Paulo Roberto Falcão
|Full name||Paulo Roberto Falcão|
|Date of birth||16 October 1953|
|Place of birth||Abelardo Luz, Brazil|
|Height||1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Paulo Roberto Falcão, or simply Falcão (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpawlu ʁoˈbɛʁtu fawˈkɐ̃w̃]; born 16 October 1953), is a Brazilian former footballer and football manager. He is widely considered one of the best players in Internacional and Roma history playing also for São Paulo, and he is universally considered one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time, especially at his peak in the 1980s. At one stage, he was the world's highest paid footballer. Due to his success and performances with Roma, he earned the nickname "the eighth King of Rome" from the fans, like Amedeo Amadei before him, and was inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame in 2013.
For the Brazil national team, Falcão was capped 34 times between February 1976 and June 1986. He appeared at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, playing in midfield alongside Zico, Sócrates and Éder, considered one of the greatest Brazilian national teams ever. He was named by Pelé one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards ceremony in 2004. Radamel Falcao's father was a footballer and football fan and named him after Falcão.
Falcão began his professional career at Internacional of Porto Alegre, in Rio Grande do Sul, where he played from 1972 to 1980, winning three Brazilian National Championships (1975, 1976, 1979) and reaching the finals of the 1980 Copa Libertadores, eventually losing to Nacional. During his time at Internacional, he was surprisingly left out of the Brazil squad for the 1978 World Cup in Argentina, though he made the shortlisted pre-tournament 40.
In 1980, Falcão transferred to Serie A club Roma for £650,000. In his first season in Italy (1980–81), he was able to master the language and had his mother and sister living with him to help settle him in. He played well, scoring 3 goals in his 25 games as Roma finished 2nd in Serie A to Juventus. This was a controversial championship, as Roma had a goal ruled out for an unclear offside against Juventus during a defining draw in Turin. Consolation came with a Coppa Italia win for Roma, beating Torino in the final on penalties – Falcão himself scored the decisive spot kick.
Although Roma slipped to 3rd in his second season (1981–82), personally for Falcão it was better than the first, with 6 goals in 24 games, becoming one of foreign stars in Serie A. At the end of this season, he was called up for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain.
After the World Cup, Falcão inspired Roma to win their second league title during the 1982–83 season, scoring 7 times in 27 games, and creating numerous others. Although Juventus's Michel Platini finished as top scorer in the league, and despite Juventus beating Roma in both league games, he was acknowledged as the star man in Serie A that season, also performing well as Roma reached the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. At the end of this season, Falcão had earned the nickname "the 8th King of Rome".
In 1983–84 Juventus side won the title from Roma who finished 2nd, but it was only won on the final day of the season. Falcão scored 5 goals in his 27 games. Roma's main goal this season, however, was the European Cup, especially as the final was to be played at Roma's own Olympic Stadium. He played every game as Roma swept past IFK Gothenburg, CSKA Sofia and SC Dynamo Berlin to reach the semi-finals against Dundee United.
In a previous Serie A game, Falcão injured his knee, so missed the first leg of the semi-final, as Roma lost 2–0 in Dundee. He returned for the second leg as Roma won 3–0 to reach the final, but again injured his knee in the process. He was fit enough for the final against Liverpool, but played poorly as Roma were eventually defeated on penalties after a 1–1 draw, with Falcão declining to even take a spot kick. This was a marked turning point in his relationship with the club, and the beginning of the end of his time in Rome. Roma again won the Coppa Italia, but despite nearly winning the treble, the mood around the city was not a happy one.
In season 1984–85, Falcão was more famous for his off field antics than his on field ones. Due to his knee troubles, he only managed 4 games and 1 goal in the league as Roma slumped to an 8th place in the championship. Falcão then flew off to New York City for an operation on his knee that was unauthorized by the club"s doctors, and Roma subsequently terminated his contract. He went back to Brazil after 5 years in Rome.
Falcão then signed a contract with São Paulo.
While playing for São Paulo, Falcão won two titles. The first was a Campeonato Paulista in 1985 beating Portuguesa in the final with an aggregate score of 5–2, and the second one a Taça dos Campeões Rio-São, also in 1985, where he scored his one and only goal for the club in the second leg against Fluminense.
Falcão starred in the midfield of the Brazil 1982 team, along with Toninho Cerezo, Zico, Eder and Socrates, generally seen as one of the best teams not to win the World Cup. He started all the games, as Brazil beat Soviet Union 2–1, scoring the last goal as Brazil then beat Scotland 4–1, and with another goal in the 4–0 win against New Zealand.
In the 2nd phase of the World Cup, his team obtained a 3–1 win against the World Champions Argentina, meaning that the Brazilians needed only a draw in their next game against Italy to advance to the semi-finals. In this game, despite twice equalising, Brazil were beaten by a Paolo Rossi hat trick as Italy won 3–2. Falcão got the second equalising goal for Brazil against his adopted country with a drive from the edge of the area. After the match, he was said to be so distressed that he wanted to give up football.
After muddling through a nondescript season for his club (although he helped to win the São Paulo State Championship in 1985), he managed to get a call up to the Brazil 1986 World Cup squad, mainly on reputation.
During this World Cup, he only managed to play in two games (coming on as substitute against both Spain and Algeria). Brazil exited in the quarter finals against the French team of his old rival Michel Platini. After this World Cup, Falcão retired from football.
From 1990 to 1991 he was the manager of the Brazil national football team. His second and longest coaching experience was with América from 1991 to 1993. He also coached Internacional in 1993. After a brief hiatus, in 1994, he was the manager of the Japanese national football team. In April 2011, after 16 years without managing a club, he was signed by Internacional, replacing Celso Roth. He was then sacked in July following three consecutive defeats in the Brazilian league.
Style of play
An elegant and technically gifted player, with an eye for goal from midfield, and an ability to orchestrate his team's attacking moves, Falcão usually functioned as a deep-lying playmaker, although he was capable of aiding his team defensively, as well as creatively and offensively, due to his physique, work-rate, and tenacity. He was known in particular for his flair, control, vision, passing, and long-range shooting ability, as well as his tactical intelligence, organisational ability and leadership.
|Brazil||League||Copa do Brasil||South America||Total|
|Brazil||League||Copa do Brasil||South America||Total|
|1985||São Paulo||Série A||0||0|
|Brazil national team|
- Campeonato Gaúcho (5): 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978
- Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (3): 1975, 1976, 1979
- Campeonato Paulista: 1985
- Taça dos Campeões Estaduais Rio-São Paulo: 1985
- Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team (3): 1975, 1978, 1979
- Bola de Ouro Brazilian Footballer of the Year (2): 1978, 1979
- Bronze ball South American Player of the Year: 1979
- FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1982
- FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1982
- FIFA XI: 1982
- Silver ball South American Player of the Year: 1982
- Onze de Bronze: 1982
- Onze d'Argent: 1983
- World Soccer's 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time: 1999
- FIFA 100: 2004
- A.S. Roma Hall of Fame: 2012
- Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2016
- Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
- Golden Foot: 2019, as football legend
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- Gregori, Claudio (2011). Il Calcio di Falcao ai Raggi X. I quaderni della Gazzetta dello Sport (in Italian). 17. Milan, Italy: RCS Quotidiani.