Toninho Cerezo

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Toninho Cerezo
Antônio Carlos Cerezo (Toninho Cerezo) 01.jpg
Personal information
Full name Antônio Carlos Cerezo
Date of birth (1955-04-21) 21 April 1955 (age 65)
Place of birth Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Position(s) Defensive midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1983 Atlético Mineiro 111 (12)
1973–1974Nacional (AM) (loan) 20 (3)
1983–1986 Roma 70 (13)
1986–1992 Sampdoria 145 (14)
1992–1993 São Paulo 72 (7)
1994 Cruzeiro 10 (3)
1995 Paulista
1995–1996 São Paulo 8 (0)
1996 América (MG)
1997 Atlético Mineiro
National team
1977–1985 Brazil 57 (5)
Teams managed
1999 Vitória
2000–2005 Kashima Antlers
2005 Guarani
2005 Atlético Mineiro
2007 Al-Hilal
2008 Al Shabab (Dubai)
2009–2010 Al Ain
2010 Sport do Recife
2012 Vitória
2013–2015 Kashima Antlers
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 12 September 2010
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 12 September 2010

Toninho Cerezo, real name Antônio Carlos Cerezo, (Brazilian Portuguese: [toˈniɲu sɛˈɾɛzu]; born 21 April 1955 in Belo Horizonte) is a Brazilian former footballer. Cerezo is commonly regarded as one of the finest Brazilian defensive midfielders of all time, most notably having played for his hometown's team Clube Atlético Mineiro;[1] he also played for several other clubs in both Brazil and Italy throughout his career. At international level, Cerezo took part at the 1978 and 1982 FIFA World Cups – winning a bronze medal in the former edition of the tournament – and the 1979 Copa América, where Brazil finished in third place.

Club career[edit]

Throughout his career, Cerezo played as a defensive midfielder with Atlético Mineiro, Roma, Cruzeiro, Sampdoria, São Paulo and the Brazilian national team.

While playing in Brazil, he won the Bola de Ouro in 1977 and 1980 and the Bola de Prata in 1976.

During his time in Italy, Cerezo won the Coppa Italia four times; in 1991 he won the Serie A with Sampdoria, but lost the Coppa Italia final to A.S. Roma.[2]

With São Paulo he was a two-time winner of the Intercontinental Cup, and also won the Copa Libertadores once. Cerezo was named the best player of the 1993 Intercontinental Cup final.[3](He scored the second goal and assisted Müller's game-winning goal in a 3–2 victory against A.C. Milan.[4])

In 1997, he retired as a player, and, after doing some studies and probations in Italy, he returned to Brazil, and start a career as a manager at Vitória, reaching the semifinals of the Brasileirão Série A. He also led Japanese powerhouse Kashima Antlers in the J.League for six years. He won five major titles in Japan, two league championships, one Emperor's Cup, and two league cups.

After his time in Japan, he coached Brazilian clubs Atlético Mineiro, and Guarani, as well as some Asian clubs, such as Al-Hilal, Al-Shabab, Al Ain; he later returned to Brazil once again as head manager of Sport do Recife, leaving the club just one month later.

International career[edit]

Cerezo won 57 caps (full international games), between March 1977 and June 1985, with the Brazilian national team, scoring seven goals.

He played in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, where they finished in third place, and in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, where they were eliminated in the second round in a group which contained defending champions and continental rivals Argentina, as well as the eventual champions Italy. He was also due to go to the 1986 tournament, but a hamstring injury in May ruled him out of the upcoming World Cup.[5] He was a member of the Brazilian team that finished in third place at the 1979 Copa América.

