Roberto Carlos to finish playing in December
© AFP

Brazilian FIFA World Cup™-winner Roberto Carlos has told a Spanish sports paper he will finish his playing career in December this year at Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala. The 38-year-old, a FIFA World Cup winner in 2002 and finalist in 1998, as well as a legendary former player at Real Madrid, says his player/manager contract at the Russian club lets him hang up his boots this year.

"My contract as a player with Anzhi ends in June 2013. But in December I have the possibility to stop playing," he was quoted as telling Spain's biggest-selling sports daily Marca. "After that I will carry on in the club as assistant to the chairman Suleyman Kerimov ... He has asked me to help create a structure in the club for the next ten years," he said in the interview. 

"I am not going because I am injured. But I am going because my sporting career is already complete. I have been with Palmeiras, Inter, Real Madrid... I have lived everything I had to live as a player."

I am going because my sporting career is already complete. I have been with Palmeiras, Inter, Real Madrid... I have lived everything I had to live as a player.
Roberto Carlos on why he is hanging up his boots this year

As well as the FIFA World Cup, Carlos took three UEFA Champions League titles and three Spanish championships with the help of fellow Brazilian Ronaldo and French international Zinedine Zidane at Real Madrid. If one match stood out in his career, the left-winger told Marca, it would be the Real Madrid-Juventus Champions League final in 1998, which delivered the Spanish club's seventh Champions League win after a long drought.

"It meant a lot to me and to all the Madrid fans. We won the title after 32 years... the only thing that annoys me is that I could not win the Cup," Carlos said. "Two goals will stay with me. The one I scored with Brazil against France from a free kick (in the 1997 Confederations Cup). The effect was fantastic. And the one I scored from a corner with Real Madrid against Tenerife (bending the ball from the corner into the net in February 1998)."

Carlos said he believed he and fellow Brazilian great Cafu had shown that that wingers can do more than defend. "We were very much on the offensive but they criticized us, too."