By Isdore Guvamombe
Brazilian World Cup winner Roberto Carlos and his former national teammate Julio Baptista are expected to arrive in the country today under the Zimbabwe Tourism Authority’s sports tourism programme. ZTA worked in conjunction with the World
Class Legends to bring the two superstars to Zimbabwe under sports tourism as part of the larger national perception management project.
ZTA host celebrities as part of its perception management project, whose effect is to prove that Zimbabwe is a safe tourist destination.
In a statement last night, ZTA said the two football superstars will arrive this afternoon and thereafter hold a press conference at a local hotel.
“The World Class Legends visit to the destination is a sport tourism initiative to promote Brand Zimbabwe,” said ZTA.
“The World Class Legends CEO Rayco Garcia, former Brazilian and Real Madrid left back Roberto Carlos and Julio Baptista arrive at Robert Mugabe International Airport at 17;15hrs aboard Emirates.
“A press conference will follow thereafter at Meikles Hotel at 1800hrs.”
Born Roberto Carlos da Silva Rocha in 1973, but simply known as Roberto Carlos, he was nicknamed El Hombre Bala, The Bullet Man, due to his powerful bending free kicks, which were measured at 169 km per hour.
He is regarded as one of the most offensive-minded leftbacks ever to grace the game and was a runner-up in the 1997 FIFA World Player of the Year awards.
Roberto Carlos, who also starred for Spanish heavyweights Real Madrid, was also known for his stamina, running speed, technical skills, crossing ability and long throw-ins
He made it onto the FIFA World Cup Dream Team, and in 2004 was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players.
After a stint in his home country, he went to Real Madrid where he made his name.
He joined Real Madrid in 1996 where he spent 11 highly successful seasons, playing 584 matches in all competitions and scoring 71 goals.
He won four La Liga titles and the UEFA Champions League three times.
In April 2013, he was named by influential newspaper Marca as a member of the “Best Foreign Eleven in Real Madrid’s History.”
In August 2012, he announced his retirement from football at the age of 39 after stints at Turkish side Fenerbahce and Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.
His counterpart, Júlio César Clemente Baptista, was born in 1981, and is a former Brazilian professional footballer who played most recently as a forward for Major League Soccer club Orlando City SC.
He is nicknamed “The Beast.”
Baptista played for São Paulo and Sevilla, where he was converted into a forward, and in his two seasons, he scored 50 goals, leading to his 2005 transfer to Spanish giants Real Madrid.
He spent a loan spell at Arsenal and also played for Italian side Roma.