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Rivaldo
Spelling Rivaldo Barbosa Ferreira
Gender Male
Ethnic Brazilian
Job Brazilian Footballer
Desc Rivaldo’s lasting legacy is that of a player who was the driving force behind Barcelona’s consecutive La Liga titles between 1997 and 1999, scoring an abundance of goals along the way. The crowing glory of his individual career came in 1999 as he was awarded the Ballon d’Or for his performances at Barca - though his best goal scoring season came two years later as he netted 35 goals in all competitions

Affiliation

Org Brazil National Team
Club as Player Barcelona

Event

World Cup 1994 Rivaldo was one of the member of Brazil National Team

Relationship

Teammate Aldair
  Roberto Carlos
  [Ronaldo](ronaldo.html)
  Ronaldinho
  Leonardo
1998 07 12
World Cup 1998 final where France defeat Brazil 3-0. Zinedine Zidane score 2 goals with assist from Emmanuel Petit and Youri Djorkaeff. also final goal came from Emmanuel Petit with assist by Patrick Vieira

2015 03 22 Retrieve

[Why can’t Cristiano Ronaldo score free kicks any more?] When you are in a difficult time, you sometimes go back to your training and make technical changes to get through it. The best players, like Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi, have amazing skills, but they train hard too. With free kicks you can work on improving the movement of the ball or on fooling the goalkeeper, but the focus is on scoring goals. And when you are already successful at that you might want to modify things but you don’t want to change it too much

2015 08 01 Retrieve

[Rivaldo on his generation] If my era was today, I would bet anybody that I would be the best in the world two or three times. The way football is overseas, I would definitely have over 50 goals per season. Easily. Especially in Spain

2017 12 23 Retrieve

[Rivaldo on Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo] I would like to play with Messi, it would be amazing. He is the best in the world, the one who makes more differences. Ronaldo? He is the most dangerous player at Real. It is hard to stop him, like Messi, because both score a lot of goals and you never know what is going to be the next thing they will invent for scoring. In my time there were more players than today challenging for being the best in the world. I remember Luis Figo, Alexsandro Del Piero or Francesco Totti, now you always hear about the same players and I am pretty sure I could challenge with Messi and Ronaldo because football was harder in my times. I am not here for controversy, I’ll just say that both are very good players. However, in my time you could find more quality players than today, in which you only hear about Messi, Ronaldo and Neymar

2019 04 20 Retrieve

[Rivaldo tells that he believes Lionel Messi is worthy of the ultimate triumph on the world stage] It’s impossible to describe Messi. I like him so much and I always say I feel so sad because he never won the World Cup with Argentina. It is an award he deserves because a world-class player like him must be a world champion

2019 05 25 Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Rivaldo urges Ivan Rakitic to snub any interest from Manchester United] There are rumours circulating about Ivan Rakitic possibly going to Manchester United but, while United is a big club with great tradition, I think the Croatian still has enough football to keep playing for Barcelona, as he is a great player. United are passing through a bad moment, but their tradition is huge and any big player would like to play for them at Old Trafford. Now, it’s time for them to refocus and start preparing for the new season. I believe they’ll always be one of the best teams in the world. They continue to be financially healthy, so they should have tools to recruit big players soon

[Rivaldo added on the interest that he once sparked from England] Liverpool and Manchester City are the strongest teams in England right now and are both playing excellent football, so if I were playing today, and had the chance to go to the Premier League, one of them would probably be my choice. But there are more powerful teams in the Premier League than in any other league. It’s strongest league in the world right now. When I was playing for Barcelona, I had some agents trying to transfer me to Manchester United, but I was so happy with the city and the club at Barcelona that I didn’t pay much attention to that possibility. It wasn’t out of disrespect to United, I just didn’t want to move at that time. I’m not sure if there was any proposal. There were just discussions with agents and rumours, nothing more than that

2019 05 29 Retrieve

[Rivaldo believes his former club Barcelona need to re-sign Neymar to win the Champions League again] He is, in my humble opinion, the player who Barcelona lack to be champion again in the [Champions League]. He has personality and a lot of quality to win back all the fans of Barcelona and also to be the best in the world

[Rivaldo is confident about his country’s chances ahead of the kick-off against Bolivia in Sao Paolo on June 14] I think Brazil will win the Copa America with a certain ease. I do not see any selection that can beat Brazil mainly with the return of Neymar who, for me, will be the best player in the competition

2019 06 07 Retrieve

[Barcelona have been advised to shelve any interest in Antoine Griezmann and instead look to bring Neymar back to the club] If I could choose one player to sign for Barcelona this summer it would be Neymar. The fans already know what he can do, he proved his value to the club last time he was there and he combines nicely with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. He’s also a good alternative to lead the attack when Messi isn’t available. Griezmann is a great player but signing him would be more of a gamble, as he’s never played at Barcelona or with Messi and Suarez. Of course, if he manages to perform like at Atleti he certainly could be a great addition to the team. But I prefer Neymar for the reasons I pointed out. He knows the club and probably chats with Suarez and Messi regularly. Neymar’s return might not make all the fans happy after the way he left for PSG, but if he helps them win the Champions League, fans would forgive anything.

