February 12th 2012. The Bernabeu honoured Roberto Carlos. Good evening.
That’s true. It was a very important day in my life, it was a little different because in the past I had always been in the stadium to play. So for receiving this kind of enormous homage I have to thank Florentino Perez and the fans. And I was also very happy with the way the players and the coach recieved me, to see my friends. Chendo, Manolin, Manolo, Jorge, all the friends from my time here. It’s also true that from the morning right through to 23.30 it was a really important day for me.
You went up the stairs from the tunnel and heard the fans shouting your name. What did it feel like walking onto the pitch after 11 seasons and seeing all the fans greeting you on their feet. Everybody wished you their best, showing the greatest respect and admiration for the best left-back in the history of football.
Statistics maybe say so, but there’s also been Camacho and other great full backs. I tried to entertain the public and enjoy football, and tried to win as many titles as possible. Also during my time I really enjoyed playing with Beckham, Raul, Zidane, Karambeu, Makelele, Bodo Ilgner, Clarence Seedorf… It’s so easy to play with these types of players. Know the people who were with you is the significant thing about our era. We lived through some incredible moments at the Bernabeu. When you put on the Real shirt you know it’s something special. There were occasional bad days, like the odd Clasico against Barcelona, but in the 11 years I spent wearing the Real Madrid shirt I think I gave the the fans more joy than sadness.
The other day I thought you looked a little uncomfortable. You are a man who is always very sure of himself, but you went down on to the pitch, hurrying along, and then ran off...What were you thinking at that moment?
I'm not used to it. When I come out of the tunnel it is always to play a game and this time it was to receive tribute. Also, you kind of get the feeling that everything is coming to an end. I have been a player for 22 or 23 years, since I started in 1988 in Brazil. I then went to Inter Milan and the story goes on until now at Anzhi Makhachkala. The feeling I had was that the next time I visited the Bernabeu would be to play. I obviously hope I can can come here to play the Santiago Bernabeu Trophy with my current club, but what I got the other day was sort of like a farewell, and it felt strange. It was nothing more than this. I was tense, returning to the pitch at the Bernabeu after five years away, to be close to the fans, it was more about the circumstances. I´m used to playing football, but this was to receive an award, getting cheers from the crowd… I have celebrated a lot of goals with my fans, but now people were applauding me for having a long history at Real Madrid. That was what was passing through my head, and making me think.
Did you always want to be a football player?
Always. When you start you don't know how far you'll go. It depends on luck and quality. My mom used to say I had a special sort of light that transmitted something good. I started playing bask in '81.
Who was your idol?
My dad and I are Santos supporters and I always carried Pele's picture and that of other Santos players with me.
Zizu has also signed it. Why does he write “Where are you silly?”
Zidane was the best player in the team along with Ronaldo. They were incredible. Thank you very much.
You became an adult here, were a team captain, became a leading figure in the dressing room… Now there are two captains, Casillas and Sergio Ramos. They both adore you and you adore them. It's difficult to be a captain at Real Madrid, isn't it?
Not it isn't. Not at all. In order to be captain of Real Madrid a player must be proud to have that position at this club. And it is very easy. You have to assume the responsibility when things go badly, and just work your way in when you win titles, when you speak to the President, when you have to appeal for calm from the fans, when you concede a penalty in the 91st minute against our rival or they score a goal…It’s very easy to be a Real Madrid captain. It’s great fun to be the captain here. It´s the greatest honour a player can have, to be captain at a great club like Real Madrid. You don't suffer great pressure; it's just a matter of great pride.
Casillas says he was crying in the bathroom after winning the ninth European Cup title and that you stayed with him. How was that?
Each of us has his own feeling. I wanted to console him. I didn't want him to cry after the saves he did. I wanted to see him celebrate the title and enjoy himself with us. I went through something similar in important games to win titles. You have to cry with joy, but I thought he was very tense after the match. I told him we had just won a very important title for the club and that he had to celebrate with the people.
Was Clarence Seedorf, one of your best friends?
Tell me the story about when you and him once rang people’s doorbells.
That was way back then. He was such a child! We used to arrive at the hotel around 8 pm, and then we’d havee dinner at 8.30 or 9. Around 9.30, we would be in our rooms and I remember Seedorf had some creams in his room. His hair was very long, and for 2 or 3 hours I wasn’t allowed to go into his room because the cream had an awful smell. I used to tell him that he needed to shave his hair off. I spent more time with Clarence Seedorf than with my family during that period.
It seems Cristiano scored that amazing goal on Saturday as a homage to you...
There was something there. We spoke in the dressing room. Very few can hit the ball the way he does. He said he and I knew how to score goals like that. Beckham also had a special touch on ball. Cristiano is a phenomenon.
Mourinho looked excited to greet you at Valdebebas the other day.
I've had men like Capello or Del Bosque as coaches, but whenever I'm asked who the best in the world is at a club level I always think Mourinho's track record is incredible. All teams and players want to have him as their coach. I would love him to be my coach or to be the manager at a club I work for.
What do you think of the team's chances?
They are doing very well in La Liga and they have a great chance to reach the semis in the UCL. I think they'll defeat CSKA, whom I know well, because of the home advantage in the return leg.
What was Roberto Carlos's happiest day as a Real Madrid player?
Every day was. From the days at the old Cuidad Deportiva to the new training facility at Valdebebas. The trips to training, around Spain, around the World… The preseasons in the United States, China, Japan… Wherever we went. I enjoyed every day and I continue to enjoy every day as a football player.
Will the team celebrate in Cibeles this year?
Let's wait, but I'm sure of it.
It’s been an absolute pleasure to interview the best left back of all time, and above all, one of the best people that you could hope to meet.
Thanks very much, and likewise to you.