Think of Brazilian left-backs and one name springs to mind: Roberto Carlos. The legendary defender has won almost every conceivable trophy during his long career, including the FIFA World Cup™, Copa America and UEFA Champions League, not to mention the Spanish and Brazilian national titles and numerous other cups and individual awards.
"There are always more trophies to win in football," said Carlos in an exclusive interview with FIFA.com, before explaining his reasons for joining Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala at the start of the year: "The club owner [Suleiman] Kerimov's project appealed to me. He wants to build a great team here and I wanted to be a part of it."
Carlos for President?
"Makhachkala gave me a very warm welcome," continued the 38-year-old. "We've had some fantastic support, no matter what recent results have been like. I want to help the team to win the championship and the cup." Anzhi currently lie seven points adrift of league leaders CSKA Moscow in fifth place with 16 matches played.
Carlos is wholly expecting to fulfil his two-year contract before ending his career as a player and potentially taking over as club president: "I'll be in Russia for a long time yet, helping to turn Anzhi into a top club, where hopefully many more of my fellow countrymen will play."
Until then, the defender is focusing on his on-pitch performances, just as he did for Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Fenerbahce during his European heyday. The veteran full-back revealed that his best years came at Real - unsurprising considering he won 13 pieces of silverware during his time at the Bernabeu.
Further to his success at club level, Carlos was regarded as one of the best left-backs in international football for many years, forming an integral part of Brazil's 2002 FIFA World Cup-winning side in Korea/Japan. "He can do anything with that left foot: shoot, cross, pass," said former Germany legend Gunter Netzer on the iconic defender.
Another world-class player in his day, Italy's Antonio Cabrini, had this to say: "Roberto Carlos is like a striker in disguise. He's brilliant at coming from midfield and moving towards the opponents' box."
Making full use of thigh muscles measuring almost 60 centimetres around, Carlos thumped in 11 goals during his 14-year national-team career. Almost all of them were spectacular, but one in particular will forever remain in the memories of football fans around the globe.
On 3 June 1997, France played host to Brazil in Le Tournoi. With 21 minutes on the clock, the South Americans were awarded a free-kick around 25 metres from goal. Carlos took a mammoth run-up before unleashing a wicked left-foot strike which bent unimaginably around the wall, searing past the bemused French goalkeeper Fabien Barthez before nestling into the right-hand corner. Afterwards, one university began a study into the ball's seemingly-impossible flight path.
2014 title possible
"That was my most spectacular goal," confirmed Carlos. "I can still remember our coach at the time, Mario Zagallo, betting someone on the bench that I would score before I took it."
Carlos announced his retirement from international football shortly after earning his 125th and final cap in A Seleção's quarter-final exit from Germany 2006. It is a decision he insists he has never regretted, even in view of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in his homeland: "It's time for the younger players to prove themselves. I hope they can do it."
And despite A Verde e Amarelo falling short at South Africa 2010, Carlos remains confident the five-time world champions will mount a serious challenge come Brazil 2014: "Of course it's possible, why not?"