About Rivaldo

JamesStout

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Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira (born 19 April 1972 in Paulista, Pernambuco, Brazil), commonly known simply as Rivaldo, is a Brazilian professional footballer who currently plays for Uzbek side Bunyodkor. He is an attacking midfielder. He most notably played five years with Spanish 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.

In 1999, Rivaldo was honoured as FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year. He was named by Pelé as one of the 125 Greatest Living Footballers at a FIFA Awards Ceremony in 2004. He is also the president of Mogi Mirim Esporte Clube in his native Brazil.

Early life
Rivaldo had an extremely poor upbringing in the favelas of the port town of Recife. 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.

Club career
Early years 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 Paulo 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 Bauru 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 - Deportivo

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 Italy, Rivaldo moved to Spain 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.

Barcelona

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.

Milan

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, often playing second fiddle to Rui Costa. 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 Horizonte. On July 22, 2004 he returned to Europe, joining Greek Alpha Ethniki division club Olympiacos after much talk about which club he would join. 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 Bolton felt that the demands made by Rivaldo's agents were excessive.

Olympiacos

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.[citation needed] Rivaldo also scored two memorable free kicks during the season, the first in the local derby against Panathinaikos and the second against English 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 Thessaloniki, 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 BK, 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.
 
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