Can football do a reverse swing similar to the cricket ball? We should ask this question to France goal keeper Fabian Barthez. He is bamboozled by the question. Let’s move on, French scientists? They are the experts in finding answers to the out-of-the-box questions. Let’s go back to 1997, Brazil left back Roberto Carlos took a free kick from 35 yards, it looked as if he aimed it at the corner flag rather than the goal post.
Mid-way through it’s journey ball suddenly changed its trajectory and ended up in the goal. Fabian Barthez was shell shocked in goal while Football followers were stunned with that brilliant piece of free kick. Was it just another Banana Kick by Roberto Carlos? Football lovers couldn’t come to a conclusion and the French scientists took it as a research topic. Such was the class in that Roberto Carlos free kick and to the credit it was voted as the second best goal in the 20th century.
The brilliance of Roberto Carlos was acknowledged by the fans worldwide. Roberto Carlos is considered as a Legend in Real Madrid on his own during the Galacticos era. Not many will remember the unheralded ones when the limelight was stolen by Ronaldo, Figo, Beckham, Zidane and Raul. There was a marauding left back who made his mark in the game with astonishing free-kicks and tireless running down the left flank.
He wasn’t the perfect defender the coach would love to have in his team, but the other aspects he brought into the game overcame the deficiencies and he was the best in the world during his prime. Roberto Carlos was adjudged as the second best in FIFA World Player of the Year poll in 1997.
Golden Foot winner Roberto Carlos has played in Brazil, Italy, Spain, Turkey and Russia before announcing his retirement on August 2, 2012. He is considered as a legendary footballer not only because of his impossible goals and outstanding free-kicks but also due to his athleticism and work-rate that gave him the ability to perform the functions of a winger and a fullback. Roberto Carlos went on to score more than 100 goals in his career – a very rare feet for a defender and his shots were almost unstoppable.
Roberto Carlos started his career in Brazil at Uniao Sao Joao and he rose into prominence there, which paved the way for an entry into the Selecao’s national team in 1992 at the age of 19. Soon he made his move to Palmeiras where he conquered the Brazilian league twice which started comparisons with the legend Nilton Santos, who brought the attacking full back concept into the beautiful game which was replicated to a certain extent by his role model Junior. Roberto Carlos grew in stature at Palmeiras but he was left out of the squad for 1994 World Cup finals. He started his career as a winger and later on moved to become one of the best attacking full backs.
A much fancied move to Inter gave him the first taste of European football. By this time Roberto Carlos preferred to play as a wing-back which will offer him space to run while Roy Hodgson wanted him further up on the pitch. Roberto Carlos arrived in Europe with huge potential and he polished his skills and proved that he can succeed in Europe as well with a fine season with Italian the giants. Roberto Carlos had disagreements with Hodgson over the player position and the issue was solved by club president Moratti by selling the flamboyant Brazilian to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
During his time at Real Madrid Roberto Carlos established himself as the best left back in the world and as a testimony to it he was selected in the World Cup all star team twice and UEFA team of the year didn’t miss him in 2002 and 2003 as well. His defensive side has often come under scrutiny but he still managed to win the UEFA’s best defender award in 2002 and it’s the best answer he gave to the critics who doubted his defensive skills.
Roberto Carlos and his Real Madrid team were the world beaters during his time at the Spanish Capital as they clinched 4 La Liga titles in addition to the 3 UEFA Champions League trophies and the numerous other trophies. During the ‘Galacticos’ era they went on and dominated the European continent. Often Roberto Carlos had played the role of a winger and a wing back with ease as Zinedane Zidane who played on the left wing preferred to move centrally and it in turn created the space for the overlapping full back and he fulled both duties with real aplomb. Fans adored him on their hearts as he played there for 11 years breaking the records one after the other, scoring goals unlike a defender and creating panic in the opposition defence with his rocket speed and bullet shots.
Roberto Carlos’ time at Real Madrid was the most productive one in both club and national career. A world cup winner in 2002 after missing out in the 1998 finals, he was always the go-to man in the big matches. Roberto Carlos set up the famous 2002 UEFA champions league win for Real Madrid, 2002 world cup semifinal was another big occasion where he stepped up and carried the hopes of the nation in the absence of influential play-maker Ronaldinho. Brazil didn’t feel the absence of Ronaldinho as Roberto Carlos was everywhere creating chances, making his trademark overlapping runs along with those rocket shots which give a torrid night for the Turkish defence in their biggest match.
Roberto Carlos was at his peak during his time at Real Madrid. Racism was a problem everywhere , but he hasn’t noticed any banners or chants at Santiago Bernabeu. His move to Fenerbache was also received well by the Turkish fans as they got the chance to witness a footballing legend in front of their eyes and his two seasons in Turkey gave them some moments of magic to remember for the rest of their lives. Turkish crowd accepted his decision to leave the club after two years of success and gave a much deserved farewell to him with his chants filling the last minutes during his final appearance for the club.
A return to his homeland Brazil was next inline as Roberto Carlos and his compatriot Ronaldo joined Corinthians. His stay at Corinthians didn’t last long as the fans put their ugly masks on and treated the players as enemies after Corinthians Copa Libertadores Cup exit. There were concerns over the security of star players as the violent fans attacked players on each and every possibility forgetting their invaluable services.
During the fag end of his career, Roberto Carlos had faced fans wrath on many occasions as he was considered as the culprit behind Brazil’s shock world cup exit in 2006 while Corinthian fans blamed him along with others for the result of a match which he didn’t play. Roberto Carlos decided to Move to Russia after getting release from Corinthians due to security concerns and his fine playing career faced Racism from the Russian hooligans and mafia there.
Bananas were thrown at him which marred the beautiful football on display at Anzhi where he showed his versatility by occupying the Defensive midfielders role. Roberto Carlos took the caretaker manager’s role for a brief stint at Anzhi after the sacking of manager and thus announced his intention to continue on the football field even after his playing days. Finally the legendary Roberto Carlos announced his retirement from football on August 2, 2012 to take up the post of Director of Football at the Russian club itself and his fans will be hoping for a successful career there as well.
Roberto Carlos was a modern day defender who has scored for all the teams he played. Carlos is famous for his bullet free kicks and the impossible goals he scored in his career. His speed was very well utilized by his teams and the number of overlapping runs he made is a testimony to his success. He was a player who played according his strengths rather than worrying about the shortcomings and this proved to be the main reason behind Roberto Carlos success.