From water melon seller to World Cup starter

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Updated: May 1, 2016

Ze CarlosBrazil’s World Cup team in 1998 was loaded with superstars.   Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Bebeto, Dungo and Cafu were multi-millionaires.  Ze Carlos, however, was different.  He was a career journeyman.

A year before the WC Finals, he was playing for Matonense in the lower division and his salary was not enough to make ends meet.  So he sold melons in the street.  Then, Sao Paulo signed him in 1997. Read more: Top 10 best young defenders in the world 2016

Somehow, his performance caught the attention of Mario Zagello.  After a series of injuries within Brazil’s player pool, Zagello called him up for the WC Finals.  He had never played for Brazil at any level.  Playing against Denmark

Playing against Denmark at the quarterfinal of the World Cup in 1998, Cafu picked up a yellow card that would suspend him for the next match. Suddenly,  Ze Carlos, Brazil’s backup right-back, found himself on the starting lineup vs Holland in the semi-final.  So the man selling water melons a year earlier started for Brazil. Read : Top 10 Highest Paid Footballers in South Africa[Tsabalala is #2]

So his appearance in the semifinals of a World Cup ended up being his first and only international caps.

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