Ricardo Carvalho: The toughest line of defence

Carvalho is famous for his excellent timing when committing last-ditch tackles, particularly sliding tackles.

Very few players get by Ricardo Carvalho

Ricardo Carvalho

Born: May 18, 1978, in Amarante, Portugal

Position: Centre back

Nickname: Ricky

Clubs Played for: Ricardo Carvalho spent seven years with Porto, from 1997 to 2004, and although he was on loan to a number of Portuguese clubs (including Leca, Vitoria Futebol Clube and Alverca) Ricky solidified his place in Porto’s backline under Jose Mourinho. From 2001 to 2004, Carvalho missed few games as Porto club won two Portuguese Liga titles, one Portuguese Cup, one UEFA Cup and one Champions League.  Mourinho then brought Carvalho with him when he moved to Chelsea in 2004, and Carvalho helped The Special One institute his shrewd possession game at Stamford Bridge. In six seasons with the Blues, Carvalho has won three Premierships, two FA Cups and two League Cups, and has made over 200 appearances.

International career: Around the same time Carvalho established himself in Porto’s lineup, he also broke into the Portuguese national team. The 32-year-old featured with Portugal in Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and the 2006 World Cup. In seven years with Selecao das Quinas Carvalho has made over 60 appearances.

Why is he so special? Carvalho is famous for his excellent timing when committing last-ditch tackles, particularly sliding tackles. Although he sometimes tip-toes the line between a perfect challenge and a reckless lunge, Carvalho always tries to size up his attacker before throwing his feet forward. What’s more, Carvalho is also an adept passer of the ball.

His most famous moment: In 2006, Carvalho scored a goal from over 30 yards against Tottenham Hotspur.

He said it: "After last year [his injuries in 2009], I have been working hard and I am feeling fit. I'm happy to be helping the team again, which is important. Sometimes when we had too many games they [Chelsea coaches] wanted to rest me, but I want to play every game."

What they’re saying about him: "Carvalho is one of the best central defenders in the world." José Mourinho, Former Chelsea manager

Here is an interesting fact: In March, Frank Lampard told a U.K. website that he thinks Carvalho is the vainest player in the Chelsea dressing room.