|Spelling||Marcos de Moraes|
|Desc||The last captain to lift the World Cup trophy for Brazil, Cafu was one of the most dependable full-backs you could possibly wish for. Cafu was a true leader in every sense of the word and, while not as bombastic as Roberto Carlos on the opposite flank, he was capable of fulfilling every task required of a full-back to the very highest standard|
|Org||Brazil National Team|
|Club as Player||AC Milan|
|Sao Paulo FC|
- 1998 07 12
- World Cup 1998 final where France defeat Brazil 3-0. Zinedine Zidane score 2 goals with assist from Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. also final goal came from Emmanuel Petit with assist by Patrick Vieira
2017 06 03 Retrieve
[Cafu weighs up the chances of Germany at this summer’s FIFA Confederations Cup] The Germany squad is packed with an amazing amount of talent. They might be young but they’ve shown what they can do on the international stage and in the Bundesliga, and they’ll be looking to back that up now in the Confederations Cup. For many of them, it will be their first major championship with their ‘A’ national team, which at same time, means a great responsibility as they will be representing the current world champions
2008 10 01 Retrieve
[Cafu says he could retire in january] I have not decided anything yet, but in January I will take a final decision on whether to continue playing or to stop. I have offers, both from Brazil and from abroad. Where would I play? It depends on the coach and his formation, although playing out wide would obviously be more complicated for me. I think the summit of my career came in 2002 when we won the World Cup. I have won everything a player can win, and I have done everything there is to do in football
2019 05 31 Retrieve
[q: You were rejected by Corinthians, Palmeiras, Santos and Atletico Mineiro as a kid – why do you think they all failed to see your potential when Sao Paulo did?] Sao Paulo initially rejected me, too! Most coaches told me to come back the following week. I never gave up. I had to play for a small team called Itaquaquecetuba. Eventually, after I did well in a friendly against Sao Paulo, academy coach Carlinhos Neves spotted me. Today it’s tougher for kids who don’t have a good agent. Those who do, play almost anywhere. Hard work was enough in my day.
[q: Is it true you were a midfielder in your youth? If so, how did your switch to full-back come about?] I started as a winger. Then one day, Sao Paulo’s right-back, Ze Teodoro, got injured and our coach, Tele Santana, wanted me to play in that position for three games while he recovered. And that was that. I trusted Santana.
Despite our good relationship, I didn’t really enjoy being a full-back at first – I had to learn how to cross in a different way, and it took a while – but when Paulo Roberto Falcao called me into the Brazil squad in 1990, I knew Santana was right. Nothing meant more to me than playing for the Seleção.
[q: I read that you were linked with a move to Real Madrid early in your career, but they signed your back-up at Sao Paulo, Vitor, instead. Did that irritate you? How different do you think your career would have been had you moved to Madrid at that stage?] Who knows how things could have worked out? It could have been even worse; maybe I wouldn’t be a world champion today if I had gone there at that time. Back then I was very upset, naturally. The Spanish came to talk to me, but then Sao Paulo’s chairman said he would have to resign if I left.
I was flattered to be seen as so important, but I did still want to go to Madrid. At the time, Sao Paulo were winning it all, nationally and internationally, but it was seen as more special to play for Real Madrid. It took some time for players in Brazil to think of Barcelona, Milan or Manchester United as a dream club.
[q: When you came on as a substitute in the first half of the 1994 World Cup Final, you hadn’t played much during the tournament, had you? Were you nervous? Did you have time to get your head around the situation?] At first I didn’t realise how big it all was, but I was still nervous. When our coach, Carlos Alberto Parreira, told me, “Jorginho is injured – warm up now”, my first reaction was: “Who, me?!” Then I took a breather and told him I was ready. I was waiting for that moment. I’d stayed with the Seleção for 45 days, working my ass off. I was probably pretty annoying in the training sessions; I ran as much as I could, trying to get noticed. I used to say that I couldn’t go into battle without loading my gun first.
I also played against the USA under the midday heat in California, and in the last 10 minutes of our quarter-final against the Netherlands – at that stage it was still 2-2 [Brazil eventually won 3-2]. I was prepared. But a final is always special.
[q: Were you glad not to have to take a penalty in the 1994 World Cup Final? How far down the order were you? Would you have taken a better penalty than Diana Ross?] I wasn’t ready to take a penalty at all – that was never a skill of mine! I was probably dead last in the order. Even Diana Ross was ahead of me in that one.
[q: I wasn’t ready to take a penalty at all – that was never a skill of mine! I was probably dead last in the order. Even Diana Ross was ahead of me in that one] For sure. They welcomed me in great fashion. My contract was for six months, with the option for two more years. In the middle of the season I had this injury in my pubis and that stopped me from playing. I was always on the bench. When I was offered a contract to go to a tiny club called Juventude, I took it. The coach in Spain said I should stay, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to help the team much. I was feeling terrible for being there without helping out on the pitchs
[q: Did you find it difficult to dislodge Zaragoza legend Alberto Belsue? Did the fact that he was a local hero make it tougher?] It’s tough to go to a new team, but I arrived as a World Cup winner, and I had just played in the final. I got along with Belsue. We used to have dinner together; we had a lot of fun. The respect was mutual, but the coach had the final decision. To be honest, maybe he sometimes had an advantage because he was the local hero, but in general the competition was very healthy.
