Roberto Carlos – An all-time Real Madrid great
Roberto Carlos is widely considered one of the greatest left backs in the history of football and we will be reminiscing on the exploits of the Brazil legend in this piece.
The defender was a pioneer for the attacking full-back as he was solid in defense, extremely devastating going forward and possessed one of the cleanest strikes of the ball the game has ever seen. He also had a reputation for scoring free-kicks that made him something of a ‘complete player’.
As most world-class players did at the time, Carlos joined Real Madrid from Inter Milan in 1996 and spent the next 11 seasons making history at the Santiago Bernabeu. The Brazilian won 13 trophies during his time at the club, most notably four La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League crowns among others.
The São Paulo native possessed a famous cannon of a shot from dead balls and his powerful bending shots have been measured at over 169 km/h. Carlos became a mainstay in the Madrid side for over a decade as their former captain earned a reputation as the most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game.
He duly cemented that legacy by assisting Zinedine Zidane’s iconic winning goal against Bayer Leverkusen in the 2002 Champions League Final.
The 2002 FIFA World Cup winner would make 125 appearances for his country which is recognized as the second-most appearances for the Seleção. Indeed, he was up to similarly record-breaking appearances for the famous Galacticos.
Carlos surpassed Alfredo di Stefano as the most capped foreign-born Real Madrid player in La Liga with 370 appearances in January 2006 and ended that season with six goals and six assists from 45 appearances. The rampaging full-back spent one more campaign in Madrid to total 527 games for Los Blancos, scoring 69 goals in the process. He ended that spell on a high as Madrid clinched La Liga in Roberto Carlos’s final game at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in 2007.
Till date, only Marcelo (533) and Karim Benzema (579) are the foreign players with more appearances for Real Madrid, and only Cristiano Ronaldo (316) joins the duo for more wins in the famous White kit than Carlos (301).
The legendary left-back departed Spain after 11 glorious years and moved to Fenerbahce where he scored 10 times in three seasons and won two Turkish Super Cups.
Carlos saw out the final years of his career between Corinthians in his hometown, Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia and Delhi Dynamos of India as a player/manager. He has ventured into management a number of times, but Roberto Carlos would forever resonate for many as the best to strike a ball with the left foot.
His exploits have defined a generation of superstars in the history of Real Madrid and Brazil, and his world-class abilities captured the hearts of a global audience. Par for the course, Roberto Carlos’ influence remains true to many modern-day footballers.