Roberto Carlos, right, told reporters he still has "three or four more years of top-notch football" in him. ((Vadim Ghirda/Associated Press))

Veteran defender Roberto Carlos still hopes to play at the 2010 World Cup despite playing his last game for Brazil at the 2006 tournament.

The 36-year-old left back left Fenerbahce to sign a two-year deal with Corinthians, and believes his return to Brazilian football this year may help him regain his spot on the national team.

"I still have three or four years of top-notch football left in me," Roberto Carlos told Globo TV in an interview aired Sunday. "I’ve been following the national team and coach Dunga is still looking for a left back. He has been doing a lot of tests in the position."

Andre Santos has recently started for Brazil at left back but several other players have also been tried in the position since Dunga took over the team after Brazil’s 1-0 loss to France in the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Germany four years ago.

Roberto Carlos was heavily blamed by fans and local media for Brazil’s elimination because he failed to mark Thierry Henry when the France striker scored. The criticism led Roberto Carlos to announce that he didn’t want to play for the national team anymore.

"I was sad because there are more than 20 players in a team and I was the only one taking the blame for what happen," he said. "That bothered me. I am respected in Europe, but I also want to be respected in my own country."

The defender is returning to Brazil after 15 years in European football, where he played for Inter Milan, Real Madrid and then Fenerbahce. His last team in Brazil was Corinthians rival Palmeiras, which he helped to Brazilian league titles in 1993 and 1994.

At Corinthians, Roberto Carlos will join former Brazil teammate Ronaldo, another veteran who also hopes to return to the national team and play at the World Cup.

Roberto Carlos also played at the 1998 World Cup in France, and four years later helped Brazil win the title in South Korea and Japan.

The left back, runner-up in FIFA’s player of the year award in 1997, said he intends to end his career at Corinthians. He said one of his main goals this year will be to try to lead club to the Copa Libertadores title, the only major trophy the club has yet to win.

Corinthians will open its season by trying to defend its title in the traditional Sao Paulo state championship against Monte Azul on Jan. 17.