A Champions League winner and a history that shows he’s played for nine clubs. Stefan Kelly explains the career of Carlos Alberto

Playing at Fluminense, Porto, Corinthians (Where he was loaned to Fluminense again), Werder Bremen, Sao Paulo, Botafogo, Vasco da Gama, Gremio and now Bahia, Carlos Alberto de Jesus has the CV of a player close to retiring in his late thirties. Actually, Carlos Alberto is only 26 and has led a career of over-riding controversy. Since the age of 18, his talent and ability has co-incided with many problems with attitude that have forced move after move for the Brazilian.

Carlos Alberto started his career playing at his hometown club of Fluminense of Rio de Janeiro. He broke into the first team at the age of 18 and set the Rio State Championship alight as his side went on to win the Carioca with the teenager in a starring role. He promptly received interest from around the globe and it became quite apparent that his destiny laid across the Atlantic Ocean in Europe.

In January 2004, Carlos Alberto moved to UEFA Cup champions Porto for an undisclosed fee. The Brazilian, however, was not the only one at the Portuguese club who looked like being on the brink of greatness as Porto were being managed by future Chelsea and Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho. Alberto was brought straight into Mourinho’s first team who looked set for domestic glory.

Unbeknownst to Carlos Alberto, he was also to feature in an incredible crowning of Porto as winners of the Champions League that season. During this campaign, Mourinho’s side knocked out Manchester United with a 1-0 win at Old Trafford with Carlos Alberto in the starting line-up.

Porto were soon heading for the grand finale against French side AS Monaco. Carlos Alberto, still only 19, was a little known player to the rest of Europe. This was until, the 38thminute when a mishit clearance resulted in the Brazilian teenager volleying the ball into the back of the Monaco net to give Porto the lead. He became the 3rd youngest scorer in the history of the continental decider as Porto went on to become champions of Europe in style with a full time result of 3-0 to the Portuguese side.

The world was at the feet of Carlos Alberto, who was now a full international after playing for the Selecao in a 3-0 win against Guatemala in a friendly. After a breath-taking half a season at Porto, Alberto’s future promised the thrills and fruits of life as a football superstar. Alas, he was in for a disappointment.

The following season the youngster sunk from the first team to the substitute bench of the European champions. His frustration was clear for all to see and his attitude problems showed signs of what was to come further into his career. He swiftly got a move away from Porto and back to the samba nation to play for Emerson Leao’s Corinthians.

Corinthians were always going to be a place where the troubled Alberto would rediscover form. The Sao Paulo giants added Alberto to an already high-quality team and success seemed inevitable. So with Carlos Alberto in an attacking role, Corinthians entertained the country and won the 2005 Brazilian League, or Brasileirao, with Carlos Alberto being a key feature in the line-up of Leao’s side. Carlos Alberto was back at the top, for now at least.

Those who know Carlos Alberto’s character would mostly say that the next season brought out his true colours. In 2006, he and manager Emerson Leao’s relationship diminished. The tension between the two exploded in one giant climax when Corinthians played out a 0-0 draw with Lanus of Argentina in Copa Sudamericana clash. A huge argument ensued between the two after Alberto was pulled off, resulting in Carlos Alberto being dismissed from Leao’s squad. Alberto then went on to announce that he would never play for Corinthians again as long as Emerson Leao remained at his post. Believe it or not, his career was only getting started at this point.

The solution was to send the man they called Il Predador out on loan to the only place in his career where he found himself rid of controversy, Fluminense, the club where he grew up. They were more than happy to welcome him back too; it wasn’t too long before he was given the captain’s armband at the Maracana. These factors produced a remarkable change in form for Alberto.

His exciting performances proved important as Fluminense took that years Copa do Brasil title after a 1st leg 1-1 draw and a 2nd leg 1-0 victory over Figueirense. Imminent interest from Europe was back again for the on-form playmaker. Corinthians found a 7.8 million euro bid impossible to turn down.

The source of this offer was German giants Werder Bremen and was a club-record fee; obviously they saw great things to come from Carlos Alberto. It’s hard to put Il Predador in a good light when speaking of his time in Bremen. His underwhelming performances resulted in a tally of just two league appearances for the Bundesliga title-contenders. He put the blame on him suffering from insomnia after a dramatic change in time zones. This is perceived to be him blaming his poor form on this simply because he didn’t have an excuse.

Yet another transfer seemed necessary for the controversial figure that was clearly in need of an attitude change. Sao Paulo was the first loan destination and things didn’t get any better in terms of staying out of trouble, but worse. He joined the Tricolor during a period of much success under Muricy Ramalho with players such as the magnificent Hernanes. The highlight of his Sao Paulo career was undoubtedly scoring the late winner in a 3-2 win over Santos in the Paulista championship. And who was the manager of Santos at the time? Emerson Leao.

