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Roberto Carlos da Silva

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Roberto Carlos da Silva

Not to be confused with Roberto Carlos (Spanish footballer).

Roberto Carlos
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha (born 10 April 1973), more commonly known simply as Roberto Carlos, is a retired Brazilian footballer and coach who currently manages Sivasspor in Süper Lig. Roberto Carlos 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".[3] He started playing for Brazil in 1992 and was a member of the Brazil national team in three World Cups, helping the team reach the final in 1998 and win the 2002 tournament. He was nicknamed el hombre bala ("the bullet man") due to his powerful free kicks, which have been measured at over 105mph (169km/h).[4] He is also known for his running speed, long throw ins and 24 inch (60.96cm) thighs.[4]

In August 2012, he announced his retirement from professional football at the age of 39.


Roberto Carlos was born in the city of Garça, São Paulo, Brazil. Raised with no luxury, he had a poor childhood and used to spend his time between helping his parents in farm jobs, and playing with his friends after all his work duties were over. In 1981, Roberto Carlos moved with his family to Cordeirópolis. On 24 June 2005, Carlos was robbed by two gunmen while doing a live radio interview. However, the thieves did not harm him, merely taking his watch and the interviewer's cellular phone. On 2 August 2005, Carlos received dual Spanish and Brazilian citizenship. This proved important for Real Madrid, as it meant that he now counted as a European Union player, opening up one of the club's allowed three slots for non-EU players and enabling Real to sign fellow Brazilian star Robinho. Roberto Carlos has a son named João Afonso. For his 38th birthday, it was reported that Anzhi Makhachkala owner, Suleyman Kerimov, bought him a Bugatti Veyron.[5]

Club career

Early years

Roberto Carlos began his professional career playing for União São João, a football club based in Araras (São Paulo state). In 1992, despite playing at what was seen as a lesser club and only being 19 years old, he was called up for the Brazil national football team. In 1993, Carlos joined Palmeiras, where he played for two seasons, winning two consecutive Brazilian Leagues. After almost signing for Bryan Robson's Middlesbrough side in 1995, Roberto Carlos chose a move to Internazionale, in the Serie A, playing one season for the Nerazzurri. He scored a 30-yard free-kick on his debut in a 1–0 win over Vicenza[6] but his season at Inter was unsuccessful, with the club finishing 7th in Serie A.

In an interview with FourFourTwo in a May 2005 issue, Carlos said that the then-coach of Inter, Roy Hodgson, wanted him to play as a winger, but Carlos wanted to play as a left back. Carlos spoke to Massimo Moratti (the owner of Internazionale) "to see if he could sort things out and it soon became clear that the only solution was to leave."[7]

Real Madrid

Roberto Carlos joined Real Madrid in 1996 close season, where he was given the number 3 shirt and held the position as the team's first choice left-back between 1996–97 and 2006–07. During his 11 seasons with Madrid he made 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.[8] During his Real Madrid career, Carlos was, alongside Paolo Maldini, considered the greatest left-back in the world.[9][10][11] As a high profile player and one of the most influential members of the team,[4] Carlos was considered one of Madrid's Galácticos during Florentino Pérez's first tenure as club president.[12]

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, considered one of the greatest goals in Champions League history, in the latter.[13][14] He was named as Club Defender of the Year and included in the UEFA Team of the Year in both 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.[15]

In February 1998, Carlos scored what was described as an "impossible goal" with a volley from the byline in a Copa del Rey match against CD Tenerife.[16]

On the final day of the 2002–03 season, with Madrid needing to beat Athletic Club 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.[17] The team eventually ran out 3–1 winners to wrap up the title.[17]

On December 6, 2003, 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.[18]

On March 9, 2007, Carlos announced he was to leave Real Madrid upon the expiration of his contract at the end of the 2006–07 season.[19]

Roberto Carlos's final goal for Real Madrid was a stoppage time winner against Recreativo de Huelva with 3 games remaining in the 2006–07 La Liga season.[20] 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 were confirmed as champions in Carlos's final match, a 3–1 over Real Mallorca at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu.[21]

In April 2013, Roberto Carlos was named by Marca as a member of the "Best foreign eleven in Real Madrid's history".[22]


On 19 June 2007, Roberto Carlos signed a two-year contract and one year optional with the Turkish Super League champions Fenerbahçe at the stadium in front of thousands of fans.[23][24] In the first official match he played with the team, Fenerbahçe won the Turkish Super Cup against Beşiktaş by a score of two goals to one. During a league match against Sivasspor, he scored his first goal for Fenerbahçe on 25 August 2007 on a diving header, which was only the third headed goal of his career. He was injured during the final period of the same season and missed the title race between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray.[25] His team eventually lost the title to their rivals, while guaranteeing a place for themselves in Champions League knockouts for the next season. He announced that he was unhappy about the final result and would do his best to carry the domestic trophy back to the Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium.[26] On 7 October 2009 Roberto Carlos announced that he would leave Fenerbahçe upon the expiration of his contract in December 2009. He offered to return to Real Madrid and play for free, though he also said return to the Brazilian domestic leagues was a possibility[27] and announced on 25 November 2009 his departure.[28] He played in his last match for the Turkish club when he came on in the 89th minute as a substitute against Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League on 17 December 2009. Team-mates gave Carlos a goodbye shower after the match as Fenerbahçe fans chanted "I love you Carlos," giving him a standing ovation.[29]


After 15 years away from Brazil, Roberto Carlos returned to his country in 2010 to play for Corinthians. He joined his friend and former Real Madrid teammate Ronaldo. On 4 June 2010, Roberto Carlos scored a goal against Internacional and helped Corinthians to move to the top of the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A table. The Timão won the game with the score of 2–0.[30] On 16 January 2011, Roberto Carlos scored an impressive goal directly from a corner kick against Portuguesa. Concerned with his safety after being threatened by fans after the Copa Libertadores da América defeat to Tolima, Roberto Carlos requested his release by the club, and was promptly released by Corinthians.[31]

