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Ginga Football Style – The Secret Behind Brazilian Football

Picture this, Ronaldinho in the 2002 World cup, a young Brazilian international makes his World Cup debut. 

The floodlights towering down the football pitch, with millions of eyes just watching. 

He receives the ball, body feints, crossovers, elastico’s past the opposition.

Is this football, is this samba, is it martial arts, or is it all three? What is this style of football the Brazilians play and why is it so fascinating to watch?


ginga football style

What is Ginga?

The word Ginga translates directly to ‘sway,’ this signifies the unique and special moves of the players. 

Ginga is by far one of the most entertaining styles of football in the world! Why? The style of football provides more than just playing the sport, it’s a form of art. A form of embodiment. 

Ginga was inspired by two forms of art. 

  1. A martial art called Capoeira. Capoeira is a martial art that combines different elements of dance, acrobatics and music. It was developed at the beginning of the 16th century in Brazil with African roots. 
  2. Samba is a solo dance that originated in Brazil. A form of dance that involves keeping your body straight but moving your legs and feet ever so slightly. 

Mixing these two fundamentals, Brazil produced arguably one of the most delightful styles of football to ever exist, Ginga. 

The style consists of a very dominant and possession-based type of playing football, with a very attacking mindset. 

ginga style football

Principles of Ginga in football

Ginga is a way of life for Brazilians.

It’s how they walk, how they talk, it’s part of their spirit. Ginga can be seen as a swagger in people’s everyday life. Naturally, this progressed to sport and especially football.

In football, Ginga consists of many different moves, some of them include dribbling, using different parts of your foot and juggling. The whole style is built upon agility and how a player ‘sways’ with the ball.

It’s about those subtle moves and touches that can catch the opposition off guard. The unexpected back heel, the no-look pass, walking past players while juggling the ball on your feet and thighs. It’s all about bringing the everyday swagger to the football pitch.

Ginga has been a pillar of Brazilian football for many years and the Brazilian national team have 

benefited immensely from Ginga with the country winning five World Cups. Almost every tournament they start as favourites. 

ginga style

Ginga is also very iconic in the streets of South America, especially Brazil. Street football or futsal is incredibly important for Brazilians. Most of the best footballers from Brazil, have played street football while they were younger. Ronaldinho, Neymar, Kaka the list goes on! 

Ginga is encouraged heavily in street football and on the beaches as it develops a player’s individual flair. Garrincha and Pele were incredibly important for the successful Brazilian side in 1958 and 1962. Garrincha is remembered as a very creative player and one of the best dribblers of his generation. His body feints and flair helped him tremendously and are also some of the important techniques used in Ginga.

Many world-renowned skill moves have been invented by Brazilians and are also correlated to Ginga. For example, the no-look pass was first done by Ronaldinho, the elastico was first seen performed by Rivelino! The iconic outside the foot freekick was done by Roberto Carlos. The Pele runaround was introduced to the world and named after the great, Pele. The Garrincha feint was also named after him as he introduced it to the world of football. 

Football may have progressed tactically in the past few years but Ginga will always be sacred in the heart of Brazilians. 

ginga soccer

Where Can I Learn Ginga?

Here at Samba Soccer Schools, we ensure our students can practice Ginga with our skill program mixed with one of the fundamentals of Ginga, Samba! Why not try out a free trial today so you can see the value of this style of football yourself! 

ginga football

Ginga Brazilian Football Style FAQs

What is Ginga?

Ginga is the art of soccer, where it’s all about one’s skill on the ball. Where a player can naturally express themselves with the ball.

How do you pronounce Ginga?

Jeen-gah or Gin-ga.

Which Players commonly used or use Ginga?

Pele, Garrincha, Ronaldinho, Neymar, Kaka, Roberto Carlos etc. 

How do I master Ginga?

Close ball control is key, being able to play and move the ball around in small spaces is also vital. Using different parts of your body and feet also help.

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