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Paulo Roberto Falcão

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Paulo Roberto Falcão

Personal information
Full name Paulo Roberto Falcão
Date of birth (1953-10-16) 16 October 1953
Place of birth Abelardo Luz, Brazil
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Sport (Manager)
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1980 Internacional 158 (22)
1980–1985 Roma 107 (22)
1985–1986 São Paulo 10 (0)
Total 274 (44)
National team
1976–1986 Brazil 28 (6)
Teams managed
1990–1991 Brazil
1991–1992 América
1993 Internacional
1994 Japan
2011 Internacional
2012 Bahia
2015– Sport

* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.

† Appearances (goals)

Paulo Roberto Falcão, or simply Falcão (Portuguese pronunciation: ; born 16 October 1953), is a Brazilian former footballer and current manager of Sport. He is widely considered one of the best players in Internacional and Roma history, and one of the most talented central playmaking midfielders 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 knickname "the eighth King of Rome" from the fans,[2] and was inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame in 2013.[3]

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.[4] He was named by Pelé one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards ceremony in 2004.[5] His last name, Falcão, was chosen by Radamel García, a retired footballer and father of Radamel Falcao, to name his son as a tribute to him.

Club career


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 perfectly good goal ruled out 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, rivaling Liam Brady as the most impressive foreign star in Serie A. At the end of this season, he was deservedly called up for the 1982 World Cup finals in Spain.

After the World Cup, Falcão then inspired Roma to win their second league title 1982-83, scoring 7 times in 27 games, and creating countless more. 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 this season, also performing well as Roma won through to the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup. At the end of this season, Falcão had earned the nickname "the 8th King of Rome".

It was tough to live up to that season, but the new campaign in 1983-84 saw Roma almost achieve that. Platini's all conquering Juventus side won the title from Roma who finished 2nd, but it was only won on the final day of the season, Falcão again impressing with 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 2nd 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 abysmal 8th in the championship. Falcão then flew off to New York for an operation on his knee that was unauthorized by the Roma club doctors, and Roma then terminated his contract. He went back to Brazil after 5 years in Rome.

Falcão then signed a contract with São Paulo; he retired from professional football after the 1986 World Cup.

He is one of eleven members to have been inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame.[3]

International career

Falcão starred in the midfield of the fantastic 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 famous game, despite twice equalising, Brazil were beaten by a Paolo Rossi hat trick as Italy won 3-2. Falcão famously got the second equalising goal for Brazil against his adopted country with a lethal drive from the edge of the area, celebrating in a manner made more famous by Marco Tardelli when he scored in the final against West Germany. 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. After this World Cup, Falcão retired from football.

During this World Cup, he only managed to play in two games (coming on as substitute against both Spain and Algeria), not remotely hitting the heights of his form in 1982 as Brazil exited in the quarter finals against the French team of his old rival Michel Platini.

Coaching career

From 1990 to 1991 he was the manager of the Brazilian 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.[6] He was then sacked in July following three consecutive defeats in the Brazilian league.[7][8]

On February 2012, Falcão returned into management, signing an 11-month deal as head coach of Bahia.[9] In order to improve as football coach, Falcon makes a exchange in Fiorentina and was one of the founders of the Federação Brasileira dos Treinadores de Futebol, in 2013.[10] after a time stopped returned as coach, the Sport, to make a long-term project.[11]

Style of play

An elegant player, Falcão usually functioned as a play-making central midfielder, although he was capable of aiding his team defensively, as well as creatively and offensively, due to his physique and tenacity. He was known in particular for his technique, vision, passing, and long-range shooting ability, as well as tactical intelligence and leadership.[2]

Personal life

Falcão was born in Abelardo Luz, in the state of Santa Catarina of Southern Brazil. His mother Azize has Italian origins, from Calabria.[12]

Media career

Falcão worked for many years as a football commentator for Rede Globo and for its sports oriented branch SporTV.


Club performance League Cup Continental Total
Season Club League Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Brazil League Copa do Brasil South America Total
1971 Internacional Série A 0 0
1972 0 0
1973 34 0
1974 21 2
1975 19 1
1976 15 5
1977 9 0
1978 27 5
1979 20 5
1980 12 3
Italy League Coppa Italia Europe Total
1980/81 Roma Serie A 25 3 5 0 2 1
1981/82 24 6 2 0 ? 0
1982/83 27 7 4 1 8 2
1983/84 27 5
1984/85 4 1
Brazil League Copa do Brasil South America Total
1985 São Paulo Série A 0 0
1986 10 0
Country Brazil 157 21
Italy 107 22
Total 264 43
Brazil national team
Year Apps Goals
1976 5 1
1977 4 0
1978 0 0
1979 5 1
1980 0 0
1981 0 0
1982 7 4
1983 0 0
1984 0 0
1985 0 0
1986 7 0
Total 28 6




A.S. Roma[15]

São Paulo FC[15]



  1. ^
  2. ^ a b
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ La Stampa, 23 settembre 1980, pagina 21
  13. ^ Falcão at
  14. ^
  15. ^ a b c d
  16. ^ FIFA XI´s Matches - Full Info

External links

  • Paulo Roberto Falcão at
  • Sambafoot
  • Falcao – FIFA competition record
  • Falcao profile at Soccerway
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