NEW DELHI (TIP): His 100 mile-plus free-kicks earned him the title of the ‘Bullet Man’. The scorer of some of the most spectacular goals in the history of the game, Brazilian star Roberto Carlos was announced as the marquee player cum manager of Delhi Dynamos on July 9. One of the most recognisable football stars in the world, Carlos spoke to TOI in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
Brazil seem to be surviving on reputation alone these days. The team is not the same it used to be. Where do you think lies the problem?
Thank God for that (laughs). At least people will remember me for the next four years. The last good side was 2002. Our group was very good.
Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho, you… Your generation seems to be the last of the greats. Do you see Brazil reaching that level and unearth such players in foreseeable future?
There will never be another Pele. There will never be another Maradona. There will always be new players but not at the same level.
Recently, Dani Alves claimed Pep Guardiola wanted to coach Brazil before the World Cup but Brazilian Football Confederation failed to appoint him. Your thoughts…
I believe it’s better if the Brazilian national team has a Brazilian coach. Brazil has a lot of quality coaches. We have a culture of football. It’s important to have a home-grown coach. I think we need to stick to our people.
Romario said corruption and not just poor play is to blame for the country’s humiliating exit from the World Cup a year ago. Would you agree?
It has to stop now. We need to have young people with a modern mindset managing affairs. They need to have full knowledge about the game. The coach and the Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) officials need to understand the game and the culture of our country.
Wednesday marked the first anniversary of Brazil’s 7-1 defeat at the hands of Germany. Will Brazil ever recover from the result? If yes, then what is the way to recovery?
We need to start playing the way we used to during my playing days. We need to play without fear and play quality football. We have the support of 200 million people. That support needs to be turned into performance. There is nothing else we can do.
Did criticism from the fans and media play a part in your decision to stop playing for Brazil and Real? Do you believe you were made a scapegoat of others’ mistakes?
No. I played for Brazil for 18 years. I won the World Cup and Copa America with them. There is a time when a person wants to stop. It’s better to stop playing when you are at your best. I did that. I was happy when I decided to stop playing. There was nothing else. If there was, I would have said so. There is a time when a person has to think about when to stop. One has to think about his family. A footballer does not have time to enjoy life in his playing days. Now I am able to spend time with my family.
How did you react to the whole FIFA corruption fiasco? Who would you like to see as FIFA president?
So many bad things have happened in the past. Those who were arrested were at pretty high positions. It was shameful for the sport. Justice has to prevail. Zico, Luis Figo, Prince Ali of Jordan are some of the people I would like to see as president. They understand football and are serious about the sport. Bringing such people at the helm will ensure that such things do not happen in the future. Zico can be the perfect choice. He is one of the great coaches I have had in my career.
Word on Brazil coach Dunga and Real coach Rafa Benitez…I know Dunga both as a player and a coach. He has won many trophies with the national team. I think at this moment, the responsibility has to be on the players and not on the coach. The players are doing what the coach wants and not what they want. Benitez understands Real Madrid very well. He has been associated with Real Madrid for a long time. I wish him all the best.