Émerson Ferreira da Rosa (born 4 April 1976), simply known as Emerson, is a Brazilian footballer who currently plays for Miami Dade FC as a defensive midfielder. He played 73 games for the Brazil national team between 1997 and 2006, winning the 1999 Copa America and the 2005 Confederations Cup, also reaching the 1998 World Cup Final. With Brazil, he has taken part in two FIFA World Cups (1998, 2006, missing out on the 2002 FIFA World Cup due to injury), two Copa Americas (1999, 2001), and three FIFA Confederations Cups (1999, 2003, 2005). An experienced footballer, who was nicknamed the Puma due to his powerful but elegant, ball-winning style of play, he has played for two Brazilian clubs (Grêmio and Santos) as well as several European clubs, including Bayer Leverkusen, Roma, Juventus, Real Madrid, and Milan, winning several titles. In addition to his Brazilian passport, Emerson also holds Italian and German passports.
He made a name for himself in his native Brazil, playing for Grêmio, where he won two state championships, two Brazilian Cups, one Brazilian Championship and one Copa Libertadores. He then went to Europe to play for German club Bayer Leverkusen.
In 1997, He was transferred to Bayer Leverkusen. With the German team, he managed a third place in the 1997–98 Bundesliga season, making his debut on 1 August 1997 against Schalke 04. This was followed by two consecutive second places in the league, behind champions Bayern Munich on both occasions. Emerson spent three years at Bayer Leverkusen, scoring 11 goals in 82 league appearances. On 13 August 1997, he made his debut in UEFA competitions in the qualifying round for the 1997–98 UEFA Champions League, in Bayer Leverkusen's 6–1 aggregate win over Dinamo Tbilisi. During the 1997–98 season, Leverkusen reached the Champions League quarter-finals, losing out to eventual champions Real Madrid. Emerson also reached the UEFA Cup round of 16 on two occasions with Leverkusen.
Emerson signed for Roma in the summer of 2000 for 35 billion Italian lire. He signed a 5-year contract with an average salary of 7.2 billion Italian lire per year before tax. But due to non-EU quota, he was unable to play until Emerson acquired Italy nationality in October 2000, as his wife is Italian–Brazilian. He made his Serie A debut in a 3–0 victory on 28 January 2001 against Napoli, replacing Marco Delvecchio in the 56th minute. Roma eventually won the Scudetto and the Italian Super Cup in 2001. Roma would also reach the Coppa Italia final during the 2002–03 season, losing out on the cup to Milan.
After a prolonged transfer saga, in which Roma wanted to sell him to Real Madrid instead of league rivals Juventus, he was sold to the Italian club, which he preferred, in 2004, for €12 million plus Matteo Brighi, which tagged as €16 million, following in the footsteps of his former club coach, Fabio Capello. Moreover, an additional €4 million was paid to the agents, which made Emerson cost €32 million in total. Emerson won two consecutive Serie A titles with Juventus during the 2004–05 and the 2005–06 seasons, but both titles were revoked following the club's involvement in the 2006 Serie A match-fixing scandal.
After two seasons with Juventus, and following their relegation to Serie B due to their role in the calciopoli scandal, he moved to Real Madrid on 19 July 2006, again following Capello, costing Real Madrid €16 million. However, due to the declining relationship between Emerson and Capello and Emerson's poor performances for Real Madrid, the player, in January 2007, declared his desire to return to Juventus, rumoured to be willing to take a pay cut.
By May, his performances had picked up considerably, along with a great improvement in the team's results, and on 12 May 2007 he declared his intention to remain with Real. But in his conversation with the radio program "El Larguero", the president of Real Madrid, Ramón Calderón, said that Emerson would leave Real Madrid in the summer along with the Italian striker Antonio Cassano for technical reasons. Emerson won La Liga in his only season with Real Madrid.
