Let’s take a look at one of the finest ever Brazilian internationals that won everything across 4 continents and played football well into his 40s in this Rivaldo biography.
One of the greatest second strikers in history of football and the 1999 Ballon d’Or winner is the Brazilian Rivaldo. During the course of his highly successful career spanning over 25 years and 4 continents, Rivaldo became known as a deadly striker who used his powerful shots, precise free-kicks and his acrobatic kicks to devastating effect. He mainly operated as a second striker or an attacking midfielder but he could also play on either flanks as a wide player.
Rivaldo’s height of powers came during his time as a Barcelona player, during the late 90s and early 2000s. there he formed a deadly partnership with Patrick Kluivert and became one of Barcelona’s all-time leading goal scorers. He did the same in Brazil’s national team with Ronaldo as they paired up to be one of the most legendary duos in football history. They reached 2 World Cup finals and won once. Later in his career Rivaldo ended up playing football till he was 43 years old. Now that the brief introduction is over, let’s take an extensive look at Rivaldo lifestory and career in this
In this brief Rivaldo bio, we take a closer look at how he became one of the greatest Brazilian internationals, starting from his days playing football in his home country to the height of his powers in Barcelona and beyond:
So let’s start Rivaldo bio with a general information about his physical attributes and his position on the pitch:
Full Name: Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira
Nickname: The Complete Package
Profession: former footballer
Rivaldo Physical Stats
Height: 1.86 m (6 ft 1 in)
Eye Color: Brown
Hair Color: Black
Weight: 75 kg
Rivaldo Football Information
Positon: Attacking Midfielder / Forward
Professional Debut: 1989
Jersey Number: 10
Rivaldo Date of Birth and Personal Info
Date of Birth: 19 April 1972
Birth Place: Recife, Brazil
Rivaldo Early Life
Born in a poor favela of the city of Recife in the Pernambuco state of Brazil,
Rivaldo date of birth
is 19 April 1972. He actually had a pretty rough childhood mainly because of poverty which took a toll on his body. His bowleggedness and the loss of his several teeth is the result of the malnourishment that was caused by poverty in his childhood.
Although like many financially challenged Brazilians, much of
was spent taking comfort in playing football. Although he was rejected by many professional clubs due to his weak physique.
Things didn’t get any better as he got older since he lost his father in a terrible car crash, when he was barely 17. But luck finally turned his eye on him and Rivaldo got offered his first professional contract by the Paulistano Futebol Clube in 1989 and his journey toward football greatness started.
We will take a look at Rivaldo’s career as a footballer in the different teams that he played throughout his career in this section of Rivaldo biography and starting with his time in his native Brazil:
First let’s take a look at Rivaldo’s club career as well as his time with the Brazilian national team:
Early years in Brazil
Rivaldo started his career in Brazil’s second tier of football, Serie B, with Santa Cruz in 1991. He remained with Santa Cruz for a season and a half before he joined the Sao Paolo based club Mogi Mirim, a club that he would later own.
After a successful season with Mogi Mirim, Rivaldo was getting noticed by Brazil’s big clubs and was subsequently loaned out to Corinthians for a season. Corinthians came close to winning the league that season but were beaten to it byPalmeiras
, Rivaldo’s future club.
After a season withCorinthians
, Rivaldo moved to the defending champions Palmeiras in 1994 and in his first season he experienced his first taste of success and experienced what was his true break out season. he stayed with Palmeiras for 3 seasons, scoring 60 goals in 97 matches, and helped Palmeiras to a Serie A title as well as two state league titles.
His move to Deportivo and subsequently Barcelona
After a successful time with Palmeiras, Rivaldo had caught the eye of many European teams and so after the Summer Olympics of 1996 he joined the Spanish club,Deportivo La Coruna
. His first and only season with Deportivo became highly successful as Rivaldo showed just how exceptionally talented he was and that he was the finished article. He scored 21 goals in La Liga that season and helped Deportivo to a third place position in the league, which was a big achievement for the club.