At the 1982 FIFA World Cup one of his back passes was intercepted by Italian striker Paolo Rossi, who went on to score; the match ended in a 2–3 loss to Italy, which also saw Rossi score a hat-trick, and as a result, Brazil were knocked out of the tournament in a dramatic upset. For many years after the event, he was widely criticized for this error by many Brazilian fans and members of the press.[6]

Style of play[edit]

A tall and strong midfielder, with a slender frame, Cerezo is regarded as one of the greatest Brazilian defensive midfielders of all time, and was well known for his tireless work-rate, stamina, and tactical awareness, as well as his dynamic, physical, and energetic style of play. Although he was usually deployed in a holding role, Cerezo was also an elegant and highly creative player, who was highly regarded in the media for his technique, vision, ability to understand the game, and passing range, which enabled him to orchestrate attacking moves for his team, get forward, and create chances for teammates after winning back possession; as such, he often functioned as a deep-lying playmaker in midfield throughout his career. Although he was mainly a team player, who preferred to assist other players over scoring himself, he also possessed an accurate shot.[1][6][7][8][9][10]

Personal life[edit]

Cerezo is Roman Catholic[11] [12] and is father of four children, including fashion model Lea T.[13]

Career statistics[edit]


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Japan League Emperor's Cup League Cup Asia Total
1972 Atlético Mineiro Série A 3 0
1973 4 0
1973 Nacional-AM Série A 20 3
1974 Atlético Mineiro Série A 5 0
1975 12 0
1976 19 2
1977 18 0
1979 8 1
1980 19 4
1981 9 3
1982 3 0
1983 11 2
1983–84 Roma Serie A 30 6
1984–85 22 3
1985–86 18 4
1986–87 Sampdoria Serie A 28 3
1987–88 28 3
1988–89 29 2
1989–90 21 2
1990–91 12 3
1991–92 27 1
1992 São Paulo Série A
1993 13 1
1994 Cruzeiro Série A 10 3
1995 Paulista
1995 São Paulo Série A 8 0
1996 América-MG
1996 Atlético Mineiro Série A
Total Brazil
Italy 215 27
Career total


Brazil national team
Year Apps Goals
1977 11 2
1978 11 0
1979 2 0
1980 6 1
1981 13 2
1982 9 0
1983 0 0
1984 0 0
1985 5 0
Total 57 5

Managerial statistics[edit]


Team From To Record
G W D L Win %
Kashima Antlers 2000 2005 184 98 31 55 053.26
Kashima Antlers 2013 2015 88 43 16 29 048.86
Total 272 141 47 84 051.84




Atlético Mineiro[15]
São Paulo[15]




Kashima Antlers


  1. ^ a b Toninho Cerezo
  2. ^ Smyth, Rob (25 June 2009). "The forgotten story of ... Sampdoria's only scudetto". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  3. ^ "Toyota cups 1992 and 1993". FIFA. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  4. ^ "連載 週刊サッカーダイジェスト・メモリアルアーカイブ その3". Soccerdigestweb. Retrieved 4 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Hall of Fame". A.S. Roma. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Jonathan Wilson (25 July 2012). "Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982: the day naivety, not football itself, died". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  7. ^ Tim Vickery (20 July 2009). "Seba Veron, an heir to Cerezo". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  8. ^ Mariottini, Diego (21 April 2015). "Cerezo, i 60 anni di "Tira e molla"". La Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  9. ^ "Toninho Cerezo, la forza del cuore". Il Corriere dello Sport (in Italian). 21 April 2019. Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  10. ^ Iaccarino, Lucio (25 July 2011). "La storia di un campione senza età" (in Italian). Retrieved 29 September 2019.
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^ Tom, Phillips (31 July 2010). "Lea T and the loneliness of the fashion world's first transsexual supermodel". The Guardian. Retrieved 5 November 2014. It was with undisguised glee that, once Leandro had appeared in photoshoots as Lea T, a Rio newspaper's gossip column revealed she was none other than the daughter of soccer hero Toninho Cerezo, the World Cup veteran and contemporary of legendary Brazil players like Falcão, Sócrates and Zico. He had not, the paper said, reacted well to its questions concerning his child's new existence. "We got in touch with the former star but, irritated, he limited himself to saying that he had four children, one of them called Leandro", the newspaper reported.
  14. ^ J.League Data Site(in Japanese)
  15. ^ a b c d e f g h "Toninho Cerezo – Trophies". Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  16. ^ South American Youth Championships – Topscorers
  17. ^ FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
  18. ^ "Hall of Fame". A.S. Roma. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  • Enciclopédia do Futebol Brasileiro, Volume 1 – Lance, Rio de Janeiro: Aretê Editorial S/A, 2001.

External links[edit]