The legendary Roberto Carlos in the CONMEBOL Copa América2023-04-10
One of the best left-backs in the history of football and standout player for the Brazilian national team that won the CONMEBOL Copa América in 1997 and 1999, in addition to becoming world champion in 2002, Roberto Carlos turns 50.
With remarkable speed, power and intelligence, as well as unrivalled determination when facing the opponent’s goal, Roberto Carlos made history with the traditional yellow jersey in four editions of the CONMEBOL Copa América.
He played the tournament for the first time in 1993, when Brazil fell in the quarterfinals. His second appearance was in the 1995 edition, when they lost the final to Uruguay in the penalty shootout.
Roberto Carlos returned to the CONMEBOL Copa América in consecutive editions in Bolivia 1997 and Paraguay 1999. Despite not scoring a single goal, he played a decisive role in Brazil’s success in both tournaments.
In an exclusive interview for CONMEBOL, Roberto Carlos commented on the affection he has for the 1997 trophy, saying that it was the most important in his career as a footballer, «because lifting that Cup was the beginning of my career growth. The CONMEBOL Copa América is everything to me», remarked the Brazilian legend.
«The first CONMEBOL Copa América I lifted, which actually weighed a lot… That moment is really unique for me. That was the moment when my career began, where my story as a player began», revealed Roberto Carlos.
In 1997, Brazil won the CONMEBOL Copa América outside their territory for the first time, defeating Bolivia 3-1 in the decisive match. «In that final, the altitude ended up hurting the local team, because we were faster and were able to overcome them thanks to our quality», he recalled.
In 1999, Roberto Carlos and the Brazilian team beat Uruguay 3-0 in the final, but acknowledged the most difficult moment of the campaign was the match against «traditional rival» Argentina.
«I remember being under a lot of pressure, as we started that match badly, one goal behind. But fortunately we managed to use our talent to stand out and turn the scoreboard, with increased intensity», he said.
Roberto Carlos became a decisive and historic player for the Brazilian national team, which he represented for more than 15 years, as part of a golden generation who led the side to the utmost top of the continent and the world.