With Ronaldo leaving Barcelona in the summer of 1997,Barcelona
felt that they had to replace him and acquiring Rivaldo was the reasonable next step, since he had already established himself in La Liga. Rivaldo joined Barcelona in a deal worth around $26 million and he immediately showed why he was worth that much money as he became La Liga’s 2nd placed top scorer after Raul Gonzalez. Barcelona won the double of La Liga and Copa del Rey that season.
Rivaldo once again came in behind Raul as the La Liga’s top scorer in the following 1998-99, scoring 23 in the competition. Barcelona once again won the La Liga and Rivaldo would go on to help Brazil win the Copa America in the summer, which earned him a Ballon d’Or and a FIFA World Player of the Year award in 1999.
Luis van Gaal who was appointed as Barcelona’s manager in 1998, began using Rivaldo as more of a playmaker rather than a winger, which didn’t sit well with the player and his goal numbers began to drop during the 1999-2000 season. although he managed an impressive 10 goals in the Champions League as Barcelona reached the semi-finals of the competition.
Van Gaal was eventually sacked and Rivaldo went on to have his best goal tally in a single season during the 2000-01 season as he hit 36. Barca once again didn’t win any honors but as they were battling Valencia for a 4th place finish and Champions League qualification, the two clubs went against each other in the final day of the season.
Rivaldo scored 2 magnificent goals from outside the box to keep Barca in front butValencia
equalized the score. Then just before the 90 minutes’ mark, Rivaldo received the ball with his back to the goal and after chesting it high into the air rose to put the ball into the net with a brilliant bicycle kick, completing his hat-trick which is widely considered to be the best hat-trick of all time. Barcelona got into the 2001-02 season’s Champions League, which would be Rivaldo’s last season at Camp Nou.
AC Milan and Rivaldo’s decline
After winning the 2002 World Cup in style, Rivaldo’s stocks were high as he signed withAC Milan
but the next chapter in
Rivaldo life story
would be the beginning of his downfall at the top levels of European football.
At Milan, Rivaldo never really fit into Ancelotti’s plans and he didn’t feature in many games, although he did win the Copa Italia and Champions League with Milan before terminating his contract in the following season.
He then went back to Brazil for a short time to play for Cruzeiro but left the club after 2 months, joining the Greek sideOlympiacos
in 2004. There he enjoyed a successful 3 seasons winning the league on each occasion. But after his relationship with the club soured he joined their rivalsAEK Athens
and even managed to score against his old club.
In a strange move in 2008, a then 36-years old Rivaldo agreed to join the Uzbekistani club, Bunyodkor. He stayed with the Uzbek club for three seasons and once again won the league title on each occasion as well as two cup titles. He even won the top scorer award of the Uzbek league in 2009.
In 2011, Rivaldo finally came back to Brazil to play for Sao Paolo. After a season withSao Paolo
, The rest of his career was spent at Brazil’s lower leagues, barring a season with the Angolan side Kabuscorp. He played for Sao Caetano and Mogi Mirim. During his time with Mogi Mirim, which was a club he now owned, Rivaldo managed to score in the same match as his son Rivaldinho which is an achievement on itself!
Rivaldo initially retired from football in March of 2014 but he came out of retirement and played several matches before finally retiring for good in 2015 at the age 43.
is Brazilian and he was given his Brazil debut in 16 December 1993, being 21 years-old at the time. Although Ronaldo took the front stage, when it came to Brazil’s national team, for much of Rivaldo’s career, Rivaldo had his moments too.
Apart from scoring 3 goals and helping Brazil reach the 1998 World Cup final, Rivaldo was named in the team of the tournament and a year later became Copa America’s best player and top scorer as he scored 5 goals on Brazil’s way to being champions.
But perhaps his most memorable tournament with Brazil was the 2002 World Cup where he formed an absolutely deadly strike force with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Rivaldo himself scored 5 crucial goals, which at any other World Cup may have won him the top scorer award. Nonetheless, Ronaldo scored 8 and together they helped Brazil win the World Cup for a record 5th time. Rivaldo’s last games for Brazil came a year later.