[Neymar is set to play no part in the 2019 Copa America] Before Neymar’s injury I really thought Brazil would win the tournament. He makes the difference to any team and, after his season with PSG, I thought he would like to show to the world the amazing player he is. Now that we know he won’t play, the Copa America is more open than ever. Brazil are the favourites, but they will feel the weight of Neymar’s absence, and Argentina and Uruguay are serious contenders. This is not similar to what happened to Ronaldo before the 1998 World Cup final, when he played after an epilepsy problem. That happened hours before the match. We were all shocked. We all saw what happened. He was driven to a hospital, came back and decided to play just a few minutes before the final started. That affected all of us. Now Brazil will have more time to take in Neymar’s absence and prepare for it. The other players need to step forward, take responsibility and shine

2019 06 21 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Neymar made a mistake leaving Barcelona] I would love for Neymar to return. It would be good for Barca and for Neymar. It was a mistake that he left. He doesn’t say that, nor does his father, but it was. He had four or five years left on his contract at Barca and didn’t need to leave. The fans didn’t want him to go. I think 70% wanted him to stay but he’s got a strong personality and if he returns, puts the ball in the back of the net, beats Real Madrid and wins a Champions League the people will forget that. The supporters want to win the Champions League and play well, to keep their style, and many are frustrated due to the sudden changes. He’s 27 and has a lot of years left in him yet. He could win another treble, it would be incredible.

[Rivaldo added on a potential transfer battle between two Clasico rivals] I don’t know what is going to happen but I’d prefer he was in Barcelona rather than in Real Madrid. If he goes to Madrid, that isn’t good for Barca. If he goes there, they’ll be really strong

[Rivaldo admits the 27-year-old playmaker Philippe Coutinho needs to make a decision] He’s a good player but he needs to show his football, the same that he did at Liverpool. He needs to show that he’s willing to change. If he doesn’t believe he can rediscover that form he showed for Liverpool, he should speak with the president and look to find an agreement with a strong team in England.

2019 06 26 Retrieve

[The Brazil legend has defended the forwards after his former boss Louis van Gaal accused the pair of not being team players] Messi, Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo are difference-making players and neither the team nor the coach knows how they do those otherworldly things. But there are many coaches who do not like these players because they detract from the coach himself, so they prefer to talk about these players as if they do not know how to play as a team and they are good only individually

I prefer difference-making players because football is joy and everyone likes something different. The team is always important, but you need to have different players who can do something more on the pitch

2019 06 27 Retrieve

[Philippe Coutinho has been urged to step out of the shadow cast by Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Barcelona] Some players, when they come to Barca, they’re a bit worried about the pressure, and are struck by it all. They don’t play at their best level from their previous club. And I think that’s happened a bit with Coutinho. He’s felt a bit shy, not the same as with Liverpool. And it doesn’t matter if you’re playing with someone called Messi or Suarez, you have to show what you can give. I came from Deportivo, who weren’t one of the biggest clubs in Spain like Barcelona , so I had to show personality.

I did really well at Deportivo and I carried on doing at Barcelona what I did at Deportivo. I didn’t feel shy. I wanted to do something different. When I came, Ronaldo Fenomono had gone to Inter Milan and everyone wanted to make the comparison, but I didn’t want the comparison. I didn’t want the fans to look at me like Ronaldo, as if I was a copy. I wanted to be my own type and do something different.

