Indian soccer fans went into frenzy when the Indian Super League (ISL) football franchise Delhi Dynamos announced the signing of Brazil legend Roberto Carlos as the marquee player-manager for the tournament’s second edition scheduled from October 3rd.
The 42-year-old former defender, who is widely considered as one of the greatest full-backs of all time, has won the FIFA World Cup, UEFA Champions League, La Liga, Copa America in his glorious career.
The former Real Madrid player will replace Belgian coach Harm Van Veldhoven, under whom Dynamos finished fifth in the last season, missing the semifinal spots by just a point.
This season, the aim for the left-back will be to guide his team into the playoffs, but Carlos is already thinking of winning the title alongwith playing good football.
“I am excited to be here. I promise to work hard and try to win the trophy for the Dynamos.”
Carlos had announced his retirement from competitive football In August 2012. But the Brazilian feels he is still game for some more on-field action. “I know I can play. I believe if I wasn’t able to get ready physically, mentally and psychologically I wouldn’t have played.
“My last game was 20 days ago and I scored two goals. Physically, I feel good as a player and coach. I want to play, touch the ball and score goals. Football is my life,” he said.
With an experience of 125 international caps and around 24 trophies to his name, Carlos is no stranger to success.
Known for his easy going demeanour, the former Los Blancos player wants to bring calmness into his coaching. “The biggest coaches in the world work simple. I am a very easy coach. My idea is to understand the Indian players and to understand the philosophy of Dynamos.”
Carlos, whose heroics saw him finish runners-up for the World Player of The Year Award in 1997, UEFA Defender of The Year (2002, 2003), will have a tough task in his hands as he makes a foray into the unknown, but the defender is all set for the new challenge. “Always the most difficult task is the easiest. You have to be intelligent and know how to work.”
One of the world’s best dead-ball experts, Carlos, is on a mission to not only win titles, but also help Indian football evolve in the coming future. “I’ve come here for the development of Indian football and not just to honour my contract. I want the national squad of Indian football team to get the benefit out of it. I believe within one or two years Indian players will witness an evolution like never before. Our goal will be to make sure that the players play for win. You’ll see the same with Delhi Dynamos this year.”
Carlos has a talented bunch of Indian players in the squad in striker Robin Singh and former India number one goalkeeper Subhasish Roy Chowdhury.
The 42-year-old, who has managerial experience with Turkish sides Sivasspor and Akhisar Belediyespor, will benefit from couple of notable foreign signings, which include former Liverpool Champions League winner, John Arne Riise and Former Chelsea winger, Florent Malouda.
Delhi have also signed former England U-17 player, Adil Nabi, who has been brought in on loan from EPL side West Brom. Other new signings include the likes of Chicao, Toni Doblas, Serginho Greene, Bernard Morrison and Richard Gadze.
The Delhi Dynamos start their ISL campaign with an away match against FC Goa at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Fatorda, on October 4th.
Goalkeeper: Subhasish Roy Chowdhury, Toni Doblas, Ravi Kumar
Defenders: Roberto Carlos, Chicao, Anwar Ali, John Arne Riise (C), Robert Lalthlamuana, Naoba Singh, Prabir Das, Anas Edathodika
Midfielders: Serginho Greene, Hans Mulder, Francis Fernandes, Gunashekar Vignesh, Zodingliana Ralte, Florent Malouda, Souvik Chakraborty, Sehnaj Singh, Shylo Malsawmtluanga
Forwards: Robin Singh, Vinicius Ferreira De Souza, Adil Nabi, Gustavo Marmentini, Seminlen Doungel, Richard Gadze.