Brazilian football legend Roberto Carlos will be the marquee player and manager of Delhi Dynamos in the second edition of the Indian Super League (ISL).
Promising to play “good football”, the former Real Madrid star vowed to give his all with the aim of winning the trophy. He has agreed to a one-year contract with the franchise and replaces Dutchman Harm Van Veldhoven as the manager and Italian legend Alessandro del Piero as the marquee footballer.
“I am excited to be here. I promise to work hard and try to win the trophy for the Dynamos,” the 42-year-old said here on Thursday.
The Brazilian became the second high profile player after Frenchman Nicolas Anleka to be associated with the glamorous football league in a marquee player-cum-manager capacity. Anelka was earlier roped in by Mumbai City FC.
It will be the former defender’s second stint as player-coach after operating in a similar capacity for Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012 for five matches.
Insisting he is still in top physical condition to play competitive football again, after retiring in 2012, Carlos said the decision of his “comeback” to active play is to give continuity to a process that started way back in 1988.
“I have recently played in Real Madrid Legends vs Liverpool Legends match (June 14) where I scored two goals from the penalty. I practice everyday despite being a coach now. I wouldn’t have agreed to play had I not been convinced about my capability now. I know I can still play at a top level,” he said.
The left back’s earlier forays into coaching ended in disappointment as he was forced to resign only 18 months into his job after a string of unimpressive performances at Turkish club Sivasspor. He then associated with another Turkish side Akhisar Belediyespor as a technical director only to deliver disappointing results.
But the 42-year-old hopes his vast experience of being the second-highest capped Brazilian with 125 appearances, behind Cafu (142) and over 20 years in top-tier football, including 11 trophy-filled seasons at Real Madrid keeps him in good stead in his latest endeavour.
Identifying his primary task would be to “synchronise” Indian and foreign players of his team, he said he would strive to build a “strong” unit that would challenge for the title. Dynamos failed to qualify for the semifinals last season, finishing fifth in the 8-team league.
Dynamos would try to bring another marquee player before the July 31 transfer deadline, he said.
“My coaching style will be collective. My first task is to adapt to the environment here. I am ready to play,” the 2002 World Cup-winner declared.
Carlos said his rich haul of major international and club trophies — one World Cup, two Copa America and three Champions League titles — would facilitate the transition of the Indian footballers’ in his team from the club to the international level. He said he is aware of the standards of Indian football.
“I have seen video footages of Dynamos’ last season’s matches. I would strive to help the Indian footballers of my team break into the national team. I want more Dynamos players than before to represent India in international matches,” the Sao Paulo-born said.
The burly defender also supported compatriot and FC Goa coach Zico’s intention of contesting for the FIFA presidential elections, saying he was the “ideal” candidate for the post and rated current ‘Selecao’ star Neymar above current footballing mega stars Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.