Wednesday, January 22, 2014
From melon seller to WC starter
Brazil's World Cup team in 1998 was loaded with superstars. Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Bebeto, Dungo and Cafu were multi-millionaires. Ze Carlos, however, was different. He was a career journeyman. A year before the WC Finals, he was playing for Matonense in the lower division and his salary was not enough to make ends meet. So he sold melons in the street. Then, Sao Paulo signed him in 1997. Somehow, his performance caught the attention of Mario Zagello. After a series of injuries within Brazil's player pool, Zagello called him up for the WC Finals. He had never played for Brazil at any level. Playing against Denmark at the quarterfinal of the World Cup in 1998, Cafu picked up a yellow card that would suspend him for the next match. Suddenly, Ze Carlos, Brazil's backup rightback, found himself on the starting lineup vs Holland in the semi-final. So the man selling melons a year earlier started for Brazil.
Please also see my All-Time World Cup Team Index.