• The Games That Changed My Life – Cafu


    Brazil’s most capped player, Cafu, reveals the most memorable matches of his illustrious 18-year-career.

    December 5, 1992, Palmeiras 2-4 Sao Paulo

    It was the first leg of the Paulista state championship final, just one week before we beat Barcelona 2-1 in Japan to win the Intercontinental Cup. We won 4-2, I scored a screamer and played a part in every Sao Paulo goal. In that match we realised we didn’t have to be afraid of anyone [Sao Paulo won the second leg 2-1 after beating Barcelona]. The winning streak only ended in 1994.

    March 24, 1996: Santos 0-6 Palmeiras

    This was one of my greatest matches in Brazil. I scored, too. That Palmeiras team had Rivaldo, Djalminha, [Roque] Junior… I’d meet many of them in the Selecao as well. That team was unstoppable. We scored a hundred goals in less than six months. Memorable times.

    June 10, 1998: Brazil 2-1 Scotland

    That was my first and only World Cup goal! Well, kind of… I had some Scottish help in scoring that one [Cafu’s shot hit goalkeeper Jim Leighton, bounced out on to Tom Boyd’s shoulder and rebounded in for an own goal]. But it was magical for me to have my name on the scoreboard. It was different to the 1994 World Cup, too, because I was more important to the team.

    December 17, 2000: Lazio 0-1 Roma

    After winning this match, we were sure we were going to be Italian champions. It was also the match with my most memorable moment: a triple sombrero over the great Pavel Nedved, one of the best players in the world.

    June 26, 2002: Brazil 1-0 Turkey

    Everyone talks about the World Cup final, but this match was even more tense. I also played better in the game against Turkey. We’d had a very tough game against them in the group stage, but we weren’t favourites to win the tournament then; the semi-final was a totally different business.

    August 2, 2004: Milan 3-2 Chelsea

    It was just a friendly, but it was memorable. Jose Mourinho was beginning at Chelsea and I was finding my place at Milan. I scored and made an assist. After the match, he shook my hand and told me to run less against his team! I knew at that moment that I still had a lot more I could do in football.

    This feature originally appeared in the FourFourTwo magazine

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