Style of Play
Regarded as one of the best attacking midfielders of all time, Rivaldo played his best football when he was left free to roam behind a target striker. His physique of being skinny, tall and having bowleggedness, made many doubt him throughout his career but he showed unbelievable amount of flair for someone of that physique.
Rivaldo also liked to play on the flanks as a wide forward. His cannon of a left foot produced unbelievable shots from almost anywhere on the pitch. He even scored from the halfway line once when he was at Barcelona.
His creativity, unbelievable dribbling skills and occasional volleys and bicycle kicks, made Rivaldo a danger to oppositions in almost any situation.
Perhaps if Rivaldo was born in any other generation, he would have been a contender for the best Brazilian player of all time but the massive amount of talent that Brazil had during the years Rivaldo played football, with the likes of Ronaldo, Romario, Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos, meant that he would always be a kind of underrated figure.
And yet despite that he is still considered to be one of the best of all time which is telling of his immense talent.
Rivaldo is the second and one of only four Brazilians to ever win the Ballon d’Or award. He did so in 1999, the same year he also won the FIFA Best Player of the Year award.
As far as goal celebrations go, Rivaldo didn’t have a particular one but he did like to take of his shirt a lot when he scored. He also did like to put his shirt over his head when he scored.
Perhaps his celebration against Belgium or England in the knockout stages of 2002 World Cup are his most famous.
He also did this when he scored against Valencia on the last day of season, after he completed his hat-trick, when he took off his shirt and started whirling it around over his head.
Rivaldo Outside Football
Interestingly Rivaldo has even tried his luck with acting. He appeared in the Iranian/Brazilian movie called “I Am Not Salvador” in 2018.
Rivaldo played the role of himself and was reported by the Mehr news agency to have been paid a salary of a million dollars. The movie itself grossed over 3 million US dollars.
In 2012, Rivaldo surprised many when he joined the Angolan side Kabuscorp. He lated cited his reason for joining not to only be based on footballing reasons but rather because of his faith.
is Christianity and he felt that it was a call from God for him to go to Angola. He has since opened an evangelical church there.
Rivaldo Personal Life
Our Rivaldo biography wouldn’t be a complete without mentioning his personal life. So read on as we take a look at Rivaldo life story, relationships and philanthropy in this
Family, Children and Relationships
Rivaldo has twice been married and has 6 children. He married his first wife Rose Ferreira in 1993 and the couple had two children, Rivaldinho and Thamires. They divorced in 2003 after it was revealed that Rivaldo had been unfaithful. Unfortunately, Rivaldo’s first wife, Rose Ferreira passed away in 2015.
Rivaldo’s eldest son, Rivaldinho, is also a footballer and was even his father’s teammate when they both played for Rivaldo’s own club, Mogi Mirim. Rivaldo married his second wife in the mid-2000s when he was in Greece and the couple have four children, Joao Vitor Ferreira, Isaque Ferreira, Thamirys Borba Ferreira Rebeca Ferreira.
Like many former players, Rivaldo has taken part in several Charity matches that raise money for various charity causes and foundations.
In 2019, Rivaldo alongside former World Cup winners like Gianluca Zambrotta, Claude Makelele, Florent Malouda, Robert Pires and Ronaldo took part in a charity match against JDT, a team from Malaysia.
The proceeds from the match was given to a couple of Cancer foundations in Malaysia as well as the Women's Aid Organisation.
Apart from a legal battle concerning Rivaldo’s divorce from his first wife, Rivaldo hasn’t had that much legal issues.
Rivaldo Career Statistics
It’s time to review some statistics in this section of Rivaldo biography, both for the clubs he played at and the Brazil national team:
isn’t complete without his general statistics in the clubs that he played, starting with Santa Cruz where he played 27 games and scored 9 times between 1991 and 1992. He then moved on to Mogi Mirim and Corinthians where he got his big break and eventually got called up to Brazil national team in 1993.
