Roberto Carlos da Silva
Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha, more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a former Brazilian footballer. He started his career in Brazil as a forward but spent most of his career as a left-back and has been described as the “most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game”. He was nicknamed El Hombre Bala (“The Bullet Man”) due to his powerful bending free kicks, which have been measured at over 105 miles per hour (169 km/h). He is also known for his stamina, running speed, technical skills, crossing ability, long throw ins and 24-inch (61 cm) thighs. In 1997, he was runner-up in the FIFA World Player of the Year. Considered one of the best left backs in history, he was chosen on the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and in 2004 was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. Roberto Carlos started playing for the Brazil national team in 1992. He played in three World Cups, helping the team reach the final in 1998 in France, and win the 2002 tournament in Korea/Japan. He was named in the FIFA World Cup All-Star Team in 1998 and 2002. At club level, he joined Real Madrid in 1996 where he spent 11 highly successful seasons, playing 584 matches in all competitions and scoring 71 goals. At Real, he won four La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League three times. In April 2013, he was named by Marca as a member of the “Best Foreign Eleven in Real Madrid’s History”. In August 2012, he announced his retirement from football at the age of 39. Roberto Carlos took up management and was named as the head coach of Sivasspor in the Turkish Süper Lig in June 2013. He resigned as head coach in December 2014. In July 2015, he was appointed player/manager of Indian Super League club Delhi Dynamos.
Did you Know?
Roberto Carlos joined Real Madrid in the year 1996 close season, where he was given the number 3 shirt and held the position as the team’s first choice left-back from the 1996–97 season until the 2006–07 season. During his 11 seasons with Madrid, he appeared in 584 matches in all competitions, scoring 71 goals. He is Real Madrid’s most capped foreign-born player in La Liga with 370 appearances, after breaking the previous record of 329 held by Alfredo Di Stéfano in January 2006. During his Real Madrid career, Roberto Carlos was, alongside Milan and Italy legend Paolo Maldini, considered the greatest left-back in the world. As a high-profile player and one of the most influential members of the team, Roberto Carlos was considered one of Madrid’s Galácticos during Florentino Pérez’s first tenure as club president. He won four La Liga titles with Madrid, and played in the 1998, 2000 and 2002 UEFA Champions League finals, assisting Zinedine Zidane’s winning goal in 2002, considered one of the greatest goals in Champions League history. Roberto Carlos was named as Club Defender of the Year and included in the UEFA Team of the Year in 2002 and 2003. In the later part of his Real Madrid career, Carlos was named as one of the club’s “three captains” alongside Raúl and Guti. Renowned for getting forward from his left-back position and scoring spectacular goals, in February 1998, he scored arguably his most memorable goal for Real Madrid with a bendingvolley struck with the outside of his left foot from near the sideline in a Copa del Rey match against Tenerife in what was described as an “impossible goal”. On the final day of the 2002–03 season, with Madrid needing to beat Athletic Bilbao to overtake Real Sociedad and win their 29th La Liga title, Carlos scored from a free-kick in the second minute of first half stoppage time to put los Blancos 2–1 ahead. The team eventually ran out 3–1 winners to wrap up the title. On 6 December 2003, Roberto Carlos scored the opening goal for Madrid as they beat Barcelona in El Clásico at Camp Nou for the first time in a La Liga match in 20 years. In March 2007, in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16 against Bayern Munich, Roberto Carlos failed to control the backpass when Madrid kicked off, allowing Bayern’s Hasan Salihamidžić to steal the ball and feed to Roy Makaay, who scored the quickest goal in Champions League history at 10.12 seconds. Roberto Carlos bore the brunt of criticism for that mistake which led to the team’s elimination from the Champions League, and, on 9 March 2007, he announced he would leave Real Madrid upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2006–07 season. His final goal for Real Madrid was a stoppage time winner against Recreativo de Huelva with three games remaining in the 2006–07 La Liga season. The goal proved to be crucial to Real Madrid winning its 30th league title as they eventually finished level on points with Barcelona, becoming champions via the head-to-head rule. Madrid clinched La Liga in Roberto Carlos’ final match, a 3–1 win over Mallorca at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium.
Things to Know:
Roberto Carlos amassed 125 caps, scoring 11 goals for the Brazilian national team. He represented Brazil at three FIFA World Cups, four Copa América tournaments, the 1997 FIFA Confederations Cup and the 1996 Olympic Games. He is especially famous for a free kick against France in the inaugural match of Tournoi de France 1997 on 3 June 1997. He shot from 35 m (115 ft) from the centre-right channel with his left foot, and scored. The ball curled so much that the ball boy ten yards to the right ducked instinctively, thinking that the ball would hit him. Instead, it eventually curled back on target, much to the surprise of goalkeeper Fabien Barthez, who just stood in place. That particular attempt is considered by some to be the greatest free kick of all time. In 2010, a team of French scientists produced a paper explaining the trajectory of the ball. At the 1998 World Cup, he played seven matches, including the final loss to France. After a qualifying game for the 2002 World Cup which was held in South Korea/Japan, Paraguay goalkeeper José Luis Chilavert spat on Roberto Carlos, an action which caused FIFA to give Chilavert a three-match suspension and forced him to watch the first game of the World Cup from the stands. Roberto Carlos played six matches in the finals, scoring a goal from a free kick against China, and was a starter in the final against Germany, with Brazil winning 2–0. After the tournament, he was also included in the World Cup All-Star Team. Roberto Carlos’ next international tournament was the 2006 World Cup. In July 2006, after Brazil’s 1–0 defeat to France in the quarter-finals, he announced his retirement from the national team, saying, “I’ve stopped with the national team. It was my last game.”He said he no longer wanted to play for Brazil because of the criticism he faced from fans and Brazilian media for his failure to mark goalscorer Thierry Henry on France’s winning goal. Upon signing with Corinthians in January 2010, Roberto Carlos told TV Globo that he hoped to play at the 2010 World Cup and believed his return to Brazilian football may help him return to the national team, as manager Dunga had yet to settle on a left back. However, he was left off the 30-man provisional squad that was submitted to FIFA on 11 May 2010, along with Ronaldinho and Ronaldo. Despite his deep desire to do so, Roberto Carlos was ultimately not named in Dunga’s final squad of 23 for the Brazilian squad for the World Cup. Instead, Brazil newcomer Michel Bastos earned a spot for the left back position.
Did you Know?
Roberto Carlos scored probably the best free kick ever. During the Tournoi de France 1997, in the 21st minute of the opening match between France and Brazil, he scored from a 35-metre curled free kick, often considered one of the best in the modern game.