It’s a moment that most football fans will never forget, and one of the most remarkable goals ever scored, but how did Roberto Carlos score THAT free-kick?
It was 3 June 1997, and the opening day of Le Tournoi, a four-team tournament that was a precursor to the World Cup in France 12 months later.
Brazil, World Cup holders from their success at USA ’94, were playing the hosts in Lyon to get the competition, that also featured Italy and eventual winners England, up and running.
And midway through the first half, the Samba Boys were awarded a free-kick for a foul on Romario. It was a long way from Fabian Barthez’s goal, all of 35 yards, but it led to a moment that left-back Roberto Carlos will forever be remembered.
The Real Madrid galactico placed the ball carefully on the grass, and walked back to the edge of the centre circle for an almighty run up. He wasn’t going to have a pop, surely?
Ignoring all of the sensible options, and the laws of physics, Roberto Carlos’s astonishing long-range free-kick looked to be going way off target until a miraculous swerve bent the ball around the defensive wall and inside the post. Everyone in the stadium, players and fans, just watched on in amazement.
Barthez, the French keeper, could do nothing. But Carlos, however, insists it was purely a one-off.
“I’ve never tried to do it again since, I don’t even know how I did it!” he admitted.
“That day I woke up well and felt good. There was a foul 35 metres out and I thought ‘I’m just going to hit it’.
“I hit it perfectly but I have no explanation for what happened – it’s only one time. People talk about it every day, And I’m happy they don’t forget.”
It was a sensational strike, but wasn’t enough to win the game as France striker Marc Keller levelled in the second half and the game ended 1-1.