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Gianni Rivera
Gender Male
Ethnic Italian
Job Italian Footballer
Desc Gianni Rivera is considered ‘The Golden Boy’ of Italian football - and it’s easy to understand why. The slender attacking midfielder was just 15 when he was given his first professional start by hometown club Alessandria. Then, after making a record-breaking move to AC Milan just over a year later, he became an Italian icon because of his silky skills and good looks. ‘He’s an elegant young player with a remarkable touch,’ the legendary Giuseppe Meazza enthused after watching Rivera in action for the first time. Although always doubted by some as too weak or too slow, Rivera was a wonderful passer of the ball and he would end his career having won two European Cups with Milan, a European Championship with Italy and the Ballon d’Or, in 1969


Org Italy National Team
Club as Player xxxx

2008 05 26 Retrieve

[Riva is one of the all-time greats of Italian football, and is La Nazionale’s record goalscorer with 35 goals from 42 appearances between 1965 and 1974] Who are the big stars at the Euros? There are many good players but I do not see a Pelè or a Maradona. The best players in Europe, for me, there are three and they are Cristiano Ronaldo, Kakà and Ibrahimovic. However they are not in the hall of fame because they still lack a little something

2009 08 22 Retrieve

[Former Italy legend Gigi Riva, currently working as team manager of the Italian national side says Ciro Ferrara Was Born To Be A Coach] Juventus and Inter start in pole position [for the Scudetto]. They seem to be the most organised squads, they’re complete in every department. Milan are also there, but they have something less after the departure of Kaka, who was a very important reference point

Juve have reinforced themselves, buying important players. [Coach Ciro] Ferrara is very stimulated, he knows football very well, having played at every level both with clubs and with the national team. He was born to be a coach. I recognised his qualities during the 2006 World Cup: [Marcello] Lippi gave him many tasks, he trusted Ciro a lot

[On the return of Italy captain Fabio Cannavaro to Juve, Riva was equally certain] The sceptics will be proven wrong on the pitch. The doubts surrounding him are ridiculous. You’ll see, Fabio will be one of the spearheads of the new Juventus, both on and off the pitch. The sceptics will be proven wrong on the pitch. The doubts surrounding him are ridiculous. You’ll see, Fabio will be one of the spearheads of the new Juventus, both on and off the pitch

[Asked what teams he expects to be the surprises of the season Riva indentified three or four underdog teams] Fiorenting and Genoa. I also expect good things from Lazio. Meanwhile, Cagliari have what it takes to have another high-level season

[Finally, on the controversy between Lippi and Inter coach Jose Mourinho Riva was gently scathing] The Portuguese is the luck of all the newspapers, who had something to write before the season started thanks to him

2009 06 03 Retrieve

[Italy team manager Gigi Riva has hailed Paolo Maldini’s career and he is hoping the Milan legend carries on being involved in the game] Paolo Maldini is a symbol of our football. I hope he stays involved in the game and we should do everything for him to do so. He can be our [Michel] Platini and he should study presidency because he has always been synonymous with loyalty, rightness and transparency

2009 11 13 Retrieve

[Legendary Milan midfielder Gianni Rivera believes Leonardo’s men have what it takes to reconquer the European scene] I think Milan are the favourites to get to the final in Madrid, but watch Inter and Juventus too. The Bianconeri are a complete squad. Milan just need some consistency in terms of their physical strength. They have the quality to do well, especially with Ronaldinho. He has no rival in the world game. His ball work is precious. Inter have a good squad and character. Juventus will have [Alessandro] Del Piero back. He is always a genius.

[The 66-year-old also glanced over at the competition coming from elsewhere] Chelsea are very dangerous. They have the best defence in England, as well as [Carlo] Ancelotti as coach. Also, [Didier] Drogba, [Frank] Lampard and [John] Terry are all incredible. Barcelona are also up there, but they need to be more consistent. They lose games they ought to win. Maybe [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic and [Lionel] Messi need to integrate better

2009 12 29 Retrieve

[Italian legend Gianni Rivera believes Inter will win the Scudetto at the end of the season] I think that they will dominate in 2010, just like they have in 2009. The other sides are not able to keep up with them, and don’t have as much depth in their substitutes. Inter will win the championship without any problems. If a coach doesn’t transform individual players into a group, then it could do irreparable damage. Many teams with quality players did not win anything because they were not united

