For many years the Brazilian defender was one of the best full-backs in the world, but he admits that former Nigerian winger George Finidi was one of those who made his job a nightmare
Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos has picked Nigeria’s Finidi, Cameroonian forward Samuel Eto’o, Spaniard Joaquin, and Portugal icon Luis Figo as the four toughest players he faced during a highly successful eleven-year stay in Spain.
The two-time UEFA Club Defender of the Year enjoyed a brilliant spell in Madrid winning four La Liga titles and three Champions League honours.
But it all started in the summer of 1996 when Real Madrid targeted both Carlos and Finidi from Inter Milan and Ajax respectively. But while the Brazilian agreed to join Los Blancos, the Nigerian snubbed the Spanish giants and went to Real Betis instead.
Already rated as one of the world’s best wingers having won the UEFA Champions League and three Eredivisie titles, Finidi became a tough customer for Carlos as both squared up severally for the next five years until the attacker left for England in 2001.
Carlos departed Madrid six years later after sealing his legacy as the most offensive-minded left-back in the history of the game. He then retired in 2015, more than 20 years after first becoming a professional.
Looking back at a trophy-laden career, Carlos identified four attackers who were the most difficult opponents for him to stop.
“I had several, like Eto’o, Finidi, and Joaquín,” the Brazilian defender told FIFA Instagram Live via Mucho Deporte.
He, however, names Portugal hero and former Barcelona star Figo as the toughest opponent he ever met on the football pitch.
The midfielder would later switch the Camp Nou for the Santiago Bernabeu in 2000 to the delight of Carlos.
“But I think the most difficult, and thank goodness that he came to play with me at Real Madrid was Luis Figo.
“He was very tough, the most difficult to stop in my life. He was a great player, an excellent player.”