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Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira (born 19 April 1972 in Paulistamarker, Pernambuco), commonly known as simply Rivaldo, is a Brazilianmarker professional footballer who currently plays for Uzbek League club Bunyodkor on a multi-million dollar contract. He is widely considered one of the finest playmakers in the modern history of the game. He most notably played five years with Spanishmarker club FC Barcelona, with whom he won the 1998 and 1999 Spanish La Liga championship and the 1998 Copa del Rey.

Between 1993 and 2003, Rivaldo played 74 matches and scored 34 goals for the Brazil national football team and was a part of the 2002 FIFA World Cup winning Brazilian team. An attacking midfielder, he is known for his play-making capabilities, as well as his goalscoring ability. He is also known for his bicycle kicks.

He was honoured as FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year in 1999. He was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFAmarker Awards Ceremony in 2004.

He is the president of Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube in his native Brazil.

Biography

Rivaldo had an extremely poor upbringing in the favelas of the port town of Recifemarker. His physical appearance still marks the poverty he experienced in his childhood: malnourishment-caused bowleggedness and the loss of several teeth. Rivaldo's father Romildo was killed in a road accident in 1989, but Rivaldo went on to his first professional contract later that year.

Beginnings in Brazil

Rivaldo began his professional career at the age of 16, when he signed with Paulista, from Pernambuco, in 1989, despite the Paulista coaches believing him too physically weak to succeed. He went on to play for Santa Cruz in 1991. In 1992, he moved south to the state of São Paulomarker where he played for Mogi Mirim in the second tier of Brazilian football. It was for Mogi Mirim that he made his claim to fame: in a 1993 São Paulo State Championship match against Baurumarker team Noroeste, as soon as the referee whistled for the beginning of the match, Rivaldo noticed the Noroeste goalkeeper ahead of his position and scored the opening goal by lobbing the ball over the keeper, shooting from the midfield circle.

In 1993, the forward moved to the state capital to play for Corinthians in the first division. In the same year, he debuted for the Brazilian national football team, scoring the only goal in a friendly match against Mexico.

In the next year, he switched local allegiances and moved to Palmeiras, helping the club successfully defend its league championship in 1994. In both 1993 and 1994, he was honoured by the authoritative publication Placar Magazine with the Bola de Prata for the best player in his field position. He was selected to represent Brazil at the 1996 Summer Olympics. The Brazilian team won the bronze medal, but Rivaldo was made the scape-goat for Brazil's semi-final defeat to Nigeria, and was excluded from the Brazilian national team by national team manager Mario Zagallo.

Transfer to Europe

Before the 1996 Olympics, AC Parma announced that they had signed Rivaldo and his teammate Amaral from Palmeiras. After the Olympics, there was a dispute, and rather than Italymarker, Rivaldo moved to Spainmarker as he joined Deportivo La Coruña in La Liga. He only stayed for one season, but nonetheless a very successful one for both him and the club. Rivaldo was the fourth top goal scorer of the season with 21 goals (tied) in 41 matches as Deportivo finished third in the league. Rivaldo moved on to league rivals FC Barcelona in 1997 in a transfer deal securing Deportivo a 4000 million pesetas (around $26 million) transfer fee.

In his first season at Barcelona, he was the second top goal scorer with 19 goals in 34 matches, as Barcelona won The Double of La Liga championship and Copa del Rey. Rivaldo returned to the Brazilian national team for the 1998 FIFA World Cup, where he scored three goals, including two in the 3-2 quarter-final win against Denmark. Rivaldo had not been a part of the triumphant Brazilian team at the 1997 Copa América tournament, but was a key player in the successful defence of that title at the 1999 Copa América. Rivaldo earned himself the distinction as top scorer of the tournament with five goals, one being the equaliser from a trademark free-kick in a 2-1 win over Argentina in the quarter-finals, and two in the 3-0 victory over Uruguay in the final. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the tournament.

In 1999, he won another La Liga title with Barcelona, and was again the second most scoring player in the league. In 1999, Rivaldo won both the FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year awards. In his third season in Barcelona, Rivaldo fell out with manager Louis van Gaal, when he insisted to play as a playmaker, and not on the left wing. Even though he had a strained relationship with van Gaal, Rivaldo went on to score 10 goals in the European UEFA Champions League tournament, as the club reached the semi-finals. Van Gaal was fired in June 2000. In the following 2000-01 season, Rivaldo was once again the second best goal scorer of the league. In the last game of the season, against Valencia, Rivaldo scored a hat-trick to win the game 3-2. His third goal was a bicycle kick from the edge of the area in the 90th minute of the game, and is regarded as one of his greatest goals ever in a combination of importance and skill. The win secured Barcelona a place in the following UEFA Champions League tournament.

