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Roberto Carlos

Country: Brazil
Club: Real Madrid
History: Roberto Carlos, full name Roberto Carlos da Silva (born April 10, 1973 in Garça, São Paulo), is a Brazilian footballer. This short, but strong and very fast left wingback is known for his trademark super-powerful low-driving free-kicks. He currently plays for Real Madrid where he has extended his contract until 2007, making him the illustrious club's longest serving foreign superstar. He has also captained the team on a couple of occasions.

On the club level, Roberto Carlos has played for Palmeiras, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid. He has 105 caps for Brazil, and helped his country win the World Cup in 2002 after finishing second in 1998. In 1998 semifinals against Netherlands, he almost scored a spectacular bicycle kick golden goal, but the Dutch goalkeeper somehow punched it out of the box. In the ensuing penalty kick shootout, Roberto Carlos was selected to kick last for Brazil, but his effort was not needed as Brazilian goalkeeper Claudio Taffarel stopped the last two Dutch attempts to win it 4-2. In 2002, Roberto Carlos silenced Chinese optimism by scoring the first of four Brazil goal with a free-kick in the 4-0 victory. He is perhaps most famous for scoring an incredible 25-yard free kick against France in 1997, when the ball seemed to be heading wide off the leftmost man in the French wall, Didier Deschamps, before taking an amazing left swerve, leaving goalkeeper Fabien Barthez stunned. He was said to spend 40 minutes a day practicing his free kick.

He was named by Pelé as one of the top 125 greatest living footballers in March 2004. Roberto Carlos is divorced with three children.

On June 24, 2005, Roberto Carlos was robbed by two gunmen while doing a live radio interview. However, the robbers did not harm him, merely taking his watch and the interviewer's cellphone.

On August 2, 2005, Roberto Carlos received Spanish citizenship but maintained his Brazilian nationality as well. This proved important for Real, as it meant that he now counted as a European Union player, opening up one of the club's allowed three slots for non-EU players and enabling Real to sign fellow Brazilian star Robinho.

Training tip:

Video: Robert Carlos Free Kick

Sources: Wikipedia

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