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Rivaldo won the Ballon d'Or while he was at FC Barcelona / PHOTO: ARXIU FCB

Rivaldo used social networks to reveal that “with tears in my eyes I’d like to give thanks to God, my family and for all the support I have received in 24 years as a player. Today I’m announcing to my fans around the world that my history as a player has reached its end.”

The now former striker is unquestionably one of the greatest players ever to play for Barça. He excelled here for five years between 1997 and 2002. Rivaldo (Recife, Brazil, 1972) arrived from Deportivo la Coruña for the 1997/98 season, as a direct replacement for his compatriot Ronaldo. Tall and strong, he did so brilliantly with the kind of skill rarely seen before, a tremendous left foot, exquisite dribbling ability, a powerful shot and an outstanding capacity to score from set pieces.

Best in the world 1999

He wasn’t a natural centre forward, but tended instead to play out wide or just behind the attack, but still managed to score an astonishing amount of goals for FC Barcelona: 136 in 253 appearances. He was always a discrete person who preferred to so his talking on the pitch, and was rewarded with the Ballon d’Or in 1999.

Some of the fondest memories of his time at FCB include a famous hat-trick at the San Siro, a brace (with another goal inexplicably disallowed) at the Bernabéu in 2000/01, and most of all his spectacular last-minute overhead kick against Valencia to ensure qualification for the following season’s Champions League. At Barcelona, Rivaldo won two leagues, one cup and one European Supercup.

After winning the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, Rivaldo left Barça to spend two seasons at AC Milan. Since then, he also played for clubs in Brazil, Greece, Uzbekistan and Angola. He is currently president of Brazilian Serie C club Mogi Mirim, where is son Rivaldinho is among the playing squad.

 

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