The UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup trophies represent the highest epitome of success in a footballer's playing career. The Champions League is a yearly affair with the top clubs in Europe battling it out to be regarded as the best club in world football while the FIFA World Cup takes place once in 4 years as the world's top nations compete to be named as the top footballing country in the world.
These tournaments have made the lives of various footballers who have moved to top clubs for record-breaking transfer fees following remarkable performances as the standout players for their teams. Every footballer looks forward to these tournaments in their playing career as they are the biggest stage in world football to showcase their true talent.
Only 3 players this millennium have had the privilege of winning the UEFA Champions League and FIFA World Cup in the same season. They all had one thing in common: They all played for Real Madrid that season. Let's take a look at these players below:
#3 Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid and Brazil)
Brazilian legend Roberto Carlos, is unarguably the best attacking left-back to ever grace the game. He played in three World Cups, helping the team reach the final in 1998, and win the tournament in 2002. At club level, he spent 11 highly successful seasons at Spanish giants Real Madrid where he won 4 La Liga titles and 3 UEFA Champions League titles.
Among his many title-winning rewards, the year 2002 stood out in his career as he won both the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the same season. The phenomenon nicknamed "The Bullet Man" due to his powerful, bending free-kicks was also known for his stamina, running-speed, crossing ability and his 24-inch thighs.
At Real Madrid, he forged his reputation as the best left-back in the world and was voted as the runner-up in the 1997 FIFA World Player of the Year and 2002 Ballon d'Or awards, both to compatriot Ronaldo. He was instrumental to ending Real Madrid's 32-year wait for Champions League victory in 1998 and it was his pinpoint delivery in the 2002 Champions League final after a bursting run forward that enabled Zinedine Zidane to score the winning volley which is considered one of the greatest Champions League goals of all time.
Carlos was very much a focal point of their 2002 success, scoring their first in a 4-0 rout of China and also starting the final against Germany. In addition to the World Cup winner’s medal, he also was part of the side that won two Copa Americas, so its fair to say that Roberto Carlos was extremely successful domestically and internationally.