Cafu is a former Brazilian professional footballer who is widely regarded as one of the greatest right-sided full backs to ever play the game. He had an illustrious playing career spanning over two decades in which he made history by being the only player to feature in three World Cup finals.
What Teams Did Cafu Play For?
Cafu played for several major clubs during his career:
- São Paulo (1990-1994)
- Real Zaragoza (1994-1995)
- Juventude (1995)
- Palmeiras (1995-1997)
- Roma (1997-2003)
- Milan (2003-2008)
He enjoyed tremendous domestic and European success with many of these teams. Some highlights include winning two Copa Libertadores titles with São Paulo, Serie A titles with Roma and Milan, and a Champions League title with Milan in 2007.
What National Team Did Cafu Play For?
Cafu is famous for his long international playing career with Brazil. After making his debut in 1990, he was a regular presence in the Brazilian national team for nearly 16 years until his retirement following the 2006 World Cup.
During that stretch, he made a record 142 appearances and scored 5 goals for Brazil. He played in four consecutive World Cups from 1994 to 2006. Along with teammates like Ronaldo and Roberto Carlos, Cafu formed the backbone of dominant Brazilian teams of that era.
Net Worth and Career Earnings as a Player
According to multiple reports, Cafu has a net worth of approximately $55 million as of 2024. The vast majority of his career earnings and net worth derive from his long playing career.
As one of the greatest right backs and most accomplished trophies winners of his era, Cafu commanded high salaries from his major European clubs like Roma and Milan. He also earned lucrative endorsement deals during his playing peak.
It’s estimated that Cafu likely grossed over $70 million in total career earnings as a footballer when accounting for all salaries, bonuses, and sponsorships.
While very comfortable by any measure, his net worth today is lower than contemporaries like Roberto Carlos and Ronaldo who have over $100 million fortunes. This is likely because Cafu has maintained a relatively low-key lifestyle compared to some other Brazilian legends.
Cafu’s Age and Early Life
Cafu was born as Marcos Evangelista de Morais on June 7, 1970 in Jardim Irene neighborhood of São Paulo, Brazil. As of 2024, he is 54 years old.
He grew up in a working-class family and originally played futsal as a winger rather than football on grass pitches. Cafu eventually got noticed by scouts and signed his first professional contract with hometown club São Paulo FC in 1988 at age 18.
This began his rapid ascent into a global superstar as he locked down the starting right back position for São Paulo within two years, attracting attention for his pace, technical quality, attacking flair, and seemingly unlimited stamina.
Relationship and Family Life
Cafu has been married to Regina Feliciano since 1988. The couple has two children together – a son Danilo (born 1992) and daughter Michelle (born 1995). Both currently live in Italy to be closer to their father.
In his playing days, Cafu’s home base shifted between São Paulo and whatever European city he was playing in at the time. Since retiring, he has been based primarily in Milan, where he makes a living through commercial engagements and ambassador roles.
The Cafu family maintains a residence in Jardim Irene neighborhood of São Paulo, where he returns regularly. They sponsor a local youth academy called Centro de Treinamento Rei Pelé, which provides opportunities for disadvantaged children through football.
Career Accomplishments and Awards
With over 20 major trophies to his name, Cafu is rightly considered one of the most decorated players ever. Let’s review some of his top career highlights and accolades:
- 2 Copa Libertadores titles (1992, 1993 São Paulo)
- Brazilian Serie A champion (1991 São Paulo)
- São Paulo state league champion x5 (1991-1994)
- Italian Serie A champion x1 (2001 Roma)
- Italian Serie A champion x1 (2004 Milan)
- Coppa Italia winner x1 (2003 Roma)
- Italian Supercoppa winner x2 (2002, 2004 Milan)
- UEFA Champions League winner (2007 Milan)
- UEFA Super Cup winner (2007 Milan)
- FIFA World Cup 2002 winner (Brazil)
- FIFA World Cup 1994 runner-up (Brazil)
- Copa América 1997 champion (Brazil)
- Copa América 1999 champion (Brazil)
- FIFA Confederations Cup 1997 winner (Brazil)
- Brazilian Silver Ball winner: 1994
- South American Team of the Year: 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999
- UEFA Team of the Year: 1998, 2005
- Serie A Footballer of the Year: 2000
- FIFA 100: Best living players picked by Pele: 2004
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002
- UEFA Champions League 100 Club: 2013
So in summary, few defenders in history can rival Cafu’s trophy cabinet and individual honors. He was a vital part of Brazil’s most successful generation and also hit incredible heights at club level with São Paulo, Roma and Milan over 20+ years.