[The 1999 Ballon d’Or winner added] You saw the match when he played here against Man United [in the Champions League]. I saw a great change there. He has got the potential to become a fantastic football player, but it’s about him moving swiftly and rapidly now. He’s got to be more decisive on the pitch, not wait on Messi or Suarez. He has got to go for it and show what he’s capable of. And, right now, he’s away with Brazil at the Copa America, where they don’t have Neymar. He’s got to take responsibility, so everyone talks about Coutinho. This is going to be a great opportunity for him to get confidence and come back to Barcelona with confidence

2019 06 27b Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Neymar would have to make an official apology to Barcelona fans if he completes a sensational return to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain this summer] It’s a difficult decision. It’s difficult because of the way Neymar left. I think a lot of the fans are angry with everything that happened, but football is how it is, football is good, and Neymar is a great player who has personality. So if he comes here of course there will be times when he is criticised by some fans, but in the games, the training sessions, Neymar will still be the same Neymar, and it could be something special for Barcelona.

He should say sorry. Officially, yes. Say sorry, say he was wrong, say that this is his home, that he is going to be the difference. I think that all the fans … many will understand, they’ll see him on the pitch in the league, the Champions League, doing things well, and the fans will forgive him easily. If it’s like it was when he was here playing football before together with Messi and Suarez, it was great for the club. If they win the Champions League, I don’t think it will be a problem for the fans

They have to be more careful when they play a quarter-final or a semi-final, when they are 3-0 up! To be more careful of the fact that ties are not decided in one game, they are decided in two. You have to play with intelligence; if you win 3-0 at home you have to make some changes to play a bit more defensively. I am Barcelona but we have to play for the result, with the goals that they score at home, in some games away from home you can’t play how you always play. If you are 3-0 or 2-0 you can’t play in England and Italy like you would at home, you have to make some changes and hope to finish the first half 0-0 or 0-1, you have to play until the result is in the bag

[But while Rivaldo supports Valverde, he says he would love to see Pep Guardiola return to the club as coach one day] Always, in every team he has managed, he has done something spectacular. He’s such a great coach, and I hope that one day he can come back to Barcelona. He’s from the city, he loves the club, and if there is a chance why not? He has already shown that he’s a great coach in other countries, and now if he wants to return home I think he has the opportunity

2019 07 06 Retrieve

[The possibility of Barcelona piecing together a ‘Fantastic Four’ of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar and Antoine Griezmann has the support of Blaugrana legend Rivaldo] Messi-Suarez-Neymar-Griezmann would be fantastic for Barcelona. An attack with these four players would be spectacular and I think it’s possible to accommodate them all. It would be just a question of preparing a good system in training to make it possible. I don’t see a problem in playing with this Fantastic Four at the same time. Barcelona tend to have about 75 per cent of ball possession in a game, so they spent most of their time in offensive tasks and having these four players would be sensational.

[Messi is reflecting on more international heartache with Argentina at the 2019 Copa America] Right now, Lionel Messi should feel sad after fighting so much for his national team and losing yet again. Argentina hasn’t won the Copa America since 1993 and Messi wanted this title very much. I’m sorry for him as he represents so much for football and it’s disappointing to see him not achieving one of the remaining goals in his career. But this is how football works and many European players were also brilliant in their careers and never won anything for their national teams. Messi still has two chances to win with Argentina. Next year there will be another Copa America and then there will be 2022 World Cup in Qatar, so I believe he has still two opportunities to finally win a trophy with his national team.

Nowadays, people only talk about Messi but in other times Argentina were known as a strong outfit with many excellent players - they were not reliant on anyone. If Messi had the luck of playing for Argentina in other generation, he could have already won something. When Brazil face Argentina, knowing that Messi is their best player, they can concentrate on creating a strategy to stop him. This time, Casemiro, Arthur Melo and Philippe Coutinho collaborated in zonal marking that worked well. That doesn’t happen in Barcelona where Messi has more freedom for having other great players by his side, and not needing to run backwards to defend

2019 07 06b Retrieve

[Rivaldo not expecting Brazilian starlet Vinicius Junior to be stunted at Real Madrid] Real Madrid are looking for ways to accommodate star players. Despite Vinicius Junior’s recent comments, I believe he can easily play by Eden Hazard’s side at Real Madrid and they can even form a nice offensive partnership. Playing alongside such a quality player as Hazard can only let him more relaxed as he will benefit from it as well as Real Madrid. Vinicius just needs to focus on his work and try to convince [Zinedine] Zidane to make him first choice. The club are making many changes to the squad, so they need to adapt to each other, and Zidane’s work will be crucial - he is an excellent manager. As a player, Zidane was known by being a false lazy on the pitch - very clever - and he certainly has a plan to put these two players together, so they combine and adapt to each other on the pitch. Real Madrid should be much stronger next season

