Rivaldo Vítor Borba Ferreira is a Brazilian former footballer and sports administrator. He is regarded as one of the greatest attacking midfielders to have ever played the game of football and during his two decade long career as a footballer he won a number of tournaments for both his clubs and his country. Rivaldo grew up in Brazil and played youth football for a few years in his country before making the move to Europe with Spanish club Deportivo la Coruna. His silken skills, the nose for goal and the ability to score spectacular goals seemingly out of nowhere made him an instance success as he moved to Barcelona to enjoy one of the best phases of his life as a footballer. He helped Barcelona win many championships and was also their primary play making goal scorer as the team came to be known for their attacking game. Rivaldo was also an inspiration for the Brazilian national team as he helped them in reaching the final of the 1998 World Cup but his greatest triumph came four years later when he became one of the architects of the national team’s record breaking 5th World Cup win. Rivaldo played for AC Milan as well and was a part of their Champions League winning team.
Childhood & Early Life
Rivaldo Victor Borba Ferreira was born on 19 April, 1972 in Paulista, Brazil. His father’s name was Romildo Ferreira but his mother’s name is unknown. Rivaldo grew up in abject poverty in one of the many favelas in Recife and malnourishment as well as dental problems dogged him as a child.
Despite many health problems, Rivaldo was an enthusiastic footballer and excelled as a forward. In 1989, at the age of 16, he signed up for his local club named Paulistano Futebol Clube and although the coaches at the club believed that he was too frail to be a footballer he proved them wrong.
Rivaldo lost his father Romildo Ferreira in the year 1989 but the tragedy did not derail his ambitions of becoming a footballer and in the same year he became a professional when he signed a contract with Paulistano Futebol Clube.
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After a relatively short stint at Paulistano Futebol Clube, Rivaldo moved to Santa Cruz in the year 1991 and over the next two years he changed clubs frequently. He played for Mogi Mirim in the Brazilian second division and a year later he moved to Corinthians. At Corinthians he scored 11 goals in 30 games. Two years after joining Santa Cruz he made his debut for the national time in a friendly game.
Rivaldo made the move to Corinthians’ rivals Palmeiras in the year 1994 and at the end of the season he helped the club retain the league title that it had won the previous season. Rivaldo scored 21 goals in 45 games for Palmeiras during his two year stint at the club before joining Spanish club Deportivo la Coruna. Subsequently he represented Brazil at the Olympics but he did not play a significant part.
He joined Deportivo la Coruna in 1996 and immediately made an impact as he scored 21 goals for the club in his first and only season for the club. The following year, Spanish giants Barcelona took him to the Camp Nou after paying a fee of $26 million and in his very first season with the club he helped them win the league and cup double. Rivaldo scored 19 goals in his first season.
Rivaldo played a significant part in Brazil’s run to the final of the 1998 World Cup in France as he scored three goals in the tournament and the following year he netted 5 goals as Brazil successfully defended their Copa America crown in Bolivia.
He scored 24 goals to lead Barcelona to another Spanish league title in 1999 and at the time he was considered as the best player in the world. The following season Rivaldo started having problems with the club’s manager Louis van Gaal due to disagreements with his ideal playing position and subsequently he left the club after playing for five years. During his five seasons at the club, he scored 92 goals in 182 games.
In 2002, Rivaldo had his finest moment as a footballer as he scored five goals in the World Cup to help Brazil win their record 5th title. It was in the same year that Rivaldo joined AC Milan and during his time at the club, he helped them win the UEFA Champions League as well as the Coppa Italia. He spent a few months with Brazilian club Cruzerio on loan before moving to Greek club Olympiacos.
Rivaldo joined Olymiakos in 2004 and during his three years stint at the club he scored a total of 34 goals as the club won the league title in each season. Subsequently he joined AEK Athens in the Greek league and played for a season in which he scored 12 goals.
In 2008, Rivaldo joined Uzbek club Bunyodkor and played for two seasons as the club won two league titles. He scored 33 goals in 53 appearances for the club. After that stint, he went back to Brazil to play for Sao Paulo, before moving on to Kabuscorp, an Angolan club and a short spell at Sao Caetano. However, Rivaldo was getting old and his best years were over. After signing a deal with Mogi Mirim, he played for them for a season before retiring from professional football at the age of a month short of 42.
Awards & Achievements
Rivaldo won the Ballon D’Or as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year Award in 1999.
In 2014, he was included in the ‘FIFA 100’ which was a list of the greatest living footballers compiled by Brazilian legend Pele.
Rivaldo has won every conceivable medal that a South American footballer is expected to win but his most important achievement is certainly his role in Brazil’s triumph in the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea when he scored 5 goals for the national team.
Personal Life & Legacy
Rivaldo married Rose Ferreira in 1993 but the marriage ended after 10 years. They have a son named Rivaldinho, who is also a footballer.
Rivaldo later got married for the second time to Eliza Kaminski Ferreira but the exact date of the marriage is unknown. They have no children.