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Paulo Roberto Falcão, Roma 1983-84.jpg
Falcão with Roma during the 1983–84 Serie A season
Personal information
Full name Paulo Roberto Falcão
Date of birth (1953-10-16) 16 October 1953 (age 70)
Place of birth Abelardo Luz, Brazil
Height 1.83 m
Playing position Midfielder
Youth career
1965–1972 Internacional
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1972–1980 Internacional 342 (58)
1980–1985 Roma 107 (22)
1985–1986 São Paulo 12 (0)
Total 461 (80)
National team
1972 Brazil U23 12 (2)
1976–1986 Brazil 34 (6)
Teams managed
1990–1991 Brazil
1991–1992 Club América
1993 Internacional
1994 Japan
2011 Internacional
2012 Bahia
2015–2016 Sport Recife
2016 Internacional
  • Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only.
† Appearances (Goals).

Paulo Roberto Falcão, or simply Falcão (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈpawlu ʁoˈbɛʁtu fawˈkɐ̃w]; born 16 October 1953), is a Brazilian former footballer and football manager. He is universally considered one of the greatest Brazilian players of all time and one of the greatest defensive midfielders in football history, and one of the best players in the world in his position at his peak in the 1980s.

Falcão is widely considered one of the best players in Internacional and Roma history, playing also for São Paulo. At one stage, he was the world's highest paid footballer.

Due to his success and performances with Roma, Falcão earned the nickname "the eighth King of Rome" from the fans, like Amedeo Amadei before him, and was inducted into the club's Hall of Fame in 2013.

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

Club career


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 second 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 the 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 ever 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 second, 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 he 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 four games and one 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 five years in Rome.

São Paulo

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.

International career

Falcão made 34 appearences for the Brazil national team between 1976 and 1986, scoring six goals. He was a member of the side that finished third at the 1979 Copa América, scoring his only goal of the tournament in the second leg of the semi-finals, a 2–2 draw against eventual champions Paraguay, although the latter nation advanced to the final 4–3 on aggregate. He was surprisingly left out of Brazil's 1978 World Cup squad, despite being included on the 40–player shortlist before the tournament.

Falcão starred in the midfield of the Brazil 1982 World Cup team, along with Toninho Cerezo, Zico, Eder and Socrates in a 4–2–2–2 formation; the side is generally seen by pundits as one of the best teams not to win the World Cup. Although initially he was only intended to be a substitute, due to a suspension to Cerezo, Falcão started in Brazil's opening match, as they beat Soviet Union 2–1; he went on to start in each match of the tournament, scoring the last goal as Brazil then beat Scotland 4–1, and adding another goal in the 4–0 win against New Zealand.

In the second phase of the World Cup, in the so-called "Group of Death," his team obtained a 3–1 win against the reigning World Champions and rivals 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, advancing in their place. Falcão got the second equalising goal for Brazil against his adopted country with a drive from the edge of the area, which was deflected by opposing defender Giuseppe Bergomi. The defeat and resulting elimination affected Falcão and several of his teammates heavily; 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 the team 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 career

From 1990 to 1991 Falcão was the manager of the Brazil national team; he led the team to as second place finish at the 1991 Copa América, behind rivals Argentina. 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 Japan national team. In April 2011, after 16 years without managing a club, he was signed by Internacional, replacing Celso Roth. He was then sacked in July following three consecutive defeats in the Brazilian league.

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

Falcão returned to Internacional in July 2016, but was sacked after three losses and two draws, only one month later. On 17 November 2022, he joined Santos as a sporting coordinator.

On 4 August 2023, Falcão left his role at Santos.

Style of play

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, 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. His role has also been likened to that of a metodista ("centre-half," in Italian football jargon), due to his ability to dictate play in midfield as well as assist his team defensively.

Personal life

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

Falcao married his first wife attorney Rosane Leal Damazio, in 1993 with whom he had a son Paulo Roberto Falcão Filho, born in July 21 1993.

