Brazil icon Roberto Carlos has revealed that he was ‘very close’ to joining Chelsea in 2007, only for the transfer to collapse at the last minute.
The former defender was a free agent at the time, having parted company with Real Madrid after 11 trophy-laden years at Santiago Bernabeu.
‘I had two proposals, Fenerbahce and Chelsea,’ Carlos told Goal after the Challenge Heineken Legends. ‘Chelsea didn’t work out so I signed for Fenerbahce.
‘But, with Chelsea, it got very close. It was literally agreed and I just had to go there and sign the contract.
‘It was just a week before I signed for Fenerbahce and I had been to Paris to meet both Roman Abramovich and [former chief executive] Peter Kenyon.
‘Unfortunately, in the final moments something didn’t work out just before finalising, which happens a lot in football. There was an issue with the lawyer.
‘It was all agreed, though, and I am 100% sure I would have done well in the Premier League and it would have suited my characteristics.’
Carlos also revealed that he could even have ended up in England as a 22-year-old.
‘I was still playing in Brazil with Palmeiras when Aston Villa came in for me in 1995 but they couldn’t afford the deal,’ he explained. ‘After that, I went to Inter.’
Carlos, of course, endured a difficult season in Italy but then went on to establish himself as one of the finest left backs of all time, after joining Madrid in 1997.
He won three Champions Leagues and four Liga titles with the Blancos, while he also lifted the World Cup in 2002.
Brazil have not been crowned world champions since, but Carlos is optimistic about his country’s latest crop of young players.
‘Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo of Real Madrid are the future, along with Flamengo’s Gerson,’ he declared. ‘These are the guys I am most excited about.
‘All three are fantastic players and they will be very successful.’
As for his own position, Carlos believes that compatriot Marcelo is now the reference point for all aspiring left backs.
‘I feel like I was an example to follow after what I achieved, just like what Marcelo is doing now in Real Madrid,’ he argued. ‘People will follow Marcelo just as they followed me.’
Roberto Carlos took part in the F1 Esports #ChallengeHeinekenLegends, on Sunday, 17 May. Search #ChallengeHeinekenLegends or visit https://www.heineken.com/ for more info.
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