Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos will don his boots again after signing up Thursday as the marquee player for the Indian Super League’s second season, three years after his last competitive match.
The World Cup winner signed a contract with the Delhi Dynamos amid a blaze of camera flashes in New Delhi, just days after he agreed to manage the team in the glitzy 10-week long ISL tournament.
“I would like to play!,” the former Brazil and Real Madrid full-back said in a surprise announcement at a press event in the Indian capital.
“I am looking forward to this stint as an opportunity to impart new playing techniques to players, hone their skills,” said the 42-year-old, who rose to fame in the Brazilian national team for his stunning free kicks.
“I am humbled by the immense support from Indian fans which motivated me to come here and play for Delhi Dynamos.”
Carlos replaces Dutchman Harm van Veldhoven as the team manager who guided Delhi to fifth place in last year’s tournament.
Starting October 3, eight city-based teams will take part in the tournament.
He is the second big-name Brazilian to take charge of a club with the legendary Zico at the helm of FC Goa.
Controversial former France striker Nicolas Anelka will manage and play again this year for the Mumbai City FC and former England midfielder David Platt will manage Pune City.
Football’s popularity has been growing steadily in the country and the ISL drew tens of thousands of supporters in its first year to watch big-name stars such as Anelka and former world player of the year Alessandro Del Piero who was the Delhi’s franchise marquee signing last year.
However the 40-year-old Del Piero struggled to keep pace last season and was relegated to the bench for the latter stages.