Raí

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Raí
Personal information
Full name Raí Souza Vieira de Oliveira
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1984-1986
1986-1987
1987-1993
1993-1998
1998-2000
Botafogo-SP
Ponte Preta
São Paulo
Paris SG
São Paulo
038 0(2)
010 0(1)
122 (31)
145 (51)
019 0(1)
National team
1987-1998 Brazil 051 (17)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

Raí, full name Raí Souza Vieira de Oliveira (born May 15, 1965 in Ribeirão Preto) is a former Brazilian football midfielder. He was part of the Brazil team which won 1994 FIFA World Cup. He also played for São Paulo FC and Paris Saint-Germain. Raí is also the younger brother of another legendary player, Sócrates.[1]

In the first round match against Russia in the 1994 FIFA World Cup, he scored a penalty kick when Romário was knocked down in the goal area. Afterwards however, having struggled to impose himself on the tournament, he had to relinquish his captain role to the more influential Dunga and did not feature in the tournament from the quarter finals onwards.

He is arguably São Paulo FC's best player of all time, having won every kind of championship for the team during his tenure.

His position as a player in the team was as a withdrawn striker/offensive midfielder. He was the captain and the leader of the team. Rai (and Telê Santana coach) are considered to have played a leading role in São Paulo being the Brazilian team with the most international awards, surpassing even Santos.

However Rai never managed to make his mark at an international level as he did at club level. He was always slow in adapting himself to the team, except when he returned to São Paulo.

After playing for Paris Saint-Germain he came back to São Paulo in 1998 announcing that it was the place where he would end his career. The team was completely renewed, with new stars such as Denílson and França. The only remaining player from the 1992-1993 winning team was goalkeeper Rogério Ceni (who would still later help São Paulo to the 2005 Club World Championship). Once again, he led São Paulo to another regional championship although he played only in the finals, as he came back through the season..

The feat was repeated for the last time in 2000, with his last award, the same regional championship.

In 1997 when Brazilian tennis player Gustavo Kuerten won his first Roland Garros championship, Rai was in the stands cheering his countryman.

References

Preceded by
Vladimir Jugović
Intercontinental Cup
Man of the Match

1992
Succeeded by
Toninho Cerezo
Preceded by
Oscar Ruggeri
South American Footballer of the Year
1992
Succeeded by
Carlos Valderrama