Rivaldo’s first genuine success at the club level was with Palmeiras, where he played 97 games and scored 60 goals during the course of three seasons. This success led the way for a move to Europe and La Liga, where Rivaldo first played for Deportivo La Coruna during the 1996-97 season. he scored 22 goals in 46 games that season and ended up leaving for Barcelona in the summer of 1997.
Barcelona was where Rivaldo truly shone and was by far the longest period that he stayed at a single club till his retirement. He stayed at Barcelona for 5 seasons, scoring 129 goals in 235 matches and becoming the club’s 9th leading goal scorer of all time. After winning the 2002 World Cup, Rivaldo joined AC Milan on a free transfer but his stay was not successful at all as he only appeared in 40 matches, scoring 8 goals, over the course of 2 seasons.
He then went to Olympiacos in Greece after a short time with Cruzeiro. In Olympiacos he scored 43 times in 95 matches and then joined another Greek club, AEK Athens, where he stayed for a season, scoring 15 times. Then he took a trip to Asia and Uzbekistan, playing for Bunyodkor for three seasons where he scored 42 goals in 76 matches.
Finally, Rivaldo came back to Brazil and played over 70 matches in Sao Paolo, Sao Caetano and Mogi Mirim. He also played a season in Kabuscorp, a club based in Angola.
He eventually retired from football in 2015, being 43 years of age.
Making his debut for Brazil in the 16 December 1993, Rivaldo has went on to score 35 goals in 74 matches for Brazil. He helped Brazil reach two World Cup finals, one of which they won.
Although there were rumblings of Rivaldo wanting to manage, he hasn't as of yet managed any teams.
In the final section of Rivaldo biography, we take a brief look at his achievements, either team or individual achievements, in a long career that spans 3 continents.
Starting his career in Brazil’s Serie B with Santa Cruz, Rivaldo went on to become one of the most decorated Brazilian players. His first taste of club success was with Palmeiras where he helped them win the Brazilian Serie A in 1994 as well as 2 state leagues. He them moved to La Liga and after a season with Deportivo, joined Barcelona and helped the Catalan side win 2 La Liga titles as well as a Copa del Rey. He became the club’s 9th leading goal scorer in the span of 5 seasons, with 129 goals to his name.
After Barcelona he went to AC Milan, where he experienced his first and last European glory, as AC Milan won the Champions League that season. he also won a Coppa Italia with Milan before moving on to Cruzeiro for a short while, where he won a state league with them.
Rivaldo’s next step was to move to Olympiacos in Greece and he had a highly successful time there, winning the league 3 times as well as winning the Greek cup twice. He spent another season in the Greek League with Olympiacos’ rivals AEK Athens but didn’t manage to win anything with them.
Rivaldo then moved to Uzbekistan’s Bunyodkor, where he stayed for three seasons and won the league on each occasion as well as winning the Uzbek cup twice. He also was Uzbek league’s top scorer in 2009, at the age of 37. A series of short spells at Brazilian teams Sao Paolo, Sao Caetano and Mogi Mirim as well as a season in Angola followed before Rivaldo retired in 2015.
On the International level, Rivaldo is one of the most beloved and successful Brazilians of all time. Having represented Brazil 74 times between 1993 and 2003, Rivaldo has scored 35 times in that period. By scoring 3 goals, Rivaldo was instrumental when Brazil reached the 1998 World Cup final. A year later he scored 5 as Brazil won the Copa America. He won the tournament’s top scorer and best player award.
But perhaps in the 2002 World Cup, the peak of Rivaldo’s powers were at display, when he joined up with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho to make up a devastating attack force, winning Brazil the much coveted 5th World Cup trophy. Rivaldo scored 5 goals and assisted a couple more in the tournament.
On individual level, Rivaldo has won both the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Player of the Year award in 1999. He has also been featured in the World Cup All-Star Team twice in 1998 and 2002. He also won the Uzbek league’s top scorer award later in his career in 2009. And on that note we have to end our
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