Things became bad in a hurry at Sao Paulo. Alberto was brought in under the distrust of the manger and the insistence of director of football Marco Aurelio Cunha. It wasn’t too long before club president Juvenal Juvencio announced he was dissatisfied with Carlos Alberto, unless there was to be a complete change in conduct from the man on loan from Bremen. It was well-reported that Carlos Alberto massively irritated Juvencio by his refusal to comply with his professional obligations to get in shape and to engage in training. It seemed Alberto was as a disruptive individual as ever and things didn’t stop there. He was at one time fined 40% of his salary and was suspended from the squad for a “delay” in training. Lastly, before his disastrous time at Sao Paulo came to an end, he became involved in confusion that led to team-mate Fabio Santos being suspended from driving. Werder Bremen had to seek a new loan move for an extremely talented player with trouble as his middle name. He spoke of his time at Sao Paulo quite too nicely for it to be believed:

“People say the group did not like me, but that is not true. Everyone in Sao Paulo always spoke well of me, saying I cheered up the environment. In the episode with Fabio Santos, I just wanted to help him. My only mistake was being a latecomer, but I made sure to pay the fine for that. I left because of a decision made by the President of the club who did not want to continue with my treatment.”

He was clearly bursting with confidence. He moved on loan to Botafogo of his hometown Rio soon after and this quote from his first interview as a Botafogo player shows such confidence, as well as a startling amount of truth from a player commonly seen as a villain:

“Regardless of what has happened in my career, no one says I have no talent. Otherwise, I would not have achieved what I’ve achieved. I have always fought hard to achieve things, no one ever game me anything for free. I don’t have to give anyone explanations. If I was a bad character, Botafogo would not give me this opportunity. So, I have a clear conscience.”

The Brazilian became the top scorer of the 2008 Copa Sudamericana with Botafogo and scored his first goal for the club on June 8thagainst Coritiba in the Brasileirao. Amid even more controversy he left before the end of his contract at the Engenhao, going to court demanding labour rights, other sources saying it was down to “outstanding salary payments”.

In early 2009, Werder loaned him to a 3rd consecutive club, this time another Rio side, Vasco da Gama. He received support from club legend and President Roberto Dynamite and his initial 6-month loan was extended for another year. He became the focal point of the Vasco attack as they made their way toward a Seria B title, which meant top-flight football the next season. Carlos Alberto was a matured person, or so they thought.

In June 2010, mutual consent led to Carlos Alberto’s Werder Bremen contract being terminated. He signed a permanent deal with Vasco and his career was back on track…. for a few months. In February this year, the man who seemed to worship Alberto, Roberto Dynamite dramatically fell out with the playmaker after a poor showing in the Rio State Championship. This dispute ended with Alberto being shipped off to Gremio on loan.

Gremio didn’t exactly go well either, what a surprise, eh? His second sudden departure of 2011 occurred at Gremio. Members of the board refused to discuss why he left. He failed to shine throughout his time in Porto Alegre. A few board members never wanted him at the club in the first place. Infamously, during his time there he caused outrage by criticising Internacional and Brazil striker Leandro Damiao. Yet another contract was terminated for this trouble stirrer.

On May 27th 2011, Vasco loaned Carlos Alberto out to his current club, Bahia. The team just promoted from the Seria B to the Brasileirao needed their squad bolstered and Carlos Alberto was the man for the job. I now take you to last weekend; the fixture was league champions Fluminense, Alberto’s former club, against his Bahia side. An easy win for the Rio side, one would presume but Fluminense were in for a shock. An inspired Carlos Alberto’s Bahia team took the game to the champions straight from the off. All the pressure was put on Fluminense and they were struggling, due to some fantastic play from Carlos Alberto in a trequartista role.

This exciting play continued in the 2nd half from Bahia. Alberto actually had to come off 25 minutes from the end with a muscle injury but his Bahia side scored in the 90th minute through Jobson to snatch all 3 points from the league giants in a dire situation

Carlos Alberto certainly has one of the most bizarre stories in world-football and unbelievably, he’s only half way through his career.





June 23rd, 2011


Carlos Alberto arrived too young to Porto, Mourinho managed to tame it on the pitch and he even became a very tactical player and decisive in 2004, reached the top of the world.

He scored the first goal in the Champions League final, was decisive in many games and was adored by fans.

But there is no head, like so many other kids, wasting a tremendous potential for not knowing to deal with fame, success and money.

He was remanded FC Porto, because unfortunately did not want to be responsible, from then on was always going down and it pains me greatly to see the very bad news coming from Brazil about him ..

He had great sympathy for him and could have been major players in the last decade in Europe.

Decided not to be missed is a huge talent, how many would dream of having half the talent and not have …




June 23rd, 2011

I remember him as one of the best dribblers I’ve ever seen. No unnecessary tricks or showing off. Basing on technique and fast feet. His play was delightful and certainly he might have been among the very best right now.

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