Cafu - Brazil's untiring and reliable right-back

Cafu played in four World Cups, from 1994 to 2006, and featured in three consecutive finals (1994, 1998 and 2002) - a record that's not about to be broken anytime soon.

Cafu led Brazil to 2-0 win over Germany in the final of 2002 World Cup.   -  AFP

The trophy presentation after the final will be one of the enduring images from the 2002 World Cup. Brazil's captain, Cafu, is about to be handed the trophy by Sepp Blatter and Pele when he pauses. He notices the small glass podium on which the trophy rested and decides he wants to climb onto it. He starts patting the podium with both hands, then animatedly telling Blatter and Pele he wants to be up there. As people support him from below, Cafu clambers on to receive the trophy.

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"It could have cracked at any moment!" he said in an interview years later. "But I was just blind – I told Sepp Blatter and Pele to hold me up there because I was a world champion. When I felt it was steady enough, all I could think of was lifting that trophy as high as I could. It was the best moment of my life."

Marcos Evangelista de Morais 'Cafu', Brazil's understated captain in a team of Ronaldo, Rivaldo, and Ronaldinho, was an untiring, reliable right-back. He played in four World Cups, from 1994 to 2006, and featured in three consecutive finals (1994, 1998 and 2002) - a record that's not about to be broken anytime soon. Cafu is also Brazil's most-capped player, with 142 appearances.

 

He made his World Cup debut in 1994, under Carlos Alberto Parreira. He was second-choice to Jorginho and had made a few substitute appearances when, in the final, he was suddenly asked to come on after 21 minutes. Parreira asked him if he was ready. "Oh my, I've been ready for a long time," Cafu later recounted in an interview as thinking. "I can't wait to play. I wouldn't even need to warm up."

Brazil went on to beat Italy on penalties. The Selecao seemed set for an encore in 1998 until they ran into a hugely talented French side in the final. In 2002, though, with Cafu as captain, Brazil would win its fifth World Cup.