Former Roma and Brazil star Cafu looked back on some of the highlights of his time at the club when he appeared as a guest on Roma Radio on Tuesday.
The two-time World Cup winner – with 218 appearances, eight goals, a league title and an Italian Super Cup during his six-year stint with the Giallorossi – spoke of the close ties he still has with the city, his admiration for former team-mate Francesco Totti and the fond memories he holds of the 2000-01 Scudetto triumph under Fabio Capello, including a certain move he pulled on Pavel Nedved in the derby that year...
What's your relationship like with Rome after all this time?
“I have a fantastic relationship with the city. I have lots of friends in the capital away from the game – people I met during my time at the club and who I'm still in contact with. I stayed in touch with my team-mates from back then too. I have wonderful memories of the city and the way my family and I were welcomed so well there. Roma have always been very popular in Brazil because lots of Brazilians have played there over the years. It was amazing for me to think that I was one of Roma's famous Brazilian players.”
The biggest of them all was Falcao…
“I owe him so much. He was my first coach in the national team – he called me up for a game against Spain in 1990. That's when my international career began. He believed in me from the off and I'll always be grateful to him for that.”
You retired at 38. What do you think when you see Totti still making a difference at 39?
“Totti is world class. He's the symbol of Roma. He's getting on for 40 but still wants to play, run and show he's got what it takes to win games. That's a great feeling for any footballer. We're the only ones who know when it's the right time to stop because we feel what our body is telling us. We're the only ones who know. The captain wants to keep playing and doing his bit and that's fantastic.
"I played until I was 38 but I was nowhere near as decisive as he is. Totti knows exactly what he needs to do and he's always a joy to watch – even if it's only for 20 or 30 minutes.”
You were one of the stars of our Scudetto year. What do you remember about it?
“Winning the Scudetto with Roma wasn't easy and by doing it we earned a place in Roman and Italian history. It was an incredible feeling when the referee blew the final whistle in the last game, against Parma. It was the culmination of a tough season but you're always left with wonderful memories when you win. We won the derby that year too. We had a great team and we knew what we had to do.
"I remember all the goals my team-mates scored but the best thing of all was seeing the fans celebrating for months afterwards in the streets, in the offices and shops. It gave them so much joy.”
Fans still remember that sombrero over Pavel Nedved in the derby. Have you watched it again?
“I have watched it lots of times, yes. Whenever I meet Roma fans they bring it up and ask me to tell them about it. It all happened very quickly but it was good to watch. Nedved is a fantastic player but he was helpless at the time.”
We look forward to seeing you in Trigoria then Marcos!
“Thanks. It's always a pleasure for me to go back to Trigoria. As soon as I get the chance I'll pop in for a visit.”