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This blog reflects on soccer qua football all over the world. The blog has a specific investment in attractive, attacking football and, as such, focuses on Brazil, the most emphatic historical exponent of the beautiful game.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Player Profile: Roberto Carlos

"I always practise (free kicks), every day. I prefer to kick with the outside of my foot. There's no secret, it's much more (a question of) concentration."

--Roberto Carlos on the art of free kick taking

When Roberto Carlos burst onto the European football scene at Inter Milan from Palmeiras, coach Roy Hodgson played him as a left winger, otherwise known as an attacking left midfielder with the license to move forward and score goals like a striker. Carlos was assigned the left winger position because of his extreme pace and ability to backtrack as necessary. He disliked the winger position because he wanted to see more of the pitch ahead of him, and accordingly, Inter played him as a left midfielder. Even after Inter tagged Carlos as a left midfielder, the conversation between the player and coach continued about his optimal positioning on the pitch. Roberto Carlos resisted the left midfield position as well so Inter ultimately played him as a left fullback. The Brazilian wanted to race up and down the left flank and enjoy the freedom to shift from defense into attack as the game dictated. Carlos not only settled into the left fullback, but he went on to redefine it completely over the next ten years by becoming the best left fullback in the history of football. Also known for his powerful free kicks, swerving corner kicks and long range strikes on goal, Roberto Carlos enriched a decades long Brazilian tradition of samba flair from the dead ball that dates back to Rivelino, Eder, Zico, Branco, Rivaldo and Ronaldinho.

While Roberto Carlos is perhaps best known for his thunderous free kicks, he set new standards for athletic excellence in football more generally. With legs like tree trunks that he acquired from a childhood spent assisting his family haul farming and textile equipment in Cordeirpolis, Carlos is famous for his phenomenal speed and physical strength. From 1996 to 2007, Roberto Carlos played a whopping 584 games for Real Madrid, scoring 71 goals and even more assists. 370 out of the 584 games were Spanish league games in which he scored 47 goals from his left back position. As one of eight players to play in more than 100 champions league matches, Roberto Carlos joins a elite group of Champions League veterans featuring Paul Scholes, David Beckham, Paulo Maldini, Gary Neville, Raul Gonzalez and Ryan Giggs. A tireless worker with explosive pace, Carlos was feared by defenders and strikers alike given his capacity to sprint at speeds where he could cover 100 meters in less than 11 seconds. At the international level, Carlos was surprisingly left out of the 1994 World Cup squad in favor of Leonardo, but he dominated the left back position in 1998 and 2002, combining powerfully with Rivaldo on the left flank and complementing the brilliance of Cafu, the team's right fullback. Carlos earned 125 international caps for Brazil in a distinguished international career featuring a World Cup Winners Medal in 2002 and two Copa America titles for Brazil in 1997 and 1999.

After 11 years at Real Madrid, Roberto Carlos enjoyed a brief stint at Fenerbahce before returning to Corinthians in Brazil where he was voted the best left back in Brazil's Serie A. Carlos enjoyed success at Corinthians alongside his teammate Ronaldo, narrowly missing out on the 2010 Brazil Serie A title to Muricy Ramalho's Fluminense in the final games. Carlos also scored an amazing "Olympic Goal" from a corner kick while at Corinthians, the first ever in his career. He recently decided to leave Corinthians after a two year spell in the wake of fan harassment in February 2011 following the club's elimination from the Copa Libertadores. The 37 year old left back from Sao Paulo has decided to follow the money trail by accepting a lucrative offer at the Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala, the club owned by the Russian senator and metals and oils magnate Suleiman Kerimov.


  1. Roberto Carlos - Absolute legend. :)

    And how about a player profile on Robinho?

  2. If Robinho scores more than 15 goals in Serie A for AC Milan this season, sure thing. Right now he's at 11 or 12, I believe, or somewhere around there.

  3. He's scored ten goals so far. And there's no way he'll come even close to 15 because :
    (a) He's a supporting striker, and not meant to score.
    (b) He's lost form. Again.

    He really is the most worthless and inconsistent player I've ever seen. An absolute waste of money!

  4. There appears to be some silence in Brazilian blogs as to the efficacity of Roberto Carlos in left-lateral attacking midfield. While he could be a dynamo in FB lateral, he was quite versatile and I consider him to be one of the most thunderous playmaker in footballer; I had watched him where he scored goals at geometrically "impossible vertex angles. All that I could imagine was: how is he able to score goals like that-in a parabolic curves-to a rectangular post? He was a playmaker with all the qualities of a good central-attacking midfielder. If the Brazilian squad has a few playmakers like Roberto Carlos, they can, certainly, reign in 2014. For additional perspectives on some soccer issues or inspirations about the game-in objective reality, you may visit: www.22222.webs.com. There is a video about Brazil's Last World Cup 2002-where O fenomeno, Ronaldo, scored two-stunning goals to win over Germany. Roberto Carlos cannot be forgotten as the best playmaker in football [even though he wasn't a number 10]. Let's not put him to oblivion-and I am elated that he's yet performing!