2002 World Cup

Rivaldo had been the centre of criticism when Brazil did not win tournaments, ever since the 1996 Olympics, as he was said to be saving his best form for his club team. During the 2002 World Cup qualifying games, Brazil's poor form saw the team being booed by the Brazilian crowds, and in the 1-0 win against Colombia in November 2000, Rivaldo was booed so heavily that he threatened to retire from playing for his country.

He was at the centre of numerous tug of wars between Barcelona and the Brazilian national team. In one incident in the summer of 2001, Rivaldo had to play an exhibition match for Brazil against Panama, commute to Polandmarker to play a match for Barcelona, and then return to Brazil for a qualifying match against Paraguay, all within ten days.

The zenith of his national team career came at the 2002 FIFA World Cup, hosted in South Koreamarker and Japanmarker. He scored in the first five games for Brazil. Brazilian striker Ronaldo had done so for four matches, allowing journalists to question whether there was any rivalry between the two athletes. Rivaldo denied this, insisting that all he wanted was to be the world champion. His spectacular goal against Belgium in the second round prompted Belgian coach Robert Waseige to name Rivaldo as the deciding factor. Brazilian midfielder Ronaldinho helped Rivaldo score a crucial goal in the 2-1 win over England in the quarterfinals. Brazil eventually met Germany in the final, and went on to win the tournament with a 2-0 victory in the final. Both Ronaldo goals came from trademark Rivaldo plays, as both Rivaldo and Brazil made amends for the 1998 FIFA World Cup Final loss to France. Rivaldo was named by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari as the best player of the tournament.

His early performance at the tournament was marred by his play-acting in the group match against Turkey In the closing stages of the match, 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, 1,670 of which were for "costs".

Barcelona exit

In June 2002, van Gaal returned to manage Barcelona. Rivaldo was released from his contract, and signed a three-year deal with the Italian Serie A club Milan. With Milan, he won the Italian Cup and the UEFA Champions League in the 2002-03 season. His time in Milan proved a mutually disappointing affair. He left the club after a season of very few starts, partly due to injury problems. He briefly returned to Brazil, playing for Cruzeiro in Belo Horizontemarker. On July 22, 2004 he returned to Europe, joining Greek Alpha Ethniki division club Olympiacos after much talk about which club he would join. Olympiacos had to fight off other clubs like Celtic. There was also speculation that he might join English club Bolton Wanderers, with Rivaldo stating that he wanted to help them qualify for Europe for the first time. However the deal fell apart because his agents were making too many demands.

Olympiacos move

Rivaldo scored some memorable goals in his first season at Olympiacos, including a fantastic effort in the Greek Cup final with a well placed lob from a difficult position close to the corner flag. Rivaldo also scored two memorable free kicks during the season, the first in the local derby against Panathinaikos and the second against Englishmarker club Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League. Olympiacos managed to keep the 1-0 lead against their arch-rivals, but Liverpool fought back to score the 3 goals needed to keep Olympiacos from the Final 16, much to Rivaldo's dismay. In the last game of his first season at Olympiacos, the club needed a victory in order to win the Alpha Ethniki championship, with Panathinaikos just one point behind. Olympiacos went on to beat Iraklis 0-1 in an away match in Thessalonikimarker, by yet another Rivaldo goal, and secured the championship.

Rivaldo continued to score in the UEFA Champions League the following year. He scored a stunning 30 yard strike against Rosenborg BKmarker, and against old foes Real Madrid, although this was not enough, as Olympiacos failed to advance from the preliminary Group Phase. In the domestic competitions, he kept the best for the second half of the season. He scored twice in Olympiacos' come-from-behind victory against Panathinaikos, as well as two in his team's 3-0 triumph against second placed AEK Athens, effectively securing another title for Olympiacos. He also put Olympiacos through to the Greek Cup semi-finals, scoring on free-kicks in both quarter-final games against Skoda Xanthi.

Rivaldo renewed his contract with Olympiacos for a third and final year, and promised to give his best, despite having turned 34. He didn't wait long to turn his words into actions: He led Olympiacos to overturn their half-time deficit against Skoda Xanthi, and scored both goals for the dramatic 2-1 victory in the first game of the season, winning him the Greek SuperLeague's first-ever Player of the Week and Goal of the Week awards. In July 2006, Rivaldo announced that the 2006-07 season with Olympiacos would be his last in Europe, before returning to Brazil. However he quicky changed his decicion and decided to stay for another year. The 2006-2007 season was arguably his best season at Olympiakos, having scored 17 goals at 27 matches, at the Superleague championship.

