Roberto Carlos still baffled by Hodgson

Roberto Carlos

The thunder-thighed Brazilian Roberto Carlos will always love his best bud – but he’s still baffled by Roy Hodgson.
My hero was… Diego Maradona. He was a strong character, a great leader, who enjoyed being with a football. He has always been, and always will be, my reference. People ask if that’s strange, but I’ve never seen Pele play – only pictures. I’ve played against Maradona, too, and he was incredible.
There was no specific moment when I thought I’d made it… because I never thought I’d be a professional, let alone play in Europe or for my country. I just played for enjoyment, did well and was scouted. Within five or six years I was one of the five best players in the world when all I wanted was to be the best possible left-back.

Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos helped revolutionise the role of full-back
Football has never broken my heart… It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and I’m lucky that God gave me talent to play for 25 years of my life. I have a quarter of a century of great stories, plus defeats where I’ve learned a lot about myself. You can’t look back and wonder.

The coach I most enjoyed playing for was… Vanderlei Luxemburgo when I moved to Palmeiras in 1993. He was the first to say: ‘Listen, Roberto, I want you to attack from full-back. I don’t care if you get caught up the pitch.’ He liked to play with two defensive midfielders and knew we had to make use of the wings.

For me, football is… Like another family. I was born to play this sport. After my proper family, football has always been the most important thing in my life. When I touch a ball, I feel complete.

Roberto Carlos

The Brazilian’s love of the game saw him play professionally in six different countries

Roy Hodgson was… An important person in my career, even if I thought he was damaging at the time. He played me as a centre-forward for Inter. It was impossible. I could understand if he played me as a winger because I was a very attacking full-back, but as one of two strikers? Come on, I’m 5ft 6in! The balls were flying well over my head.

I could understand if he played me as a winger because I was a very attacking full-back, but as one of two strikers?

Zinedine Zidane only scored that volley in the 2002 Champions League Final because… my pass was perfect! I sprinted up the left wing and stuck that ball perfectly on his left foot – it definitely wasn’t just an aimless punt in the air! He saw spaces so few players could see.

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