Roberto Carlos spent a total of 11 seasons in a Real Madrid shirt, scoring 69 goals for the club. Source: Roberto Carlos official Instagram @oficialrc3
Roberto Carlos spent a total of 11 seasons in a Real Madrid shirt, scoring 69 goals for the club. Source: Roberto Carlos official Instagram @oficialrc3

When defenders score: A Brazilian bomber named Roberto Carlos

Football OlyBet 28.09.2023

Ronaldo dribbles, runs, and scores! Messi did it again! Neymar – the winning goal! We have all heard those cries on football pitches: the star striker saves the day yet once again. But in reality, there are still ten men on the field, and as the saying goes – attack wins you games, defense wins you titles.

To correct the injustice of the (football) world, we invite you to a ten-part series with Olybet.TV, where we talk about defenders. But to make things a little more appetizing, let’s talk about the most productive defensemen in football history.

If the hero of our opening article series, James Tavernier, who scored more than 100 goals for Glasgow Rangers, was an unknown man to many football fans, Roberto Carlos, who, similarly to the Brit, scored 113 goals, certainly isn’t.

Roberto Carlos – 113 goals

Considered one of the best left-backs in history, Carlos was first and foremost known for his fearsome left foot, which left everyone speechless. According to the Daily Star, he scored 49 of his 113 goals directly from free-kicks, the most famous of which is undoubtedly the one against France in 1997. Words are not enough here, let’s see the masterpiece for ourselves:

Carlos’ journey in football began at the Uniao Sao Joao club, which has never been among the biggest in Brazil. Despite this, he caught the eye of the coaches in his home country early on and was invited to the Brazilian national team in 1992, when he was only 19 years old.

In the autumn of the same year, he joined Atlético Mineiro, only to join the ranks of the big Brazilian club Palmeiras a year later. With them, Carlos was crowned the national champion two years in a row, after which he caught the eye of Aston Villa. The left-back was close to moving to England but gave up at the last moment when Milan Inter came knocking on the door.

Carlos’ start in the land of pizza and pasta was nothing short of miraculous, as he scored a goal from 30 meters on his Serie A debut. In total, the left-footed bomber scored seven goals for Inter, but the season as a whole failed: the Milanese were only seventh in the domestic league…

Carlos’ goals for Inter:

However, being left out of the Champions League was not the reason why Carlos stayed in Milan only for one season. The real reason was Inter’s then-head coach Roy Hodgson’s desire to use the Brazilian as a winger. Carlos was against it, preferring left-back duties, but when it became clear that his wishes were not being taken into account, it was time to move on…

When the head coach of Real Madrid at the time, Fabio Capello, heard that Carlos was on bad terms with Inter, he ordered the club’s chairman, Lorenzo Sanz, to fly to Milan straight away, to bring the Brazilian back personally. And 24 hours later, it was done.

In the Spanish royal club, Carlos rose to the status of a legend over the years, wearing the number 3 shirt for a total of 11 seasons. In the Spanish Premier League, he played for Real in 370 matches, snatching Alfredo Di Stefano’s record for foreigners (329). Across all series, Carlos has 527 appearances and 69 goals to show for Real.

The left-back was enjoying one success after another in Madrid: four Spanish championships and three Champions League triumphs. And in 2002, it was Carlos who did the preparatory work for Zinedine Zidane’s legendary overhead kick.

However, Carlos’ most famous goal for Real was in February 1998, when he scored against Tenerife from a seemingly impossible angle. Football experts have analyzed this kick – that was made from the end line and dubbed as “the impossible goal” – to death.

Although Carlos is considered a legend at Real – after all, his strike in the last round of the 2002/03 season brought the club its 29th championship in a row – the left-back’s departure from the club was not the most pleasant.

So, what happened? In 2007, it was precisely the Brazilian who made a crucial mistake against Bayern Munich, which allowed the Germans to score the fastest goal in the history of the Champions League: Roy Makaay scored in 10.12 seconds.

Since Real did not manage to advance from the round of 16 against Bayern, the fans blamed Carlos for the failure. And only a week after that “crash”, Carlos announced that he would leave Real at the end of the season.

Carlos offered a bit of consolation to Real fans in the penultimate round of the season, where it was his goal in extra time that brought victory against Recreativo de Huelva. Real and FC Barcelona finished on equal points at the time, but as a result of the tiebreakers, it was still Real who could proudly lift the title of the 30th championship above their heads. In short: Carlos’ goal proved to be extremely decisive!

End-of-career exoticism

After leaving Real, Carlos first went to Fenerbahce for two years. From there, he moved on to his home country and the Corinthians. Although he could have rounded off his career with this, he continued to get some more cash under his belt. In the 2011/12 season, Carlos played for the Russian team Anzhi Makhachkala and after that, he started working as a coach.

However, these attempts failed in Russia, Turkey, and Qatar, and by 2015, Carlos had already reached India. He also played his last matches as a player-coach in the ranks of Odisha.

Since 2017, Carlos has not done much on the football pitch. We don’t know if the reason behind it is the research published by the German publication ARD in the same year. In it, the physiotherapist of the Brazilian national team, Julio Cesar Alves, claimed that he boosted certain national team members, including Carlos, with banned substances during their careers. But the fact is that since then, Carlos has mainly acted as an ambassador for Real…

Finally, to sum it up, how did Carlos score his 113 goals? The answer is simple: with force! He angrily sent the ball into the net from a free kick 49 times and from a penalty on 20 instances, but on roughly 45 occasions, he simply acted according to the good old football wisdom: risk it!


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