AEK Athens

Rivaldo quit Olympiacos after contract negotiations stalled and signed on with rival Super League club AEK Athens on 29 May 2007, making the acquisition arguably the best in the team's history. Rivaldo finished his Olympiakos career with 43 goals in 81 games played.

At AEK Athens, Rivaldo played under his former Barcelona manager Llorenç Serra Ferrer. He began his AEK career with a bang, scoring in his first friendly match. European goals soon followed; a penalty kick against Sevilla in AEK's unsuccessful UEFA Champions League qualifier, and a stunning bicycle kick in their UEFA Cup first round thumping of the Austrianmarker side Red Bull Salzburg. Rivaldo's first Super League goal with AEK Athens came through a penalty in their 3-0 win against Panionios. Rivaldo was the Man of the Match against his former team Olympiacos, where he had 3 assists and his team won 4-0.

Move to Uzbekistan

Rivaldo announced on 25 August 2008 to a Greek Sport Radio Station that he agreed to continue his career at Bunyodkor in Uzbekistanmarker, effective immediately, after what he described as an "extremely tempting contract offer".

Rivaldo signed a 2-year contract worth €10.2 million and started his Uzbekistan career superbly with a brace on his debut. He scored his third goal in the AFC Champions League quarter final match leg 1, against Saipa of Iranmarker in the match that finished 2-2. He scored in the return leg as well, in a 5-1 victory. On 19th of November 2008 he signed a new contract that will keep him in Uzbekistan until June of 2011.

Career Statistics

As of 2008.
Club Season League Cup Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Mogi Mrim 1992 30 10 - - 30 10
Total 30 10 - - - - 30 10
Corinthians 1993 19 11 - - 19 11
1994 22 6 - - 22 6
Total 41 17 - - - - 41 17
Palmeiras 1994 29 13 - - 29 13
1995 45 17 - ? ? ? ?
1996 30 23 - - 30 23
Total 126 53 - - ? ? ? ?
Deportivo la Coruña 1996-97 41 21 5 1 - 46 22
Total 41 21 5 1 - - 46 22
Barcelona 1997-98 34 19 9 8 8 1 51 28
1998-99 37 24 5 2 6 3 48 29
1999-00 31 12 5 1 14 10 50 23
2000-01 35 23 5 2 13 11 53 36
2001-02 20 8 0 0 13 6 33 14
Total 157 86 24 13 54 31 235 130
Milan 2002-03 22 5 ? ? 13 2 35 7
2003-04 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Total 22 5 ? ? 13 2 35 7
Cruzeiromarker 2004 2 1 - - 2 1
Total 2 1 - - - - 2 1
Olympiacos 2004-05 23 12 ? 6 1 ? ?
2005-06 22 7 ? 5 2 ? ?
2006-07 25 17 ? 6 0 ? ?
Total 70 36 ? ? 17 3 ? ?
AEK Athens 2007-08 29 18 ? ? ? ?
Total 29 8 ? ? ? ? ? ?
Career total 518 237 ? ? ? ? ? ?


Honours

 Palmeiras:


 Barcelona:


 Milan:


 Olympiacos:


 Bunyodkor:


 Brazil


Individual

Top Scorer trophy of Uzbek League 2009

References

  1. Mike Lee, Overcoming Tragedy to be the Greatest, British Council
  2. Rivaldo: In the name of the father, FIFA, October 10, 2000
  3. http://www.rsssf.com/miscellaneous/rivaldo-intlg.html
  4. RIVALDO NOT A HAPPY NOU CAMP-ER, 4thegame, December 22, 1999
  5. A star less bright, The Observer, June 30, 2002
  6. Rodrigo Amaral, Rivaldo reflects on wheel of fortune, BBC, June 20, 2002
  7. Brazil questions Rivaldo's role, BBC, November 19, 2000
  8. John Chapman, Wilmots tells of ref's apology, BBC, June 17, 2002
  9. Scolari: Rivaldo did not cheat The Guardian June 04 2002
  10. Rivaldo fined half a day's pay for play-acting, The Age, June 6, 2002
  11. Bolton Wanderers Hall of Shame: Rivaldo. Manny Road, August 8 2008
  12. [1] Rivaldo's goal vs. Rosenborg], Youtube
  13. Rivaldo to quit at end of season, BBC, July 17, 2006
  14. Rivaldo quits AEK Athens to head to Uzbekistan, ESPNsoccernet, August 25, 2008
  15. World in motion Times Online February 3, 2009
  16. http://www.footballdatabase.com/index.php?page=player&Id=1100&b=true&pn=Vítor_Borba_(Rivaldo)_Ferreira
  17. http://soccernet.espn.go.com/players/stats?id=9312&cc=5739
  18. http://uk.eurosport.yahoo.com/football/rivaldo.html


External links




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