On 21 August 2007, Milan officially confirmed the transfer of the Brazilian midfielder for €6 million. He made his official debut in Milan's 3–1 UEFA Super Cup victory over Sevilla on 31 August. Emerson was not able to contribute much to his new club due to injury, only managing 20 appearances for Milan in the 2007–08 campaign. He was still also able to win the 2007 FIFA Club World Cup with Milan, however. On 21 April 2009, he and the club arrived at a mutual consent to terminate his contract.
Immediately following his release, Emerson began negotiations with Grêmio with the aim of ending his career with his first club. However, due to international transfer restrictions, Emerson was unable to join Grêmio until August 2009 at the earliest.
He signed a contract with Santos on 26 July 2009, after his release from Milan. On 16 October 2009, Emerson decided to terminate his contract and leave Santos due to injury problems. Emerson then underwent surgery and retired from active competition.
On 3 November 2015, Emerson announced that he was joining Miami Dade FC.
Emerson made his Brazil debut on 10 September 1997, in a home friendly match against Ecuador, in Salvador, Brazil, also scoring a goal during the match, which Brazil went on to win 4–2. He was a late replacement for Romário at the 1998 World Cup, following his injury. The defending World Cup champions Brazil reached the final, losing 3–0 to hosts and eventual champions France. Four years later, it would be Emerson, however, who would miss out on the World Cup spot due to injury.
The following year, Emerson went on to win the 1999 Copa América, in Paraguay, with Brazil, overcoming Uruguay in the final; Emerson scored 1 goal during the tournament, which came in Brazil's 7–0 win in the opening group match against Venezuela. Brazil also reached the final of the 1999 Confederations Cup, in Mexico, that year, where they lost out on the trophy to the hosts. Emerson scored his second international goal on 31 March 1999, in a friendly match against Japan, in Tokyo, which Brazil won 2–0. Emerson scored his first double for Brazil on 23 February 2000, in a friendly match in Bangkok, against Thailand, which Brazil won 7–0.
Emerson was intended to be the original captain for Brazil's 2002 World Cup team, but he suffered an unfortunate injury in training before the first game of the tournament, dislocating his shoulder when attempting to parry a shot by a team-mate. He was replaced by Ricardinho of Corinthians, and Cafu replaced him as captain. Brazil later went on to win the tournament.
In 2005, Emerson won the FIFA Confederations Cup in Germany with Brazil, who defeated South-American rivals Argentina 4–1 in the final, as well as overcoming the hosts 3–2 in the semi-final match. On 30 March 2005, Emerson scored a goal in an away 1–1 draw against Uruguay in a 2006 World Cup Qualifying match. In the 2006 World Cup he played in three of Brazil's five games of the tournament, appearing Brazil's two opening wins over Croatia and Australia during the group stage, whilst he was rested in the final group match against Japan, which Brazil won 4–1. He also appeared in Brazil's 3–0 round of 16 victory over Ghana, although he was taken off in the 46th minute after sustaining an injury. This would be Emerson's final match for Brazil. Brazil were eventually knocked out in the quarterfinal of the tournament by eventual 2006 World Cup finalists France, once again. Emerson was excluded from the starting line-up in Brazil's quarter-final match due to injury. Emerson immediately retired from the national team after the World Cup, with 6 goals in 73 appearances for his country. In addition to the aforementioned tournaments, Emerson also represented Brazil in the 2001 Copa America, in Columbia, where the team lost in the quarter-finals to Honduras, and in the 2003 FIFA Confederations Cup, in France, where Brazil were rather surprisingly eliminated in the first round, finishing third in their group.
Emerson was an experienced, quick, combative, hardworking, and dynamic player, who was capable of being deployed in several midfield positions. He played as a central midfielder, and as a box-to-box midfielder on occasion, although his main position was that of a defensive midfielder, who was renowned for breaking down the opposition's play through his efficient tackling, stamina, anticipation, and ability to read the game. He was also capable of subsequently starting up attacking plays once he won back possession, due to his quick and effective passing style, as well as his technique. These attributes led to his nickname Il Puma for his elegant, yet powerful feline movements when chasing down opponents in midfield. He was also gifted with a powerful and accurate shot from distance, although he was also known to be injury prone.