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EXCLUSIVE Dead-ball hero back with a blast

Friday 14th June 2002

By Roberto Carlos

Obviously I'm delighted to have scored against China on Saturday. Not only was it my first ever goal in a World Cup finals, but it came from a free-kick too. As anyone will know who watches me play, free-kicks are an important part of my game.

I have worked very hard on them over the course of my career, so it was good to get the reward of scoring one at the World Cup finals.

I practice them as much as I can. Every day, after training, I will stay behind for five or ten minutes practising on my own.

At Real Madrid, it will often happen that three or four of us stay behind - normally Luis Figo, Michel Salgado, Flavio, Fernando Hierro and myself - and have a bit of a competition to see who can score the most.

We use a rolling plastic wall, and practice from all kinds of crazy angles. It's always funny, but still quite competitive.

Scoring in games is a lot more difficult, but when it goes right it is a really special feeling.

The free-kick I scored against France [from 40 yards in Le Tournoi 1997] is the best goal I have ever scored. Having said that it's difficult to pick just one goal when you have scored so many. You must not forget that I used to play as a striker as a kid!

That goal is very famous, perhaps because it was so unique. However, I never get bored of talking about it, no matter how many people ask me about it.

It was a truly wonderful goal, even if it had been scored by someone else. Everybody enjoyed it and that is why I feel happier and prouder of that goal than any other.

It was shown all around the world, a sign that it was an excellent goal. It would be very difficult to score a free-kick like that again. It depends on the size of the wall, where it is positioned, the distance from goal and numerous other factors.

People talk about how I do not score from free-kicks anymore, so I hope the goal last Saturday has set some things right.

I scored two for Real Madrid this season as well, including the winner against Tenerife late in the campaign - so it was not that long ago since I scored my last one.

The problem with free-kicks is that you always need a bit of luck, which deserted me at times last season. I also had a knee injury, which gives me real pain when I strike the ball with force. But these things just encourage me to practice even harder.

One thing I will not change is the way I strike free-kicks: I will always go for full power. Curling or placing the ball does not interest me. I see no reason to change what has worked so well so far.

I often get asked, "Who is the greatest free-kick taker of all time?"

I think Brazilians are traditionally the masters of free-kicks, and the current squad is no exception. I will have to mention Juninho. I do not know whether he is the best, but he is my friend so I will have to mention him or risk getting in trouble!

Garrincha and Rivelinho were the first players to use the free-kick as a goalscoring weapon, another case of Brazil being the pioneer.

We Brazilians are strongly influenced by our football history, and we are always trying to improve it, to make the legacy of Brazilian football that much greater.

The undoubted masters were Garrincha, Socrates and Gerson. They are great examples; you can really learn from them.

At Real Madrid, Zinedine Zidane and Hierro are some of the best with the dead-ball in the world at the moment.

As to whether I will score another free-kick, it is difficult to tell. Despite scoring that goal against China I am still not happy with this World Cup ball: it is too light.

To hit a perfect free-kick, as I have already said, depends on a lot of things, not least the ball itself.

It has to be the right weight, the right pressure, and the ball has to be positioned in a certain way. There are often differences between balls, and while this one is better than the 1998 ball, it is still difficult to control.

Hopefully Saturday's free-kick will not be the last I score here, but if we go on to win the World Cup, I will be happy never to score a free-kick again.

onefootball
 

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One thing,

It was Didi who invented the "Folha Seca" not Garrincha!;) Roberto Carlos is not up todate with his history..... about to years ago hedin't know who Ghiggia was!:eek: :eek: :(
 

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EXCLUSIVE England stand in way of my dream

Thursday 20th June 2002

by Roberto Carlos

I believed all along that the World Cup final would be between Brazil and Italy, so it came as a major surprise when they were knocked out by South Korea. It means that there is even more at stake in our game with England.

It also shows that you can take nothing for granted, but the reason I think we will still get there is because not only have we got great attacking players, but we also have great defenders.

This is crucial because people forget that winning the World Cup is not all about scoring many goals, it is about picking up the 1-0 wins in very tight and tense games.

I think our defence is very under-rated. Some people think it is the worst part of our team but, naturally, I disagree. We have had more problems getting our attack right, than our defence. People also think it is a problem that we have defenders who like to get forward. But we know our responsibilities.

I am more mature and wiser these days anyway, I don't just attack wildly. I look for the appropiate moment to join the attack without compromising my team mates. When you are young, you don´t think twice about racing forward.

Of course, England present a big hurdle for us in the quarter-finals. They are a very strong side also, and, for me, this is now the key game of the tournament.

Whoever wins this game on Friday can go on to win the tournament. It is like the another final in many respects, and it would be a great achievement if we could defeat England and go on to win the World Cup.

I have great respect for European football in general. I have learned much from my time in Europe, and benefitted greatly from the experience as both a player and a person.

It was very tough for me when I first arrived in Milan in 1995. It was my first time abroad, I was away from my family for several months, and everything was very different.

But I think that my character helped me through those initial times. I am a very open person, and I met some really good people who I became friends with. It was the same in Madrid. Everything is perfect there now, my family is settled and my daughter Roberta even plays for an amateur team in the city.

It is not always easy for South Americans to settle in to the different style and culture of Europe, but it just takes time. Look at Pablo Aimar at Valencia. Now he has settled, he is showing how good he is.

Sometimes it is about the personality of the player, rather than where he is from. Take Nicolas Anelka, and he is from France. He is a good guy, but he was having problems in adapting in Madrid and that affects your play.

It is worth trying though, because, professionally, Europe is the biggest challenge. I will always love the Brazilian league, but the Spanish competition is the one of many stars. I feel lucky to be able to play in it.

And I still continue to learn. You should always do that, no matter who you are or who you think you are. For example, there is much more of a team style in Europe, where every one plays as a unit. In Brazil it is more about the individual.

It can be tough though. The Spanish league is really hard and intense, especially when you play for Real, who must win all the time.

There was no rest for me before that finished and the World Cup, and I have to be careful with my knee, because although I am fully fit, it can still be sore. Anyway, a sore knee will not stop me doing my best for my country.

The World Cup is all that matters now.

onefootball ;)
 
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