Roberto Carlos’ secret behind being fit to play over 1,100 career games

Roberto Carlos is one of few players in the history of football to have played over 1,100 professional matches in their career.

And the iconic left-back spent many of those years at the peak level of world football.

An avalanche of trophies were won during the 90s and 00s, largely with Real Madrid.

The 48-year-old looks back on his time at the Bernabeu fondly, still working for the La Liga leaders as an ambassador.

And he puts his fitness down to enjoying the sport that consumed his life, as well as dedicating himself off the pitch.

In terms of his incredible longevity and what was the key to his levels of fitness, Carlos exclusively told Daily Star Sport: “I think it was the joy of playing football, and the fact I wasn’t getting injured.

“I took great care of myself – not so much towards the end, but we’re talking about a 20-year period here!

“In my time we didn’t talk about diets. Now we do! But not then.”

Cristiano Ronaldo – considered the epitome of fitness in the modern game – is only a handful of appearances from overtaking Carlos’ record of matches, which sits at a staggering 1,139 for club and country.

Only eight players ever achieved more – and the World Cup winner certainly has many memories to reflect on from his illustrious career.

Asked what matters most to him now from his playing days, Carlos replied: “I think the most important thing is the atmosphere with all the teams and with all the players.

What's your favourite memory of Roberto Carlos? Let us know in the comments section.

“Obviously when you’re playing you enjoy it, but it’s this atmosphere of being surrounded by your colleagues, your friends, that’s what I enjoyed the most.

“I miss playing so much because my whole career was like playing at the top level but there was a time when it had to come to an end.”

One of those team-mates he loved to play with what Zinedine Zidane, who he infamously set up for one of the greatest and most iconic goals in the history of the game.

And looking back on that lofted cross at Hampden Park nearly 20 years ago, Carlos is as modest as ever – or maybe not.

“The pass was perfect…” he joked. “It was considered one of the best goals ever in the Champions League wasn’t it? What was important for me was to know that I participated in it.”

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Looking to the future, Carlos has no ambitions to return to management following a short few stints between 2013 and 2015.

However, he does intend to get back into coaching, and has plenty of wisdom to offer to the next generation of players.

“I’m doing a training course,” he confirmed. “I’m a Real Madrid ambassador. Fifa Ambassador, Fifa legend! I’m very happy and very calm with the situation I am in at the moment.

“I just want to be a coach now, nothing more than that. I’m studying but my ambition is to be a coach. Within the next four or five years.

“I want to learn a bit more. I want to learn both about the management side and the coaching side. I’m with (Carlo) Ancelotti every day, learning so much from him.”

Carlos is joining the eBay and Football Beyond Borders charity campaign which will give people to bid for the chance to have the Brazil legend play in their Sunday League team.

Carlos says: “I’ve been back in training for weeks to get match fit for the eBay Dream Transfer, and I’m a little nervous about my first game after a 6-year break! I can’t wait to meet the team I end up playing with though, and of course size up the team we’ll be playing against.”

The Dream Transfer means that anyone from a humble Sunday League team can throw their hat in the ring to sign a legend off eBay for only £5 – the price of a pint – all to support Football Beyond Borders, a charity that helps disadvantaged young people in the community.

Entries are open now and will close on Friday 28th January. The winning teams will be announced on Monday 31st January in line with Deadline Day.

Founded in 2013, Football Beyond Borders was set up to change the lives of young people who may be passionate about football but not fulfilling their potential at school and more than 2000 young people have already benefited from its programmes.

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