Fate usually plays tricks, and with Heck in 1994 it would be no different. In the head of the coach, the ideal defense duo for the World Cup in the USA was formed by Ricardo Rocha and Ricardo Gomes. Already Márcio Santos, who was constantly called up by his predecessor Paulo Roberto Falcão, even as a player for the modest Novorizontino, almost missed the World Cup.
Márcio recalled that he was called to talk in a small room, at Granja Comary, with Parreira and Zagallo (then technical assistant), on the eve of the decisive duel with Bolivia, for the South American Qualifiers, in 1993. It ended up being informed that he would stay out of the game in Recife and that the defense would be formed by the “Ricardos”.
“Riccardo Gomes had already recovered from his injury, so he (Parreira) said: ‘Márcio, you’re very well, and so on’. I even joke, when he pats his back, praising it is a danger,” he said, laughing. “I said something like this: ‘when you go up to sleep in concentration, I don’t know if you’ll sleep with a guilty conscience, because I’m going to sleep, it’s a beauty, I’m going to sleep like an angel'”, he added.
Less than a week before the debut of the national team, Ricardo Gomes suffered a new muscle injury in his thigh, in the last friendly against El Salvador, and ended up being cut — Ronaldão was called to take his place. For the first round against Russia, Parreira confirmed Márcio Santos as a starter alongside Ricardo Rocha, who also got injured against the Russians and gave a spot to Aldair.
“Ricardo [Gomes] got hurt and I came back [ao time] the week before the premiere. I came back and was the best defender, elected by FIFA [no 3-5-2, o sistema defensivo ideal ainda teve Jorginho e Paolo Maldini]. So, you don’t need to say anything else. I never considered myself a reserve in the national team, when I entered, I entered calmly and said ‘well, I’m recovering my place’, and that’s what happened,” stated the former defender.