Legend focus: Rivaldo

In a new feature on AFEfootballnews, I will now be writing articles every so often focusing on different footballing legends throughout the years, first up is one of my all time favourite footballers … Brazilian forward Rivaldo!

The man himself!

Born Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira on the 19th of April 1972 , he grew up in Paulista in the Northeastern regions of Brazil, where poverty was and still is a huge struggle for those living there.

His upbringing in the favelas presented him with many obstacles to overcome, as even during his career, his physical appearance displayed signs of malnourishment which led to problems with his legs and loss of several teeth. However, despite being told by his coaches that he was too weak to play football, Rivaldo began his professional career aged 16, when he signed for Paulistano Futebol Clube in 1989.

Predominantly left footed, he then, went on to play for Santa Cruz in 1991, scoring 6 goals in 14 appearances.
In 1992, he moved south to play for Mogi Mirim, a team based in Sao Paulo, in the second tier of Brazilian football, scoring 10 goals in 30 appearances.
In 1993, he played on loan for first division outfit, Corinthians, scoring 11 goals in 30 games.
A move to Palmeiras then followed in 1994, where he won his first club honour, helping the club successfully defend its league championship and scored 21 goals in 45 games.
In both 1993 and 1994, he was achieved his first solo awards within gootball, when he was honoured by Placar Magazine with the Bola de Ouro for the best player in his position.

Following his blistering performances in Brazil, it was Initially rumoured that Rivaldo had chosen to sign for Parma, however after the 1996 Olympics it was announced that he would move to Spanish side Deportivo La Coruña instead. Despite having played only one season for the club, it could be said that he had a successful spell there, scoring 21 goals in 41 appearances and helping the team finish 3rd in the La Liga table.

His form didn’t go unnoticed.

In 1997, European giants Barcelona, paid £27 million for the forward, and his first season at the Nou Camp, he finished the season with 19 goals in 34 matches, as the club won The double (the La Liga title and the Copa Del Rey). In 1999, Rivaldo went on to win another La Liga title with Barcelona, this time scoring 24 goals. This season was a highly significant one within his career as he won the prestigious Ballon d’Or award by being named FIFA World Player of the Year, placing himself amongst heroes such as Marco Van Basten, Roberto Baggio and Zinedine Zidane, who had won the award in previous years.
However, in the following season, trouble followed as he fell out with new Barcelona manager Louis Van Gaal, who insisted that he played as a play maker rather than in his usual Left Wing position, following this disagreement Van Gaal was subsequently sacked in June 2000.
In the following 2000-01 season, Rivaldo returned to his excellent form with 23 goals and in the last game of the season, against Valencia, he scored what is now regarded as being one of the greatest hat-tricks ever, his first goal was a superb free kick that curled into the bottom right corner. The second goal saw him send the defender the wrong way, before swerving a strike in from 25 yards or so. His match winning third goal was his now famous overhead kick from the edge of the penalty area in the 90th minute of the game, which is regarded as one of the greatest goals of his career.
When Van Gaal returned to Barcelona in June of 2002, Rivaldo was released from his contract, having scored 92 goals in 182 games for the Catalan side, the highest amount he ever scored for one club.

"That" goal against Valencia!

Having left Barcelona, he moved to Italian giants AC Milan, where he spent a season and a half, winning the Coppa Italia and the Champions League in the 2002-03 season and scoring just 5 goals in 22 games
After leaving Milan, he briefly returned to Brazil, playing for Cruzeiro on loan, but failed to score a goal.
Incredibly, after his loan deal ended in 2004, he came close to signing for then Premier League side Bolton Wanderers, before they withdrew from the deal.

However, England was never ready for the legend that is Rivaldo and he instead chose to sign for Greek side Olympiacos, where rather ironically, he did end up in England, in a UEFA Champions League group game in against eventual champions Liverpool, where he scored a free-kick, silencing the Anfield Kop. Despite now being 33 years old at this point, in the last game of Rivaldo’s first season at Olympiacos, the club needed a victory in order to win the Alpha Ethniki championship. Olympiacos went on to beat Iraklis 0–1, thanks to the Brazilian’s goal, and secured the title. Still got it!
34 goals and 70 appearances later, he moved to rival Greek club, AEK Athens. Following major controversy involving point deductions due to use of illegal players, Rivaldo decide to leave AEK Athens after one season there (2007-08) he left the club having scored 12 goals in 35 games.