2010 01 09 Retrieve

[Former Rossoneri captain Gianni Rivera says He Would Rather Have Milan’s Ronaldinho Than Juventus’ Diego] Will Juventus miss Trezeguet more than Milan will miss Pato? They are two great attackers, but the two teams have already shown that they can do without important players. Who would I choose? Ronaldinho. He has already shown [his talent] while Diego still needs to do so. The Milanista has already won the Ballon d’Or. Bettega again? The right choice. I know Roberto and I think that he can be a success once more

2010 01 20 Retrieve

[Legendary Italian international midfielder Gianni Rivera is confident his former side AC Milan will emerge victorious when they take on Serie A leaders and bitter rivals Inter in Sunday’s Derby della Madonnina] I think Milan go into Sunday’s clash as favourites. It’s a key match for Leonardo’s men. A defeat would mean they are still inferior to an Inter side who felt they had no rivals. ‘Dinho’ strikes me as an athlete now and he even puts in plenty of tackles. The Rossoneri are in excellent form and there is a lot of enthusiasm. That’s why I believe they are favourites

2010 04 29 Retrieve

[World Cup 2010: Italy Team Manager Gigi Riva Claims Antonio Di Natale Is Like Diego Maradona & Zico] He is simply extraordinary, and I would not be scared to compare him to Maradona and Zico. He is the best of the best and knows how to do everything. He deserves the golden boot for what he is doing. I don’t think being champions is a handicap for us. I think it’s difficult for the others because, as world champions, there is no pressure on us

2010 10 13 Retrieve

[Italy Legend Gigi Riva Urges UEFA To Change Location For Serbia-Italy Match] In my many years involved in football, I have never seen a similar incident. I was sincerely scared seeing all those people armed with knives. I am a bit saddened because it seemed an interesting match. Both teams were prepared, and it is a shame the match was suspended. The referee rightly called the match off after a dangerous incident involving our goalkeeper, who barely saved himself from a dangerous moment.

Now, we will speak about footballing violence, and what we saw at the Marassi was true delinquency. If we [Italy] have to go to Serbia, we will go there with a team that has no problems. UEFA should reflect whether the return match should be played in a neutral venue, away from Serbian territory

2011 07 06 Retrieve

[Italian legend Gigi Riva has defended former Inter president Giacinto Facchetti in the wake of the recent accusations that he had regular contact with former referee designators Paolo Bergamo and Pier Luigi Pairetto in an attempt to influence games] I’m not saying he didn’t make those phone calls, they are in the documents, but it just isn’t possible that Giacinto made them to gain an advantage. I can imagine lots of others doing that, but not him, absolutely not. He dedicated his life to the sport and the national side, and anyone who ever met him knows who Giacinto was. A true man. Hearing certain things really gets my back up. Maybe one day I’ll be able to understand it but at the moment I find it impossible: what’s the point in digging out a matter whose statute of limitations has passed and involving a person who is no longer alive, who can’t have his own say? I just can’t see him in the role of someone who talks to referees in order to influence them. All those people who are saying things about him now would do well to keep their mouths shut because Giacinto was a simple, honest man who deserves respect

2011 11 11 Retrieve

[Italy team manager Gigi Riva has praised Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli’s good behaviour whilst on international duty] Balotelli is a player who always behaves well with us. He laughs, jokes, plays. He is not the pest who every now and then blows up a house or causes damages

2012 03 27 Retrieve

[Former Italy star Gianni Rivera has heaped praise on Barcelona forward Lionel Messi, but feels the Argentine is not the best player of all time] Messi is quite a weapon for Barca. Having him in your team is huge, he’s the most decisive player right now. However, I do think there’s someone who was even better and that’s Pele. He used both feet on the pitch. He was as dangerous with his right as he was with his left. He was strong in the air as well, and created a lot of chances

2016 10 28 Retrieve

[Higuain could win titles at Juventus but he lost the chance to become a legend at Napoli] Our opponents shouted ‘thieves’, ‘bandits’ and ‘sheep’ at us. The referees were always against us. When I saw these buses of Cagliari fans arriving from Germany, Holland and England for our games in Milan or Torino, it wasn’t the joy of sport you saw in their eyes but the joy of being Sardinian. It was pride. How could I leave them

I feel proud of the choices that I’ve made in my life as a player and a citizen. Because I’m certain that without Sardinia and its people, Gigi Riva would never have existed