Brazil is building a nice bunch of young players with next World Cup on their minds. They’re using the Copa America to gain some confidence. It’s always nice to pick up some confidence with titles, so Brazil need to round of their strong campaign with a victory this Sunday when they play the Final against Peru. I said that Brazil was 100% favourite to win Copa America with Neymar on the team, but without him that would decrease a bit. The team has other excellent players who are proving their value and winning a competition without Neymar would testify to their strength. Gabriel Jesus has impressed me. We all know that things didn’t went well for Jesus at the 2018 World Cup, as he was a regular first choice player and didn’t score a single goal. But Tite kept his confidence in the kid and Jesus has rewarded his manager. He is still a young player with great potential and time to evolve - he will have many more opportunities. Jesus had a tough season, losing some importance in the Manchester City team, but Guardiola will be is happy seeing him shining for the Brazilian national team and gaining confidence for next season

2019 07 11 Retrieve

[Barcelona and Brazil great Rivaldo says Lionel Messi deserves to win the Ballon d’Or this year] In my opinion, the Ballon d’Or of this season is Messi for what he has done. He didn’t win the Champions League, but because it is an individual prize he scored a lot of goals, important goals

[And Rivaldo thinks there is much more to come from cristiano Ronaldo and Messi next season] They are such great players. I like them both. Messi always makes the difference at Barcelona and Ronaldo at every club and the national team - Juventus and Portugal. It’s going to be thrilling again. When you talk about them it’s for something good, they both score so many goals

2019 07 11b Retrieve

[Neymar’s potential return to Barcelona from Paris Saint-Germain has been given the seal of approval by Brazil and Blaugrana great Rivaldo] For the moment, the one [Brazilian] that I like the most is Neymar. I [would] like that he returns to Barcelona

[Asked for the nation’s next star, 2002 World Cup winner Rivaldo praised Real Madrid attacker Vinicius Junior] We have Vinicius, who is a great player that went to Madrid and has everything that is needed to be a great player

[Neymar left Catalunya in somewhat controversial circumstances, and Rivaldo said last month the Brazil star would need to make things up to the Camp Nou fans] It’s difficult because of the way Neymar left. I think a lot of the fans are angry with everything that happened, but football is how it is, football is good, and Neymar is a great player who has personality. So if he comes here of course there will be times when he is criticised by some fans, but in the games, the training sessions, Neymar will still be the same Neymar, and it could be something special for Barcelona

He should say sorry. Officially, yes. Say sorry, say he was wrong, say that this is his home, that he is going to be the difference. I think that all the fans … many will understand, they’ll see him on the pitch in the league, the Champions League, doing things well, and the fans will forgive him easily. If it’s like it was when he was here playing football before together with Messi and Suarez, it was great for the club. If they win the Champions League, I don’t think it will be a problem for the fans

2019 07 12 Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Rivaldo was asked whether he would rather his former club acquire Neymar or Antoine Griezmann] Griezmann is a great player but signing him would be more of a gamble, as he’s never played at Barcelona or with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez. Of course, if he manages to perform like at Atleti, he certainly could be a great addition to the team. But I would prefer Neymar. He knows the club and probably chats with Suarez and Messi regularly.

2019 07 16 Retrieve

[From arriving one week late for pre-season to telling the world one of his favourite memories is beating his current club, Neymar has created a mess for himself at Paris Saint-Germain and it’s one he may not be able to clean up all that easily] He should say sorry. Officially, yes. Say sorry, say he was wrong, say that this is his home, that he is going to be the difference. It’s difficult because of the way Neymar left. I think a lot of the fans are angry with everything that happened, but football is how it is, football is good, and Neymar is a great player who has personality

2019 07 18 Retrieve

[Rivaldo is more excited than most about Neymar’s possible return to Barcelona] An attack with these four players would be spectacular and I think it’s possible to accommodate them all. It would be just a question of preparing a good system in training to make it possible. I don’t see a problem in playing with this ‘Fantastic Four’ at the same time

2019 07 19 Retrieve

[Rivaldo urges Barcelona star Philippe Coutinho to consider his options carefully] We all know that Philippe Coutinho played his best football at Liverpool, and I always believed that he could replicate it at Barcelona, but things haven’t been going that way. The chance of a return to Liverpool could be beneficial for him, but I’m not sure if he is thinking of going back to England. He might stay at Barcelona to try to raise his game and prove his value, showing that he can get through that bump in the road. He is coming back from winning a Copa America title and his confidence is high, so it’s hard to say if he’ll stay or go.

