- The Brazilian holds the record for most Confederations Cup appearances (22)
- He contested five editions and won two, in 1997 and 2005
- "Germany are the hot favourites in Russia," the former goalkeeper said
The laughter stemmed from the fact that he knew nothing about his record until he got the call from FIFA.com. However, it did not take him long to digest the information and soon enough he was talking about how much his historic tally meant to him. Indeed, it was with a mixture of pride and a hint of wistfulness that Dida, who is embarking on a coaching career after having hung up his gloves, looked back on his success with the Brazilian national team.
"That was a very important period of my life, so that figure makes me feel very happy." This was the reaction of the Confederations Cup's all-time leading appearance-maker – with 22 outings in the tournament – right after finding out about his record. "It's a number that definitely demonstrates that I was an important player for my country at the time. And it's going to be difficult for anyone to catch me because the competition is every four years now, whereas originally it was every two."
We took a trip down memory lane and into Confederations Cup history with the former shot-stopper
Saudi Arabia 1997
A Brazil team with an embarrassment of attacking riches beat Australia 6-0 in the final. The players available to coach Mario Zagallo that day included a certain Romario, Ronaldo and Rivaldo.
"Who was the best of the lot? [Laughing] It's very hard to say. It was a fantastic experience, though. We had a very tight-knit, good-humoured group and an excellent team out on the pitch. Personally speaking, I gained a lot from training with those players. I learned a great deal from them because of their great technique and quality. As for Zagallo, he was very close to the players, very communicative, and left no stone unturned in his analysis. He knew football inside out."
Brazil fell to the hosts 4-3 in a thrilling final at the Azteca.
"Ronaldinho was a magical player. He could play anywhere across the attack and he did things with the ball that no one else could even imagine. He was fast too; he was a really complete player, but Mexico turned in a great performance in the final. Both sides came out all guns blazing and that's why it was such a high-scoring game. It was a great match to be a part of, with both teams going for it. Unfortunately we lost it, but the Mexicans had some great players and ran their hearts out."
Brazil finished fourth after succumbing 2-1 to eventual champions France in the semi-finals and then losing 1-0 to Australia in the play-off for third place.
"It left us with a sense of failure. We were in a bad place going into the tournament. We lacked confidence in the coach and weren't properly prepared, but there was one positive in that it flagged up the problems. Changes were made and we went to the World Cup the following year with a different team, a different structure, and won it.
"The World Cup is the most important competition for any player, even if you don't play. Even if you're on the bench, it doesn't matter: you still feel the atmosphere and get that adrenaline rush during every match. Nothing else compares. I always felt like part of the team. The World Cup is an amazing spectacle."
Brazil bowed out at the group stage after finishing third in their group, behind Cameroon and Turkey. The tournament, which was again won by France, was overshadowed by the death of Cameroon's Marc-Vivien Foe.
"The memories are tinged with deep sadness. We all know about the struggles involved in being a player, and the loss of a team-mate and peer in such a dramatic manner can't fail to resonate with all footballers."
"That triumph tasted all the sweeter because we beat Argentina in the final. It's one of the classic fixtures in world football. Argentina were favourites but all that goes out of the window at kick-off and we were well on top right from the beginning of the game. We pulled out all the stops and it was a great victory that filled the Brazilian people with joy."
"Germany are the hot favourites. They've come on in leaps and bounds in recent years. They always go into every competition in very strong shape."
Did you know that Dida…?
Won the Copa Libertadores with Cruzeiro (in 1997)
Was a two-time UEFA Champions League winner with AC Milan (in 2003 and 2007)
Also won the FIFA Club World Cup twice (in 2000 with Corinthians and in 2007 with Milan)
Was a member of the Brazil squad at three FIFA World Cups™: France 1998 (where they were runners-up), Korea/Japan 2002 (where they were crowned champions) and Germany 2006 (where they reached the quarter-finals)