Monaco - Nice

Carlos Eduardo: memories of a derby hero

He's the last Nice hero of a derby in Monaco. It was a majestic free-kick that earned all three points in the principality and started a love affair between himself and the Red-and-Black family. We spoke to him by phone ahead of this weekend's derby.

He only stayed at Nice for a season, but Carlos Eduardo made an impression in the 2014/15 campaign, one that "will stay forever in my heart." He joined on loan from Porto and could barely speak French at the time, but when we call him, he is able to understand us easily. "How nice it is for me to be able to talk about Nice," he says, having just returned home from training with Botafogo. 


The discussion quickly turns to that derby on 27 September 2014. "It's my first goal for Nice, I'll never forget that," said the man who wore the number three shirt during his time with the club. "It was special, a free-kick, and after I went to celebrate with the fans. They all came for the game on motorbikes. I still have a lot of things that come to mind." The free-kick was central, 25 metres out, and he aimed for teammate Alassane Plea in the wall. Plea ducked, and the ball flew past Danijel Subasic just seven minutes in.

It was only his fourth match for the Aiglons, but it made him an icon, and he came off with 14 minutes to go to be replaced by…Didier Digard: "I don't remember that. Didier was a good captain, and is a good person. I'm happy he's become the coach. I hope he'll make history."


While his goal lives vividly in the memory of fans, Carlos Eduardo's connection to the club also remains very much alive. "I watch all of Nice's games. The club will remain in my heart forever. I love it, just as I love the people who work there, the fans, and the city. In my career, that's where I was most happy." 

In 30 matches, he scored 10 goals including his scissor kick at Lyon, his volley at Lorient, and his five-goal haul at Guingamp. It helped Claude Puel's squad avoid relegation, finishing 11th. Carlos Eduardo returned to Porto before then moving to Saudi Arabia where he played for Al Hilal for five seasons, scoring 77 goals in 148 matches and winning seven league titles. That career move "changed my life" and after playing in Dubai, he returned to his native Brazil to join Botafogo in 2022. The father of four has never come back to Nice since his playing days, but hopes to at some stage in the future, and he'll be watching on Sunday: "I hope that we'll win. Good luck to all the players and the supporters. They'll remain in my heart always. Thank you for everything."


En 30 matchs, il claque 10 pions. Au bout d’une saison éprouvante, le groupe de Claude Puel décroche finalement son maintien, terminant même à une honorable 11ème place. Dans la foulée de cet exercice, Carlos Eduardo quitte le club, où il était prêté par le FC Porto, pour l’Arabie Saoudite. Pendant 5 saisons, il devient une légende d’Al Hilal, avec qui il dispute 148 matchs, inscrit 77 buts et remporte 8 titres. Ce choix de carrière lui « change la vie » et après une dernière pige à Dubaï, regagne son Brésil natal, en 2022 sous le maillot de Botafogo, pour se rapprocher de sa famille, après 14 ans d’exil. Papa poule de 4 enfants, il n’est pas revenu à Nice de son départ et jure de le faire quand les étoiles et les saisons seront alignées.

Quant au mot de la fin, il nous ramène au début de l’histoire, dans une sorte de continuité brûlante : « J’espère que dimanche, nous allons gagner. Bonne chance à tous les joueurs et tous les supporters. Ils resteront dans mon cœur toute ma vie. Merci pour tout. »