He may not be young enough to dish out his trademark freekicks, but Brazilian World Cup winner Roberto Carlos, the marquee player-cum-manager of Delhi Dynamos, on Wednesday promised to turn up in their next Indian Super League (ISL) match against Atletico de Kolkata (ATK) in Kolkata on Thursday.
In what could be a treat for the city’s football-crazy crowd at the Vivekananda Yuva Bharati Krirangan, the Brazilian iconic leftback today said he has recovered from his leg injury.
“I’m preparing to play and I’ll play for sure, 100 per cent. I’ve recovered from the pain in my leg. I’m just planning to be on the pitch in every game from now on. There’s a possibility that I may play in second half. I will put pressure my midfield players,” Carlos said on the eve of the encounter.
On a realistic note, the 42-year-old added: “I obviously cannot play as left back. The field is too big for me right now.”
Asked about his powerful freekicks, Carlos said: “I put in a lot of hard work. It’s because of my love for football. Football was my life. I love playing football. I love coaching new players. This is fantastic and the best job in the world. I meet new people everyday.”
Carlos said the league in its second season has become very competitive but pointed out that leaders FC Pune City are the team to beat in 2015.
“The league is very equal. The team who actually impressed me a lot was Pune. Chennai are one of the favourites as well.
“Goa has a lot of good players and there’s my ‘dad’ Zico. The league has a lot of quality. I want my team to get into play-offs first and then become champions obviously. In general, I can say that Pune are the ones who’re performing better,” he said.
Speaking highly of the franchise football league, Carlos said: “We have to change the thought that ISL is the end of the career for the players, it’s not the case. It’s just the beginning of a very big project.
“ISL is a league that’s seen everywhere in the world.
We’re here to improve the quality of the league. At the same time, we’re here to help Indian players improve. You can always improve in life.”
Defending champions ATK are battling with injury woes and approach tomorrow’s match in the back of a two consecutive defeats having slipped to fifth place in the standings.
But Carlos said ATK are a champion side and capable of creating damages.
“It’s never good to have any injury to my player or any other team’s players. I will never be happy for someone’s else injuries. But speaking about ATK, they have great players.
Obviously they’re a champion side. It’s going to be a very nice game. We’re two teams who like to attack. Obviously, our goal is to win and get full points tomorrow,” he said.
On the quality of Indian players in the league, Carlos said: “Since last year I followed it on internet. I saw a lot of good games here. This year the league is even better.”
He was also full of praise for Indian striker Robin Singh but added that the tall Delhi lad has to keep on improving.
“He came back from the national squad, he scored against Pune. But his rhythm got a bit lower. He’s one of the leaders in my team. I want much more from him,” Carlos said.
“He obviously has to take this and go ahead and do well in the Indian national squad. He has to survive by scoring, look at (Florent) Malouda. He is a good player but he has to improve a lot.”
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