Cafu’s Legendary Brazil Career Records
We’ll conclude this profile by spotlighting some of the records and milestones Cafu achieved during his 16 years playing for Brazil:
Most Brazil Appearances Ever
No other player has represented Brazil as much as Cafu. His record 142 caps for Brazil may never be broken with modern players tending to have shorter careers.
Only Player in Three FIFA World Cup Finals
A testament to his longevity, Cafu appeared in the 1994, 1998 and 2002 World Cup finals – the only player to achieve this feat. Brazil won the latter, cementing Cafu’s legacy.
Eldest Brazilian World Cup Captain
Aged 36 years and four months during World Cup 2006, Cafu became the oldest ever Brazilian to captain their country at football’s showpiece tournament.
One of Four 2-Time World Cup Winners From Brazil
By winning the 2002 tournament, Cafu joined an exclusive club of Brazilians with two World Cup winner’s medals – alongside legendary names like Pele, Ronaldo and Nilton Santos.
Played Final Match for Brazil on 100th Cap
Cafu was substituted late in Brazil’s final match at 2006 World Cup – his 100th match for Brazil – bringing the curtain down on 16 magical years.
So while many legendary defenders like Beckenbauer, Baresi and Moore laid the foundation for the position – Cafu modernized right-back play with his attacking flair, stamina and longevity. He is considered the trailblazer for offensive fullbacks thriving today like Trent Alexander-Arnold.
For Brazilian fans, he’ll always be remembered as a key leader guiding the Selecao to glory in 2002, etching his name into history with records that may stand for decades more.
In any discussion of football’s greatest right-sided defenders, Cafu’s name deserves mention alongside the likes of Carlos Alberto and Phillipp Lahm. The Brazilian legend redefined conceptions about fullbacks needing to prioritize defense over attack. He was the prototype attacking wingback thriving today.
With his marauding runs, pinpoint crosses and lethal right foot, Cafu terrorized opponents for over 20 years. From São Paulo to Milan, he amassed over 20 major club honors and held the fortress of Brazil’s defense for a record 16 years.
Cafu will forever be etched in Brazilian lore for captaining the 2002 World Cup winning team. His three appearances in World Cup finals may never be matched again. Though retired since 2008, Cafu remains active as an ambassador keeping Brazil’s football traditions alive. For any aspiring fullback, studying footage of him in his prime is a masterclass.
Few have revolutionized a position so completely over such a long span as Cafu did with the right back role. His blended attacking flair, defensive discipline and exceptional endurance make him a true Brazilian great – on par with legends like Pelé, Garrincha and Ronaldo.
Frequently Asked Questions about Cafu
What number did Cafu wear?
During his career, Cafu wore the number 2 shirt for every club and country he represented. The attacking right-back is synonymous with the number 2.
What position did Cafu play?
Cafu played as an attacking right-sided full back throughout his career from youth level through retirement in 2008. While capable of playing further forward, he was best utilized at right back where he revolutionized modern conceptions of the position.
How do you pronounce Cafu?
Cafu’s full name Marcos Evangelista de Morais is Portuguese. His nickname ‘Cafu’ is pronounced Kah-foo where the ‘C’ makes a hard ‘K’ sound.
What foot was Cafu?
Cafu was right footed but competent playing off either foot. This two-footed ability allowed him to take free kicks and dribble at speed using both feet interchangeably down the right flank.nd additional FAQs: