Roberto Carlos to visit South Melbourne

Despite Football Federation Australia's (FFA) decision to delay A-League expansion, South Melbourne continue to make plans with ex-Real Madrid full-back Roberto Carlos set to visit the club next month.

South Melbourne have arguably been the most vocal of all A-League expansion bids, with the former National Soccer League club having opened negotiations with Roberto Carlos last year about becoming their inaugural A-League coach.

The 44-year-old Brazilian, who last coached the Delhi Dynamos in the Indian Super League in 2015, will visit South Melbourne's home ground Lakeside Stadium in late May and take part in some youth coaching.

Andrew Mesourouni, Roberto Carlos South Melbourne

South Melbourne director Andrew Mesourouni and Roberto Carlos

"As the Oceania Club of the Century, South is a club steeped in tradition and success," Roberto Carlos said in a statement. 

"I am interested in its story and I want to explore further where we can take our discussions. Hence coming to Melbourne is part of this discussion process. I will get the chance to see up close this club."

Roberto Carlos open to coaching in A-League

South Melbourne's A-League bid chairman Bill Papastergiadis conceded his club have "made some bold predictions" in recent months but argued the impending visit of Roberto Carlos would provide solid evidence of their "commitment to play in the A-League".

FFA has yet to set a date for A-League and W-League expansion, let alone release the criteria that it will be judged on.

"South is committed to being part of the A-League. As part of this, South is continuing to add to its credentials. Part of this is the continuing discussions South is having with Roberto Carlos to coach South's A-League team," Papastergiadis said in a statement.

Roberto Carlos Real Madrid v Bayern Munich Champions League 20022007

Roberto Carlos, Real Madrid

"South has made some bold predictions and it is backing them up with solid facts. The Carlos tour of South is an example of this and our commitment to play in the A-League."

Another former Real Madrid defender Chendo, who currently works at the La Liga club, has also been targeted as South Melbourne's preferred technical director, while it has also been claimed that ex-Chelsea striker Didier Drogba had agreed terms as a marquee player only to pull out when he realised he would have to wait to play.

Drogba subsequently joined second-tier American outfit Phoenix Rising earlier this month.

South Melbourne's formal link with Champions League's most successful club was established in 2015, while the Australian outfit was coached by Madrid legend Ferenc Puskas from 1989 to 1992.

 

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