Paulo Roberto Falcão

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,[2] 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,[3] like Amedeo Amadei before him, and was inducted into the A.S. Roma Hall of Fame in 2013.[4]

Paulo Roberto Falcão, Roma 1983-84.jpg
Falcão with Roma during the Serie A season of 1983-84
Personal information
Full name Paulo Roberto Falcão
Date of birth (1953-10-16) 16 October 1953 (age 68)
Place of birth Abelardo Luz, Brazil
Height 1.83 m (6 ft 0 in)[1]
Position(s) Midfielder
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1980 Internacional 158 (22)
1980–1985 Roma 107 (22)
1985–1986 São Paulo 25 (8)
Total 290 (52)
National team
1976–1986 Brazil 34 (6)
Teams managed
1990–1991 Brazil
1991–1992 América
1993 Internacional
1994 Japan
2011 Internacional
2012 Bahia
2015–2016 Sport
2016 Internacional
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only

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.[5] He was named by Pelé one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards ceremony in 2004.[6] Radamel Falcao's father was a footballer and football fan and named him after Falcão.

Club careerEdit


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.

São PauloEdit

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 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.[4]

International careerEdit

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.

Coaching careerEdit

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.[7] He was then sacked in July following three consecutive defeats in the Brazilian league.[8][9]

In February 2012, Falcão returned into management, signing an 11-month deal as head coach of Bahia.[10] He only returned to coaching duties in September 2015, being appointed manager at Sport.[11]

Falcão returned to Internacional in July 2016,[12] but was sacked after three losses and two draws, only one month later.[13]

Style of playEdit

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,[2][14][15][16] 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.[3][14]

Personal lifeEdit

Falcão was born in Abelardo Luz, in the state of Santa Catarina of Southern Brazil. His father is Portuguese-Brazilian and his mother Azize has Italian origins, from Calabria.[17]

Since 2003, Falcão is married with the journalist and TV host Cristina Ranzolin.

Media careerEdit

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

Career statisticsEdit



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 32 4
1981–82 24 6 2 0 4 0 30 6
1982–83 27 7 4 1 8 2 39 10
1983–84 27 5 8 0 8 1 43 6
1984–85 4 1 3 0 1 0 8 1
Brazil League Copa do Brasil South America Total
1985 São Paulo Série A 0 0
1986 15 0
Country Brazil 157 21
Italy 107 22 22 1 23 4 152 27
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[2]

São Paulo FC[2]



  1. ^ a b "Paulo Roberto Falcão – Statistics". Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Falcao, a very special No5". FIFA. Archived from the original on 9 October 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Paulo Roberto Falçao: l'ottavo Re di Roma" [Paulo Roberto Falçao: the eighth King of Rome] (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  4. ^ a b c "A.S. Roma Hall of Fame: 2013". A.S. Roma. 22 July 2013. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  5. ^ Daniel Pearl (3 April 2006). "No flair please, he's Brazilian". London: BBC. Retrieved 3 July 2006.
  6. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 22 November 2013.
  7. ^ "Falcão será apresentado nesta segunda à tarde" (in Portuguese). Internacional Official website. 10 April 2011. Archived from the original on 13 April 2011. Retrieved 10 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Falcao, l'idillio è finito L'Internacional lo caccia" (in Italian). La Repubblica. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  9. ^ "Internacional sacked Falcao". Sambafoot. 19 July 2011. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  10. ^ "Falcão confirmed as new Bahia coach". Sambafoot. 7 February 2012. Retrieved 12 February 2012.
  11. ^ "Sport anuncia a chegada de Falcão, que assina até o final de 2016". Retrieved 20 September 2015.
  12. ^ "Internacional – Site oficial".
  13. ^ "Paulo Roberto Falcão deixa o comando técnico do Inter". Gaúcha.
  14. ^ a b "Roma 1982/83: Cuore Giallorosso" (in Italian). Storie di Calcio. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  15. ^ Jonathan Wilson (2 June 2014). "Top 10: Players of Spain '82". FourFourTwo. Retrieved 3 November 2015.
  16. ^ "Vierchowod uomo in più, Nappy jolly" (in Italian). La Stampa. 10 May 1983. p. 20. Retrieved 22 September 2018.
  17. ^ La Stampa, 23 settembre 1980, pagina 21
  18. ^ Falcão at
  19. ^ "Matches of FIFA XI". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation.
  20. ^ a b José Luis Pierrend (6 March 2012). ""Onze Mondial" Awards: Onze de Onze 1976–2011". Rec.Sport.Soccer Statistics Foundation. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  21. ^ World Soccer: The 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time. Retrieved 17 December 2015
  22. ^ "Pele's list of the greatest". BBC Sport. 4 March 2004. Retrieved 15 June 2013.
  23. ^ "Hall of Fame" (in Italian). A.S. Roma. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
  24. ^ "Italian football Hall of Fame to induct ten new stars". 25 October 2016. Retrieved 25 October 2016.


External linksEdit