Brazil legend Roberto Carlos reflect on the good times at Madrid

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Brazil legendary left-back Roberto Carlos reminisces about the good times he had on the field as a Real Madrid player, revealing that there is this one particular picture taken in the summer of 1996 that he will never forget and that the 1998 UEFA Champions League Final at the Amsterdam Arena in Netherlands is his favourite moment in a Madrid shirt.

“There is a picture in my house from a special day that I’ll never forget. It was taken in the summer of 1996, when Real Madrid had just bought me from Inter Milan. Before that day I had never been to Madrid. I was 23 years old. When I landed at the airport, I didn’t go straight to find out where I would be living. Nor did I go to the Santiago Bernabéu, the most majestic stadium in Europe,” said Carlos.

“When I look at that picture, it reminds me of how my crazy journey with Real Madrid began. I still have the photo at home. And my home is still in Madrid, where I now work for Real Madrid as the director of institutional relations.” – Carlos.

It only took Carlos less than two years to win the Champions League with Madrid and admits he took a while to get used to the pressure that comes with playing for Real Madrid but insists that there were moments when even the biggest pros among them were shaken.

“Nearly two years after I had arrived, we were about to play Juventus in the final of the Champions League. As we all know, Real Madrid had – and still have – the most titles in the history of the competition, but at that stage we had not won it in 32 years,” said Carlos.

“We had struggled in La Liga that season. Juve were in the final for a third year in a row. We did not go into the game as favourites,” – Carlos.

“The night before the final none of us could sleep. Normally we’d go to bed at 10 pm, but that night we were sitting in the hotel lobby at four in the morning, telling each other stories. We were not afraid, we just had a lot of respect for Juve. And we were anxious for the game to start,” he explained.

Madrid won the 1998 Champions League title, edging Juventus 1-0.

“Afterwards we headed for the Plaza de Cibeles. The streets were flooded with hundreds of thousands of people, dressed in white shirts and scarves, singing and celebrating. I’ll never forget that night.”

“If I had to pick a favourite moment from my time at Real Madrid, it would be that [98’ Uefa Champions] triumph.” – Carlos.
Carlos joined Madrid in 1996 from Inter Milan and went on to make 527 appearances for the Madrid club, netting 69 goals and providing 89 assists. He enjoyed a great deal of success with the Spanish giants winning the Champions League three times, La Liga on four occasions and three Spanish Cup titles.

“After I signed for the club everything went so quickly, but I do remember my debut, when I scored away to Deportivo de La Coruña. I also remember the first time I played at the Bernabéu, in front of 80,000 people.

“I was like, Um … what am I doing here? What happens if I make a mistake now? Man, it was terrifying! But it was also one of the best days of my life,” said the former Brazil international.

Carlos, who was renowned for his trademark free-kicks also clinched the FIFA World Cup with Brazil in 2002. He spent 11 years at Madrid before leaving to join Brazilian top-tier side Sport Club Corinthians Paulista, then Turkish side, Fenerbahce SK and eventually retiring in 2016 after a short stint in India.

“I can tell you that the galácticos era in the early 2000s wasn’t just memorable for the fans. It was also incredible to be part of as a player. You would sit in the dressing room, look around you, and see the Ballon d’Or winner, the Spanish player of the year, the top scorer in La Liga, the best goalkeeper in the world.” – Carlos.

“My last game for the club was on 17 June 2007. We were facing Mallorca at the Bernabéu in the last game of the season – and we were tied on points with Barcelona, who were playing Gimnàstic. If we both won, we knew we would clinch the title based on our head-to-head record against Barça. We went 1–0 down early on, but in the second half we turned it around and won 3–1. It was an incredible victory.

“But what I remember best from that day is the way people treated me. Everyone knew it was my farewell game. David Beckham was saying goodbye, too. From the moment we came out of the hotel and began travelling toward the stadium, people treated us with so much affection.

It felt like a birthday, you know? Everyone was wishing us well, sending us hugs and kisses. Saying things like, “Good luck,” and, “We love you,” reflects Carlos.

“Come back as soon as possible. That’s when I realised what I had done for the club. That’s when I realised how much people loved me. It was one of the most emotional days of my life.

“I also think it was an example of how affectionate people here are, how passionately they live their lives,” concluded the former Madrid and Brazil star.

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Source: The Athletic – www.theathletic.com

By FARPost Reporter 

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