Friday, September 08, 2006
Flamboyant and Flawed
Many Brazil nostalgics will see this as a great loss. On the contrary, I see it as good news for Brazil, who have relied on their flashy left-back far too much in recent years.
The Real Madrid man possesses many fine qualities, without doubt. He is at times blisteringly fast, has a mighty left foot, and, like all Brazilians, is capable of beguiling trickery on the ball.
Yet, in essence, he is a somewhat two-dimensional player. His crossing has always been quite poor, he rarely shows much imagination in his passing, and his much-lauded free kicks tend to rebound off the defensive wall far more often than they trouble the opposing goalkeeper.
But these are relatively small criticisms. The greatest problem with Roberto Carlos’s play has always been that, for a supposed defender, he has great trouble defending.
Part of this is due to his showman’s instincts. He never adopts the simple course when an extravagant solution prevents itself, and never was this more in evidence than at the 1998 World Cup. In the latter stages of the competition, his tendency to play to the gallery cost his side dearly.
Against Denmark, with Brazil leading 2-1, a ball looped up in the Brazilian area shortly after half-time. Roberto Carlos, rather than clearing the ball in a more mundane manner, attempted a spectacular overhead kick. He missed almost completely, and landed in a heap on the turf, presenting Brian Laudrup with an equalising goal.
And few people remember that France’s first goal in the final was indirectly due to another ill-advised piece of showboating from Roberto Carlos. Running down a bouncing ball by the touchline, last touched by a member of his own team, he juggled neatly a few times before hooking the ball clear. Unfortunately, he had allowed the ball to creep over the by-line…and from Emanuel Petit’s corner, Zinedine Zidane scored the first of his two headed goals.
France proved Brazil’s nemesis in the recent World Cup as well, beating them by a single goal in Frankfurt. And who was it that allowed Thierry Henry the freedom of the penalty box to ghost onto Zidane’s free kick and score? Step forward again, Roberto Carlos.
He has nominated Gilberto of Hertha Berlin – something of a late bloomer – as a likely replacement, and indeed the German-based left-back looked a lively, incisive replacement in Brazil’s game against Japan. On the other wing, it is emphatically time to give the excellent Cicinho the right-back slot, now that Cafu has outlived his (admittedly considerable) usefulness.
It would be nice to see a more youthful Brazil at the next World Cup; Carlos Alberto Parreira’s selections in Germany betrayed an excessive reverence for the past. The retirement of Roberto Carlos, even if it may seem cruel to say so, is a step in the right direction.
also went to adelaide vs newcastle tonight...despite not being able to feel my feet at the end of the game was a great game!
qu and rech are irreplaceble for us, no doubt about that.
aloisi under pressure to be dropped gave a good performance.
great to see us spank a team finally. bajic has improved at least 400% since 2 years ago. constanzo was brilliant...always will be a crowd favourite despite his differences with kossie.
petta looks exactly like i thought he would be like. a very lazy player with an undeniable touch of class
dont know how it looked on tv but was a good game to watch from the stands...lots of chances for both teams...
newcastles defence would be a big worry for them. would still love nicky carle to play for us despite his glaring misses. even from an adelaide fan, up there with the best players to watch in the a-league
Still, a good read.
My point was more that even when RC was called upon to do some defending, he often still played as if he were attacking. From what I've seen of Cicinho (chiefly at the Confed Cup last year), he does get caught upfield a lot (like RC), but when he has to defend, he can tackle, he can mark.
Shaun: I've heard some good things about Marcelo, haven't actually seen him in action yet. He's still very young, yeah?
I remember him making an embarrassingly inept and lazy attempt of defending against his opposing winger (I think it was against Malaga) for RM last season, around March. First he missed his tackle completely, then amazingly didn't make any effort to get off his arse to track back and cover as the winger advanced into the box and I think set up a goal or one of the many clear chances Malaga failed to take advantage of in that game.
Of course, this is only one instance and he may well have just been another RM player to not really give a hoot, but at this stage I'd be more interested in Daniel Alves when it comes to a new Brazlian NT RB. Cicinho can play on the right of midfield too.
scored a cracking goal and was brilliant going forward
be interesting to see how he defends against stronger opposition though