On the 25th of August, 2008, Rivaldo agreed to continue his career at Buyodkor in Uzbekistan, after accepting what he described as an “extremely tempting contract offer”, which later turned out to be a two-year contract worth €10.2 million. He left the club with an Impressive record of 33 goals in 53 games.

After this, his career began to slowly come to a halt.

Seasons in Sao Paulo (Brazil, 5 goals in 30 games), Kabuscorp (Angola, 11 goals in 21 games), Sao Caetano (Brazil, 0 goals in 7 games) and a return to former club, Mogi Mirim (1 goal in 7 games) followed.
One of the saddest days in recent footballing history took place when in August of 2015, the Brazilian legend announces that he was retiring from the game for good due to his persistent injuries.

International career

In 1993, he debuted for the Brazilian national football team, scoring the only goal in a friendly match against Mexico. At the 2002 FIFA World Cup in South Korea and Japan, Rivaldo helped his country to win their fifth World Cup. During this tournament, he featured in what I consider to be the best attacking trio in recent memory (forget Messi, Suarez and Neymar!), when he played alongside Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, forming “the three R’s”.
However, despite a highly successful tournament, Rivaldo couldnt steer clear of controversy as a now infamous footballing incident occurred. Near the end of the match against Turkey, with the ball out of play, Turkish defender Hakan Ünsal, kicked a ball towards Rivaldo, who was waiting at the corner flag. The ball struck his thigh, but Rivaldo fell to the ground clutching his face. The referee sent the Turkish player off with a second yellow card. After a video review, Rivaldo was fined 11,670 Swiss francs by FIFA, for simulation and tarnished his otherwise respectable reputation.

"That" infamous diving incident!

Rivaldo’s last cap was on 19 November 2003 in Curitiba in a 3–3 draw with Uruguay, his last goal came from the penalty spot in a 1–1 draw with Peru. In his time with the national side, Rivaldo won 74 caps, and scored 35 goals.


The Brazilian forward is regarded by many as being one of the best players of his generation, and one of greatest Brazilian footballers of all time.
Rivaldo was a highly skilful, and creative player, known for his incredible ball control and dribbling abilities. He was also renowned for his accurate free-kicks, and his excellent technique.
When it came to overhead kicks he was the master.
In short, Barcelona and Brazil legend.

Phenomenal - winning the Ballon d'Or in 1999!

One last interesting Rivaldo fact … Last season he played a game for Mogi Mirim alongside his son Rivaldinho!

Total honours:


Brazilian Serie A: 1994 
Campeonato Paulista (2) 1994, 1996


UEFA Super Cup: 1997
Spanish La Liga (2): 1998, 1999
Copa Del Rey: 1998

AC Milan:

UEFA Champions League: 2003
Coppa Italia: 2003
UEFA Super Cup: 2003


Campeonato Mineiro: 2004


Greek Super League (3): 2005, 2006, 2007
Greek Cup (2): 2005, 2006


Uzbek League (3): 2008, 2009, 2010
Uzbekistani Cup (2): 2008, 2010
Runner-up (1) 2009


Confederations Cup: 1997
Copa América: 1999
FIFA World Cup: 2002
Runner-up (1): 1998
1996 Summer Olympics: Bronze Medalist
Umbro Cup: 1995

Highlight - with the World Cup trophy in 2002!

Individual achievements:

Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
Brazilian Bola de Prata: 1993, 1994
La Liga foreign player of the year: 1997–98
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team (2): 1998, 2002
ESM Team of the Year (2): 1998–99, 1999–2000
World Soccer Player of the Year: 1999
Onze d’Or: 1999
Ballon d’Or: 1999
FIFA World Player of the Year: 1999
Copa América 1999: Top Scorer
Copa América 1999: Most Valuable Player
Trofeo EFE: 1999
UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2000
IFFHS World’s Top Goal Scorer of the Year: 2000
FIFA World Player of the Year: Bronze award 2000
FIFA World Cup Silver Boot: 2002
FIFA XI: 2002
FIFA 100
Greek Championship Best Foreign Player (2): 2006, 2007
Uzbek League Top Scorer: 2009

Rivaldo ... Take a bow son!

Posted by Arron Fôn Evans.


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