[q: Leaving Real Zaragoza for Juventude back in Brazil, then playing only a handful of games for them before leaving again for Palmeiras… how hectic was that period of your career?s] I couldn’t go straight to Palmeiras because of the terms of the deal between Zaragoza and Sao Paulo, who didn’t want me to come back to Brazil and play for their bitter rivals – Palmeiras had taken Sao Paulo’s place as Brazil’s winning machine. So the people at Parmalat, who were Palmeiras’ sponsors, told me I should go to one of the other teams they had links with first.
I chose Juventude because I needed to recover from my injury and going there meant I could do so closer to my home. People in Caxias do Sul, where Juventude are based, were just fantastic – I felt like a king. When I eventually arrived at Palmeiras, the adaptation was really quick. They didn’t see me as a former rival at all.
[q: What happened on the night before the 1998 World Cup Final in Paris? And how distracted were the team because of it?] Ronaldo had a seizure and I was one of the first to arrive in his room. I saw Cesar Sampaio pulling his tongue out from his throat, Roberto Carlos looking desperate right next to him … it was a horrible scene that was obviously still on our minds the next day. We all thought he shouldn’t play, but the doctor disagreed. I am no doctor.
Ronaldo came into the dressing room and told [coach Mario] Zagallo that he was fine and willing to play. We were stunned, but how could we say no to the best player in the world? Maybe it would have been better with Edmundo – he was also in great shape and we wouldn’t have been so worried or distracted. But France deserved to win. They played superbly against us.
2019 11 10 Retrieve
[Cafu says Liverpool face battle to keep hold of ‘quarterback’ Alexander-Arnold] Trent has been one of the better players in the league and he is one of the main reasons why Liverpool are where they are. At the end of the season we could see a big trade with him, as he is not only a great defender but he can also help and move forward and sideways with and without the ball. For that reason he has been great in scoring goals and is what I would call a ‘quarterback scorer’.
First of all, I’m a big fan of Liverpool. Second, with the basics of what Liverpool have now, they have all the conditions and ability due to the strength of the team to win the league title.
[Cafu also had words of praise for his Brazilian compatriot Roberto Firmino] Firmino can help a lot as he has been on the rise and really grown as a player in Liverpool. He is in a period that he is on fire and constantly growing with the team. Firmino is a great player. He can play either side and has powerful contact with the ball in any position. Today we can say that Firmino is one of the better players in the world
2020 02 15 Retrieve
[Cafu says Liverpool ace Alexander-Arnold can win a Ballon d’Or] I think Alexander-Arnold is one of the best in the world, no doubt about it. He’s a great player – and I would say he has the same characteristics as I did. He has got big potential. He is strong and skilful, he really takes the game forward and he’s a player who sets up goals for Liverpool. I would say he’s got a Brazilian instinct in the way he plays. My advice for him is simple: just keep doing what you have been doing for the last few years. Alexander-Arnold shouldn’t change his way of playing. Even if he makes mistakes, he should carry on doing what he’s doing.
[And the two-time World Cup winner wants to see him recognised as the best player on the planet, arguing that it is wrong that strikers and midfielders dominate individual prizes] I think he has what it takes to become a Ballon d’Or winner. We have to change this paradigm where the Ballon d’Or is only won by attackers and strikers. People have to see that defenders are just as important as attackers.
[Cafu has rubbished suggestions that to realise his full potential Alexander-Arnold might need to one day move into a midfield role] The role of full-back suits him better and I think he now has to get even better at doing what he already knows how to do. He has to play like one of the great full-backs, adapt to the position, become the best full-back in the world and then maybe there could be some sort of adaptation in terms of midfield. But, for now at least, he has to be the best full-back he can be
2020 02 16 Retrieve
[Cafu says Ibrahimovic can bring glory days back to AC Milan] The impact is very great with the return of Ibra to Milan. We hope he can help Milan win big titles like we did in our day. He’s a fantastic player, a sensational player
[Two-time World Cup winner Cafu, who won Serie A and Champions League honours while playing for Milan in his mid-thirties] Age does not matter. What matters is that he still wants to play, wants to grow and keep Milan great
2020 02 16b Retrieve
[Cafu admits he does not know what choice Messi will make but believes he’ll always be an important part of the Catalans] Nobody knows. It is difficult to say whether Messi will continue at Barcelona or if he will change teams. Messi today is the man of Barcelona, he is the history of Barcelona. But if by his choice he decides to change the team, he will always be Messi and we will always be rooting for him. If Messi was named Sportsman of the Year it is because he deserved it all year through football. Playing ball, bringing joy, having fun and making Barcelona bigger and bigger
2020 03 27 Retrieve
[Cafu lauds PSG’s Brazilian superstar] Technically, Neymar is the best player in the world. Today, technically, nobody can beat Neymar. Not even Messi, although I am a fan of him. But he does not surpass him in terms of technical quality.
[While Neymar’s individual excellence remains without question, Cafu admits that he needs to work on his leadership] Today I don’t see any leader within the Brazilian team. Today I don’t see anyone who says this to Neymar: ‘Oh, don’t do this’ or ‘Do this’. There is not! They gave him that responsibility, and it’s not his profile. It’s not that he doesn’t want to, but because it’s not his profile. Have you ever seen him catching Thiago Silva and Tite in a discussion and solving the situation? No, because it is not his profile
[For Brazil, a nation starved of football’s biggest prize for what they consider to be far too long, the 28-year-old remains the man to carry the expectations of an entire country] I speak again here, he is our greatest hope for winning a World Cup. With Neymar on the pitch, whether he wants it or not, eight opponents will stay connected to him. He is a reference, he makes room for others, he scores extraordinary goals, but, really, someone is missing who covers, someone is lacking the strength to fit in around him.