Scolari back at Brazil - Where are his 2002 Champions 10 years on?

Brazil V Scotland

Former Chelsea boss Felipe Luiz Scolari is back as Brazil manager. We take a look at the stars of yesteryear, featuring ex Arsenal and Manchester United midfielders and a Leeds United defender.

It is the most high-pressured job in football, after the Chelsea job of course as 'Big Phil' knows only too well, and now the popular manager has decided to have a second attempt at it.

Scolari won Brazil their last World Cup back in 2002, so perhaps he is the best man for the job. He will certainly be under intense scrutiny, Brazil are the hosts and anything less than bringing home the trophy will be seen in the passionate nation as an embarrassment. 

Here is a look at the starters of the 2002 World Cup Final, now 10 years ago in Japan, and a look at where the players are now...

Marcos

Now 39, Marcos retired from professional football in January. The goalkeeper spent his entire career with Palmeiras, making more than 500 appearances for the side. He was the epitome of consistency in 2002 and reportedly turned down an offer from Arsenal, but injuries affected his international career and he only made four appearances for his country after the tournament.

Edmilson

Edmilson was a Lyon player back in 2002, and is best remembered for his acrobatic effort in a 5-2 win over Costa Rica. Two years later he signed for Barcelona and was part of Frank Rijkaard's 2006 Champions League winning side, before missing the 2006 World Cup through injury. He went onto play for Villareal, Palmeiras and Zaragoza before retiring in 2011, he is now only 36.

Lucio

Lucio is one of Brazil's best known defenders in recent years, known for his attacking forays as well as his tough tackling. After the tournament he switched to Bayern Munich, before joining Inter Milan in 2009. A year later he was a treble winner with Jose Mourinho's side. This summer he signed for Juventus, only to suffer a serious knee injury early in the season.

Roque Junior

The least said about Roque Junior's experience in English football the better, but that won't stop us. He was signed on loan from AC Milan by Peter Reid's Leeds side in 2003, and he was simply horrendous. Five games later he was done. He went onto play for Siena, Bayer Leverkusen, and Duisburg before spells back in Brazil and the Middle East. He is now retired.

Cafu

42-year-old Cafu is one of the greatest full-backs ever to play the game, known for his tireless runs up and down the right flank. He left Roma in 2003 for AC Milan, where he remained until his retirement in 2008, finally winning the Champions League in 2007, the icing on the cake of a magnificent career. A World Cup winner in 1994 and 2002, he is his country's most capped player, but nowadays has no involvement in the professional game.

Roberto Carlos

Roberto Carlos can now be found in, of all places, Russia. He is a sporting director of Anzhi, where he works alongside manager Guus Hiddink. The club is the last one the 39-year-old played for, officially retiring in March. He featured in the 2006 World Cup but was omitted in 2010 when he was playing for Corinthians alongside Ronaldo.  As well as winning the World Cup, he is a three-time Champions League winner.

Kleberson

Kleberson is a name we know all too well, but like Roque Junior he struggled in the Premier League. If his spell wasn't quite as horrific it was every bit as underwhelming, disappointing all who saw him play for Manchester United. He was sold to Fenerbahce where he managed to recapture his form enough to be included in the 2010 World Cup squad, and is now 33 and playing back in Brazil with club side Bahia.

Gilberto Silva 

Arsenal signed Gilberto Silva in 2002 and didn't regret it. The World Cup winner lived up to his billing, forging a superb partnership with Patrick Vieira and helping the Gunners go unbeaten in 2003/04. After becoming unfairly maligned by supporters in later years and losing his place in the first team, he was allowed sign for Panathaniakos in 2008 where he won two consecutive Greek titles. In 2011 he returned to Brazil where he plays with Gremio.

Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho was the lesser known of the three R's going into the 2002 World Cup, but David Seaman knew all about him once it was over, and still shudders when he hears the name. Ronaldinho snubbed Manchester United in 2003 to sign with Barcelona, and re-invigorated the struggling side, and won the title with them in 2004/05. He would win numerous individual honours for his dazzling displays, winning the Champions League in 2006. However his career faded rapidly after that, and he failed to recapture his form when sold to AC Milan before signing with Flamengo in 2011. Now only 32, he plays for Atletico Mineiro.

Ronaldo

2002 was Ronaldo's salvation, his return from four years of injury hell, scoring eight times and winning the Golden Boot. He signed with Real Madrid a month later, and KO'd Manchester United in the Champions League, but never won the competition, although he would add two La Liga titles to his collection. He was sold in 2007 to AC Milan and later Corinthians. He famously has struggled with his weight issues and is now aged 36 and retired. He is still revered as the best striker of his generation and his record stands up even today.

Rivaldo 

Rivaldo is a remarkable individual, whose current playing status is currently unclear. Aged 40, over the past few years he has been playing in Greece, Brazil, and this year signed for a team in Angola called Kabuscorp. His contract expired this month, and he has not announced his retirement so don't be surprised if he pops up in a far flung league across the globe or even Harry Redknapp's QPR sometime soon. Even if he did not cover himself in glory with his playacting in 2002, his skill with a football was magnificent, scoring five goals. Club-wise he will be best remembered for his time at Barcelona between 1997 and 2002.

Which of the above was your favourite player? Can Scolari do it again?


image: © Ronnie Macdonald

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