Brazil legend Roberto Carlos has revealed how close he was to joining Chelsea in 2007, only for the transfer move to collapse at the last minute.
The former defender was a free agent at the time, having left Real Madrid after 11 trophy-laden years at the club.
“I had two proposals, Fenerbahce and Chelsea,” Carlos told Goal after the Challenge Heineken Legends. “Chelsea didn’t work out so I signed for Fenerbahce.
“But, with Chelsea, it got very close. It was literally agreed and I just had to go there and sign the contract.
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“It was just a week before I signed for Fenerbahce and I had been to Paris to meet both Roman Abramovich and (former chief executive) Peter Kenyon.
“Unfortunately, in the final moments something didn’t work out just before finalising, which happens a lot in football. There was an issue with the lawyer.
“It was all agreed, though, and I am 100 per cent sure I would have done well in the Premier League and it would have suited my characteristics.”
Roberto Carlos also said that he could even have ended up in the Premier League as a 22-year-old.
“I was still playing in Brazil with Palmeiras when Aston Villa came in for me in 1995 but they couldn’t afford the deal,” he explained. “After that, I went to Inter.”
Carlos had a difficult campaign in Italy but then established himself as one of the finest left-backs of all time, after signing for Real Madrid in 1997.
He won three Champions League titles and four La Liga titles with the club, while he also won the World Cup in 2002.
However, Brazil have not been crowned world champions since, but Carlos believes the country’s latest crop of young players are capable of doing so.
“Vinicius Junior and Rodrigo of Real Madrid are the future, along with Flamengo’s Gerson,” he declared. “These are the guys I am most excited about.
“All three are fantastic players and they will be very successful.”
“I feel like I was an example to follow after what I achieved, just like what Marcelo is doing now in Real Madrid,” he argued. “People will follow Marcelo just as they followed me.”