbreaking style of attacking from the right-back position left an indelible mark on Brazilian football.

International Stardom

Nelinho's contributions extended to the Brazilian national team, where he earned international caps throughout his career. He was part of the Brazilian squad during various international competitions, including FIFA World Cups. His attacking prowess and remarkable long-range goals became a source of inspiration.

One of the highlights of Nelinho's international career came during the 1978 FIFA World Cup in Argentina. He was part of the Brazilian team that reached the third-place play-off. His contributions on both ends of the field were a testament to his pioneering style.


Nelinho's playing career is a testament to the importance of innovation, attacking prowess, and versatility in the world of football. His journey from a promising talent in Brazil to becoming a revered figure at Cruzeiro and earning international caps exemplifies the qualities that make players like Nelinho indispensable in the beautiful game.

Nelinho's contributions to Cruzeiro and the Brazilian national team remain a source of pride for fans. His ability to redefine the right-back position, deliver memorable long-range goals, and inspire future generations of players continues to be remembered and celebrated.

In sum, Nelinho's pioneering playing career reminds us that football is a sport where innovation and the ability to push the boundaries of traditional positions can lead to lasting success and leave an enduring legacy. His name will forever be associated with excellence in Brazilian and international football, and his impact on the sport continues to inspire future generations of players and fans alike.

Nelinho - Info

Nelinho profile pic

Name: Manoel Rezende de Mattos Cabral
Date of Birth: 26th July 1950
Nationality: Brazil
Position(s): Right-back
Career: 1970 to 1987
Regular Shirt Number(s):

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