Legendary Barcelona and Brazil star retires
Former Brazil and Barcelona playmaker Rivaldo has announced his retirement from football at the age of 41.
Using Social Media site Instagram, the Brazilian posted a touching message on Saturday evening to confirm his playing days are finally over, bringing down the curtain on a 24-year career.
“With tears in my eyes today I would like first to thank God, my family and all the support, the affection that I received during those 24 years as a player. Today I communicate to all my fans in the world , my history as a player came to the end. Just I have to thank the lovely career I have built over this years. There were many obstacles, challenges, waivers, longings, disappointments, but were much greater joys, achievements, growth, change. Sometimes teaching other learning but never lost my focus, always with dedication, determination and direction of God.
In this long journey, many people passed through my life, some for a period, other friends who remain until now. I built my career upon a miracle, leaving in Paulista, no financial resources, no businessman, incentives only of my family, discredited by doctors and trainers , saw a distant dream come true. With persistence, dedication and especially with the hand of God, I came to be recognized as the best player in the world, world champion, among many other important titles in the history of football.
Among trophies, medals, awards and titles, in a land where everything is consumed, here I leave a story, perhaps an example, but surely a testimony that is worth believing and fighting . ” Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever ” 1 Cor 9:25″
The fact that Rivaldo was still playing professionally, just shy of his 42nd birthday, may surprise many; however there was no doubting that during his peak years, he stood above all else – perhaps only sharing his plateau at the turn of the 21st Century with Zinedine Zidane.
Undoubtedly, he was at his best for Barcelona just prior to the Catalan club’s glorious modern era, playing from 1997 – 2002, scoring 136 goals in the process and winning La Liga twice. On a personal level, Rivaldo was also crowned 1999 World Player of the Year and claimed the Ballon d’Or.
Probably his greatest individual performance in Barca colours (or any other, for that matter) came in the final league game of the ’00-’01 season. A performance which earned him legendary status at the club and encapsulated his genius.
Facing a tough Valencia side who only needed a draw to qualify for the Champions League at the expense of the Catalans, Rivaldo became a one-man army, scoring one of the finest hat-tricks ever seen to secure a dramatic 3-2 win:
The first, a sublime (yet, trademark) swerving free-kick; the second, a powerful (yet, trademark) 25-yard left-footed thunderbolt hit with such fury that it knocked him off his own feet; the third – with just 90 seconds remaining in the match poised at 2-2 and Barca failing to qualify – an 18-yard chest-controlled overhead kick. Guapa!
Overall, Rivaldo plied his trade for 14 different clubs, scoring over 350 goals but perhaps he is best remembered for forming one of the most exciting front-threes at international level, alongside Ronaldo and Ronaldinho, winning the World Cup for Brazil in 2002.
Now retiring from Brazilian third-tier side Mogi Mirim, where he is also club president – and the game – we salute Rivaldo Vitor Borba Ferreira – the bow-legged, left-footed Brazilian fantasista.