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


Career statistics


Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League State League Cup Continental Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Internacional 1973 Série A 34 0 2 0 36 0
1974 21 2 18 0 39 2
1975 19 1 24 7 43 8
1976 15 5 26 4 6 1 47 10
1977 9 0 32 7 7 0 48 7
1978 27 5 34 7 61 12
1979 20 6 45 11 65 17
1980 13 3 3 0 9 2 25 5
Total 158 22 184 36 22 3 364 61
Roma 1980–81 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
Total 107 22 22 1 23 4 152 27
São Paulo 1985 Série A 1 0 11 0 12 0
1986 0 0 0 0 2 1 2 1
Total 1 0 11 0 2 1 14 1
Career total 266 44 195 36 22 1 45 7 2 1 530 89


Appearances and goals by national team and year
National team Year Apps Goals
Brazil 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

Managerial statistics

Managerial record by team and tenure
Team Nat From To Record Ref
G W D L GF GA GD Win %
Brazil Brazil 16 August 1990 20 August 1991 &&&&&&&&&&&&&017.&&&&&017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&07.&&&&&07 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 &&&&&&&&&&&&&022.&&&&&022 &&&&&&&&&&&&&018.&&&&&018 +4 &&&&&&&&&&&&&035.29000035.29
Club América Mexico November 1991 November 1992 &&&&&&&&&&&&&051.&&&&&051 &&&&&&&&&&&&&021.&&&&&021 &&&&&&&&&&&&&014.&&&&&014 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.&&&&&016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&073.&&&&&073 &&&&&&&&&&&&&066.&&&&&066 +7 &&&&&&&&&&&&&041.18000041.18
Internacional Brazil September 1993 November 1993 &&&&&&&&&&&&&014.&&&&&014 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 &&&&&&&&&&&&&017.&&&&&017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&020.&&&&&020 −3 &&&&&&&&&&&&&035.71000035.71
Japan Japan May 1994 October 1994 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&09.&&&&&09 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&04.&&&&&04 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.&&&&&016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&013.&&&&&013 +3 &&&&&&&&&&&&&033.33000033.33
Internacional Brazil 10 April 2011 18 July 2011 &&&&&&&&&&&&&019.&&&&&019 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&08.&&&&&08 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 &&&&&&&&&&&&&030.&&&&&030 &&&&&&&&&&&&&024.&&&&&024 +6 &&&&&&&&&&&&&042.11000042.11
Bahia Brazil 6 February 2012 20 July 2012 &&&&&&&&&&&&&036.&&&&&036 &&&&&&&&&&&&&016.&&&&&016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&010.&&&&&010 &&&&&&&&&&&&&010.&&&&&010 &&&&&&&&&&&&&062.&&&&&062 &&&&&&&&&&&&&040.&&&&&040 +22 &&&&&&&&&&&&&044.44000044.44
Sport Recife Brazil 20 September 2015 18 April 2016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&034.&&&&&034 &&&&&&&&&&&&&017.&&&&&017 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 &&&&&&&&&&&&&011.&&&&&011 &&&&&&&&&&&&&049.&&&&&049 &&&&&&&&&&&&&033.&&&&&033 +16 &&&&&&&&&&&&&050.&&&&&050.00
Internacional Brazil 12 July 2016 8 August 2016 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&05.&&&&&05 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&02.&&&&&02 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&03.&&&&&03 &&&&&&&&&&&&&&06.&&&&&06 &&&&&&&&&&&&&010.&&&&&010 −4 &0&&&&&&&&&&&&&&00.&&&&&00.00
Total &&&&&&&&&&&&0185.&&&&&0185 &&&&&&&&&&&&&076.&&&&&076 &&&&&&&&&&&&&052.&&&&&052 &&&&&&&&&&&&&057.&&&&&057 &&&&&&&&&&&&0275.&&&&&0275 &&&&&&&&&&&&0224.&&&&&0224 +51 &&&&&&&&&&&&&041.&8000041.08




São Paulo

  • Campeonato Paulista: 1985
  • Taça dos Campeões Estaduais Rio-São Paulo: 1985


  • Bola de Prata Brazilian Championship All-Star Team: 1975, 1978, 1979
  • Bola de Ouro Brazilian Footballer of the Year: 1978, 1979
  • Bronze ball South American Player of the Year: 1979
  • FIFA World Cup Silver Ball: 1982
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1982
  • FIFA XI: 1982
  • Silver ball South American Player of the Year: 1982
  • Onze de Bronze: 1982
  • Guerin Sportivo All-Star Team: 1982, 1983
  • Onze d'Argent: 1983
  • Guerin Sportivo World Player of the Year: 1983
  • World Soccer's 100 Greatest Footballers of All Time: 1999
  • FIFA 100: 2004
  • A.S. Roma Hall of Fame: 2012
  • Italian Football Hall of Fame: 2016
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
  • Golden Foot: 2019, as football legend

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Paulo Falcão para niños

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