Toninho Cerezo

Toninho Cerezo
Personal information
Full name Antônio Carlos Cerezo
Date of birth (1955-04-21) 21 April 1955
Place of birth Belo Horizonte, Brazil
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)
Playing position 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. Well known for his tireless work-rate, energetic style of play, and tactical awareness. He was also known for his vision and passing range as a deep-lying playmaker.[1] 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.[2]

Club career

Throughout his career, Cerezo played as a defensive midfielder with Atlético Mineiro, Roma, 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.[3]

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.[4](He scored the second goal and assisted Müller`s game winning goal in a 3–2 victory against A.C. Milan.[5])

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

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 eliminateed 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.[6]

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.

Personal life

Cerezo is the father of four children, including fashion model Lea T.[7]

Career statistics


Club performance League Cup League Cup Continental Total
SeasonClubLeague AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals AppsGoals
Japan League Emperor's Cup League Cup Asia Total
1972Atlético MineiroSérie A30
1973Nacional-AMSérie A203
1974Atlético MineiroSérie A50
1983–84RomaSerie A306
1986–87SampdoriaSerie A283
1992São PauloSérie A
1994CruzeiroSérie A103
1995São PauloSérie A80
1996Atlético MineiroSérie A
Total Brazil
Italy 21527
Career total


Brazil national team

Managerial statistics


Team From To Record
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[9]
São Paulo[9]




Kashima Antlers


  1. Jonathan Wilson (25 July 2012). "Italy 3-2 Brazil, 1982: the day naivety, not football itself, died". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 December 2015.
  3. Smyth, Rob (25 June 2009). "The forgotten story of ... Sampdoria's only scudetto". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  4. "Toyota cups 1992 and 1993". Retrieved 21 July 2009.
  5. "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.
  6. "Hall of Fame". A.S. Roma. Retrieved 13 May 2018.
  7. 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.
  8. J.League Data Site(in Japanese)
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Toninho Cerezo – Trophies". Retrieved 27 October 2015.
  10. South American Youth Championships – Topscorers
  11. FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info
  12. "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.
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