How Carlos Alberto scored ‘the best goal ever in a World Cup’
Brazil were winning 3-1 and the 1970 World Cup final against Italy was over as a contest when Carlos Alberto looked up to see the whole of the right wing open to him and started to motor.
There were four minutes left on the clock at the Aztec stadium in Mexico City and Brazil’s captain really just wanted the game to end.
His teammates felt the same way and were knocking the ball about nonchalantly when the marauding full-back spotted the chance of a fourth goal, even from way back in his own half.
“It all started with Tostao winning the ball out on the left,” Carlos Alberto told Fifa.com. “He played it to Piazza, Piazza to Gerson and Gerson to Clodoaldo.
“We were winning 3-1 and the team was playing the ball around, just running the clock down. I was at the back, taking a breather. All I wanted was for the referee to bring the game to an end.
“Clodoaldo went past three players and when he laid it off to Rivelino on the left wing, I remembered what (coach Mario) Zagallo had said about pulling the opposition over to the left.
“I had a look and saw that the whole of my flank was wide open, because Jairzinho was over on the left and had (Italy’s Giacinto) Facchetti with him for company.
“I said to myself: ‘I’m going to wait, and if the ball goes to Jairzinho and I sense that Jairzinho’s going to play it to Pele, then I’m going to go because I know that Pele will give me the ball’.
“And that’s what happened. I gave it all I had, and found the energy to sprint at least 50 metres and get in a position to score the goal.”
The sprint set Carlos Alberto up beautifully as Pele leisurely knocked the ball out wide for the full-back to storm in and hammer it home from 11 metres out.
He kept on running and when the ball hit the net the Brazil captain jumped for joy behind the goal, looking almost as relieved as he was delighted.
Along with Diego Maradona’s brilliant individual goal for Argentina against England at the same stadium in the 1986 quarter-finals, it is remembered as one of the great World Cup goals and was the icing on Carlos Alberto’s football cake.
“Nobody talks about Pele’s goal, the first goal, the second goal,” Carlos Alberto told the BBC years later. “It is always about the fourth goal. I think it was the best goal ever scored in a World Cup.”