Roberto Carlos Retires, Brazilian Legend Faces Greater Challenge in New Role

Roberto Carlos Retires, Brazilian Legend Faces Greater Challenge in New RoleRoberto Carlos is officially hanging up his cleats at Anzhi Makhachkala. The iconic defender will continue his soccer career off the field as an ambassador for the Russian club.

Carlos, 39, joined Anzhi in February of 2011 from Brazilian club Corinthians. Big names like Samuel Eto'o, Christopher Samba, and manager Guus Hiddink have since followed him to Dagestan, and the Brazilian legend will now serve the club in an ambassadorial role, according to Reuters.

"Roberto had been a world class player, but unfortunately he doesn't play any more," said Hiddink.

"Fortunately, Roberto will now take up a role to develop this club for the good of the game in the Dagestan region and the whole of Russia."

For his part, Carlos is still holding out hope for one final run-out. He hopes to appear in an exhibition between Anzhi and former club Real Madrid.

"We had met Real president Florentino Perez and discussed such a match between Real and Anzhi. We need to set up a date that suits both clubs. I would like to have my farewell to be played in Makhachkala," said the Brazilian.

In his new role, Carlos' chief responsibility will be raising the club's global profile through the recruitment of star players. His involvement in the acquisitions of the aforementioned Eto'o and Samba bodes well for his front office future. However, Carlos' task of selling the world's best players on one of Europe's most turbulent regions is more complicated than meets the eye.

Anzhi's money doesn't talk quite so loudly while the team is on the outside looking in on the UEFA Champions League. Moreover, the club doesn't yet seem capable of joining the likes of Zenit St. Petersburg and Spartak Moscow at the top of the highly competitive Russian Premier League.

Top players want top dollar and top competition. For all of Anzhi's financial muscle, it can't realistically compete with other Monopoly-money clubs (think Chelsea, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain) who can match Anzhi's outlandish wages while playing on the game's biggest stage.

When you throw in the fact that Makhachkala is to Paris what Sam Bowie is to Michael Jordan, it's clear that the charismatic Brazilian's recruiting pitch requires much more than just a powerpoint presentation and blank check.

Carlos' playing career is best remembered for his 11-year spell at Real Madrid. A model of consistency, his buccaneering style of play from the back and preposterous free kicks made him (arguably) the best left back in the game.

A brief stint with Turkish club Fenerbahce was followed by an even shorter return to his native Brazil with Corinthians. Carlos' reunion with the Ronaldo ("Il Fenomeno," not Madrid's current pretty boy) lasted barely over a season before the defender headed off for a new challenge — and fat paycheck — with Anzhi in 2011. Time will tell if he can get the next generation of Carloses to follow in his footsteps.

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Thumbnail photo via Flickr/redsforest