Roberto Carlos's only World Cup goal came in a 4-0 thumping of China in a Group B game in 2002. It was the type of goal the world has come to associate with Carlos: a thumping, outward-curling free-kick that crashed into the net from 30 yards out.
Carlos was man-of-the-match that day; Japan-South Korea 2002 was arguably his best World Cup, as Brazil sealed a fifth title. In 1998, Carlos, a powerful, blisteringly quick left-back with tree-trunks for thighs ("The left one is 58cm and the right one is 60cm – and they're totally natural, they run in the family. I don't work at these. I have to buy very, very big trousers but, no, I don’t have to order them specially," he once said in an interview) finished on the losing side in the final.
It was a game Brazil will remember for other reasons. Ronaldo -- who it was later stated had suffered a seizure -- was left out of the starting XI before being mysteriously included again just ahead of kick-off.
Conspiracy theories abound and it is still not clear what exactly transpired that day. Carlos was Ronaldo's room-mate in the team hotel. "The pressure had got to him and he couldn’t stop crying,” he said later, in an interview. “Here was a twenty-one-year-old player, the best player in the world, surrounded by contracts and pressure. Something had to give. And when it did, it happened to be the day of the World Cup final.”
Defence was not Carlos's strong suit. He was criticized after the 1998 World Cup final, a game in which the whole Brazilian defence seemed disjointed. In 2006 -- Carlos's third and final World Cup -- Brazil stumbled against France again, this time in the quarterfinals.
Carlos was definitely at fault here, failing to track back and pick up Thierry Henry, who drifted into the box unmarked to head home the game's only goal.
Roberto Carlos FIFA World Cup stats
Tournaments: 3 (98, 02, 06)
Appearances: 17 (13W, 1D, 3L)
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