Anzhi Makhachkala

On 12 February 2011, Roberto Carlos signed a two-and-a-half-year contract with Russian Premier League club Anzhi Makhachkala,[32] worth approximately €10 million.[33] Playing in a defensive midfield position, Carlos has been captain of Anzhi since 8 March 2011. On 25 April 2011, Roberto Carlos scored his first goal for Anzhi in a 2–2 draw with Dynamo Moscow, converting a 58th minute penalty.[34] On 30 April 30, 2011, Roberto Carlos scored his second goal, converting a penalty in a 1–0 win over FC Rostov. On 10 June 2011, Roberto Carlos then scored his third goal on a 20th minute in a 2–0 win over Spartak Nalchik. On 11 September 2011, Roberto Carlos scored his fourth goal in a 2–1 win over Volga. As of his first season for Anzhi, Roberto Carlos made 28 appearances and scored five goals. On 30 September 2011, Carlos became the caretaker coach of Anzhi following the sacking of Gadzhi Gadzhiyev, before Andrei Gordeyev assumed the role also in a caretaker capacity.[35] Roberto Carlos has announced his plans to retire at the end of 2012, but to continue to work behind the scenes at Anzhi.[36] He was removed from the Russian Premier League registration list for Anzhi on 9 March 2012.

Racism in Russia

On March 2011, during a game away at Zenit Saint Petersburg, a banana was held near Carlos by one of the fans as the footballer was taking part in a flag-raising ceremony.[37] In June, in a match away at Krylia Soveto v Samara, Roberto Carlos received a pass from the goalkeeper and was about to pass it when a banana was thrown on to the pitch, landing nearby. The 38-year-old Brazilian picked it up and threw it by the sidelines, walking off the field before the final whistle and raising two fingers at the stands, indicating this was the second such incident since March.[38]

International career

Roberto Carlos amassed 125 caps, scoring 11 goals[39] 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 curved so much that the ball boy 10 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 to be the greatest free kick of all time.[40] In 2010, a team of French scientists produced a paper explaining the trajectory of the ball.[41]

At the 1998 FIFA World Cup, he played seven matches, including the final loss to France. After a qualifying game for the 2002 World Cup, 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 also played six matches in the finals, scoring a goal from a free kick against China. He also was a starter in the final against Germany, with Brazil winning 2–0. After the tournament Carlos was also included in the World Cup's All Star team.

Roberto Carlos' next international tournament was 2006 World Cup. In July 2006, after Brazil's 1–0 defeat to France in the World Cup quarter-finals, Roberto Carlos announced his retirement from the national team, saying, "I've stopped with the national team. It was my last game."[42] 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.[43]

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.[43] However, he was left off the 30-man provisional squad that was submitted to FIFA on 11 May 2010, along with Ronaldinho and Ronaldo.[44] Despite his deep desire to do so, Roberto Carlos was not named in Coach Dunga's final squad of 23 for the Brazilian squad in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup. Instead, Brazil newcomer Michel Bastos earned a spot for the left wingback position.[45]

International goals

Career statistics



Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brazil League Copa do Brasil South America Total
1993 Palmeiras Série A 20 1 5 0 321 1
1994 24 2 3 0 6 1 33 3
1995 0 0 4 1 9 3 13 4
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1995–96 Internazionale Serie A 30 5 2 1 2 1 34 7
Spain League Copa del Rey Europe Total
1996–97 Real Madrid La Liga 37 5 5 0 42 5
1997–98 35 4 1 1 9 2 45 7
1998–99 35 5 4 0 8 0 47 5
1999-00 35 4 3 0 17 4 55 8
2000–01 36 5 0 0 14 4 50 9
2001–02 31 2 6 1 13 2 50 5
2002–03 37 5 1 0 15 1 53 6
2003–04 32 5 7 1 8 2 47 8
2004–05 34 3 2 0 10 1 46 4
2005–06 35 5 3 1 7 0 45 6
2006–07 23 3 1 0 8 0 32 3
Turkey League Türkiye Kupası Europe Total
2007–08 Fenerbahçe Süper Lig 22 2 3 0 9 0 34 2
2008–09 32 4 8 2 10 1 50 7
2009–10 11 0 0 0 8 1 19 1
Brazil League Copa do Brasil South America Total
2010 Corinthians Série A 35 1 8 0 572 42
2011 0 0 1 0 43 13
Russia League Russian Cup Europe Total
2011–12 Anzhi Russian Premier League 29 4 3 1 32 5
Total Brazil 79 4 12 1 24 4 139 13
Italy 30 5 2 1 2 1 34 7
Spain 370 46 33 4 109 16 512 66
Turkey 65 6 11 2 27 2 103 10
Russia 29 4 3 1 32 5
Career total 573 65 61 9 162 23 820 101
1includes 7 matches and 0 goals in 1993 Torneio Rio – São Paulo.
2includes 14 matches and 3 goals in 2010 Campeonato Paulista.
3includes 3 matches and 1 goal in 2011 Campeonato Paulista.



Brazil national team
Year Apps Goals
1992 7 0
1993 5 0
1994 7 0
1995 13 1
1996 4 0
1997 18 2
1998 10 0
1999 13 2
2000 9 0
2001 7 1
2002 11 1
2003 5 1
2004 12 0
2005 9 3
2006 6 0
Total 125 11



External links

  • Official website (Portuguese)
  • FIFA competition record
  • Profile on Anzhi Makhachkala's official website
  • Profile at Transfermarkt

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