Sometimes in football, all it takes is one moment of magic to put yourself on the world stage. Whether that individual or team simply becomes a one hit wonder or goes on to achieve greatness, they are moments that will be talked about for eternity.
For Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha, simply known as Roberto Carlos, it was ‘that’ goal which had millions wondering “How did that happen?”
The scene was France v Brazil on the 3rd of June 1997 in Lyon. It was during the international friendly tournament known as the Tournoi de France, with the other two nations being England and Italy.
Brazil were awarded a free-kick in the 21st minute from 35 metres out. Lining up in a way which would become his trademark run up when on set pieces, most people watching thought it was speculative at best from Roberto Carlos given the distance.
That all changed in an instant.
The Brazilian left back struck his free kick in a way that defied physics. Hit with a tonne of power, the ball went around the French wall and looked to be heading out. Then just like that, it took a sharp swerve back inside and into the back of the net.
France’s goalkeeper Fabien Barthez could be forgiven for thinking he had to pick up the ball from behind the goal to take a goal kick. Instead, he stood there in complete astonishment as he had to collect the ball from his own net.
Neither Barthez, nor those in the stadium and around the globe could quite believe what they had seen. The goal was so unbelievable that in 2010, French scientists produced a document explaining the ball’s trajectory.
Even Roberto Carlos himself, responsible for this talking point, joked “To be honest, until this day I don’t know how I did that”.
Do yourself a favour and watch the video of the goal on YouTube. The replay of the strike from different camera angles shows the last second curve the ball took that had so many watching in awe.
That night in Lyon catapulted Roberto Carlos to world football popularity as the diminutive Brazilian would go on to score more memorable goals and win a host of trophies at both club and international level in an illustrious career.
- Rayan Adasi for www.footballretro.com