The Player Profile XI dressing room currently has 8 players in it from many different countries (2 French, 1 Italian, 1 Dutch, 1 Swede, 1 Dane, 1 Nigerian and 1 Ghanaian) but as of yet no Brazilians. As a country that has provided us with some of the biggest names in the history of the game it seems about time we changed that. The diminutive figure of Roberto Carlos spent 11 years flying down the left side of the Bernabeu and it is him who is the subject of today’s profile.
Name: Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha
Date of Birth: 10th April 1973
International Caps/Goals: 125/11
The man who is responsible for probably the most physics defying goal I have ever seen (which we will come onto later) began his career aged 18 at Brazilian club Uniao Sao Joao where he played 33 times, carving out a niche as a highly talented full back scoring 10 goals and earning a call up to the national team in 1992. Carlos’s abilities attracted the interest of Palmerias where he won consecutive league titles and earned a move to Europe. Carlos nearly joined Middlesbrough before deciding on a move to Serie A instead; playing under Roy Hodgson at Inter Milan. In his one season in Italy he showed the attacking flair that he would become known for became evident; as did his dead ball prowess:
His attacking ability was actually part of the reason Carlos left. The coaching staff at the San Siro wanted to move him further forward and employ him exclusively as a left sided midfielder while the Brazilian wanted to remain in his customary wingback role. Following a meeting with the staff and the board Carlos decided he wanted to leave and was sold to Real Madrid.
After the completion of a £5 million move to the Bernabeu Carlos took up a position in the left back spot and never looked back. Often lazily labelled as a fullback who was good going forward but poor defensively Carlos had an incredible work rate and in his time at Madrid it has to be said he played against some of the best wingers in the world and kept them quiet. However, it is for his abilities that Carlos, like so many other Brazilians, was known for. The Tournoi de France, a warm up event for the 1998 World Cup, was a largely meaningless tournament won by England but Carlos provided the one moment that the competition is really remembered for:
The best thing about that goal is that ball boy sat a few yards to the side of the goal flinches as he thinks the ball is going to hit him before it swerves just inside the post. A great strike and not the Brazilians only physics defying goal as a year later while playing for Real Madrid he did this:
Much like his goal against France he simply has no right to score from that position. The ability that Carlos had meant that opposing defences had to actively account for him, and when you also have to deal with the likes of Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, Raul and Ronaldo opposing coaches must have felt like they were being asked to pick the poison that would kill them.
Carlos’s career at Madrid is incredibly successful, with 4 Spanish titles to go along with 3 Champions League winners medals. In total Carlos won 13 titles in his 11 seasons with Real before he moved to Fenerbache on a free transfer in 2007. His 3 year career in Turkey still involved winning 2 Turkish Super cups. In 2010 he left Fenerbache and supposedly offered to play for Real Madrid for free but eventually returned to Brazil to play for Corinthians. Unfortunately he was released from Corinthians after receiving threats from fans following a defeat in the Copa Libertadores. Carlos joined the mega rich revolution at Russian side Anzi Makhachkala (yes, I copied and pasted that) where he finished his career.
Carlos was a rare breed of player, a defender who could win a game on his own. It is very unlikely we’ll ever see another player like him. If my team had a free kick about 40 yards from goal, I know who I’d want taking it.