I really appreciate his qualities as a player and think he has time to show his best at Camp Nou this season. Let’s wait and see… If he decides to join Liverpool, they will become stronger, but they are European champions and that will add more pressure for him, as it’s tough to win it successively. It would be a big challenge for both club and player. Remember, they were Champions League finalists and then winners in consecutive seasons after Coutinho’s departure, so if he does return, he’ll face that extra burden to win trophies for them

2019 07 19b Retrieve

[Rivaldo claims Paris Saint-Germain can recover their investment in Neymar] It’s general knowledge that Neymar wants to leave PSG for another big European club, but that’s not a guarantee and if he ends up staying, he would need to focus on his football rather than anything else. He is not happy with PSG and I believe he could even regret his decision of joining - with all due respect - but the situation is complicated as they spent a lot of money on him. PSG don’t want to get hit with a big loss after investing more than €200 million but I believe they can recover their investment or at least exchange him for money and other good players in the business. So, hopefully, it should be straightforward. With his recent comments and behaviour, it’s possible that fans won’t be too happy with him if he remains. He must face the music and simply play his best football. If he manages to achieve something special with them in Europe perhaps the fans won’t criticise him as much

If it was my decision, I wouldn’t leave Barcelona for PSG. After all, La Liga is a very competitive league and gives you better exposure. The French league has nothing like that, with PSG stronger than any of their domestic rivals

2019 08 01 Retrieve

[Former Brazil star Rivaldo believes Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen would fit in well at Real Madrid, but says the Spanish giants do not need them] The press are saying that Madrid need to reinforce their midfield, with Christian Eriksen and Paul Pogba among the rumoured targets. Both are excellent players and would fit well at the Bernabeu. In spite of their bad pre-season, I’m not sure that Madrid need reinforcements. Critics of Madrid’s midfield should not forget that Casemiro is only returning to the team now after injury, so they have been playing without their starting defensive midfielder and one of the most important players. Madrid will improve with Casemiro back in the squad, although his absence doesn’t explain their awful pre-season

2019 08 01b Retrieve

[Rivaldo urges Fred to stay and fight for place] Things haven’t been easy for Fred at Manchester United and some people say he should find another club. But I disagree with that. He is a good player who needs to be patient and keep working hard to earn a starting position in the United midfield. I don’t think leaving would solve his problems, and it would be preferable to stay and keep fighting for his place

Gabriel Jesus is full of confidence after a successful Copa America campaign for Brazil and looking forward to regaining his place in Manchester City’s first team. He lost his place to Sergio Aguero last season, but I believe Jesus has the ability to be a starter in any team. The morale and confidence that he is bringing from Copa America could help him to become a regular starter and scorer for the Citizens this season

2019 08 15 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Neymar moving to Real Madrid would not be a betrayal to Barcelona] There have been many rumours about which of the clubs negotiating for Neymar - Real Madrid and Barcelona - needs him most now. But Neymar is such a talented player that any team in the world would benefit from having him in their side. Of course, I would prefer to see him back to Barcelona but if he ends up at Real Madrid it will also be a big move for him. For now, what is clear is the player’s desire to leave PSG. With two big Spanish clubs competing for him, he should be even more eager to fly away from Paris. If Zinedine Zidane signs Neymar for Real Madrid, I won’t see it as a betrayal. Neymar left Barcelona to sign for PSG and now could fly to Madrid, so it’s not the same as if he had left Barca for Madrid. He must also be professional, but I bet that if he has the chance to get back to a place where he was happy before, and where he knows most of the players, he would love to return to Barcelona. But that depends on the offer Barcelona could make for him. PSG won’t accept a lesser offer from Barca just because Neymar prefers to go there. They don’t want to lose money and will obviously accept the best offer available

[Barca have already brought in the likes of Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann this summer] Barcelona start their La Liga campaign this Friday with a trip to Athletic Bilbao’s San Mames stadium, but I’m convinced they are ready to give a nice response, despite not being yet at 100%. Lionel Messi might not play because of an injury, but the club signed important players like Antoine Griezmann and Frenkie de Jong and I expect a good performance from the team. Barcelona’s focus this season should be the Champions League, which is the trophy that club and fans are fighting for in the last few seasons.

Of course, they won’t simply give up La Liga and deliver it to their rivals, but I think that Ernesto Valverde should give more chances to substitutes and youngsters from La Masia in some La Liga matches. I wouldn’t see it as a major failure to lose the La Liga title, as Barcelona have been dominating domestically, and now all their focus should be turned into Champions League success. La Liga is important but Barcelona’s main goal this season as to be Champions League as it is a much important title they are chasing for a while now

2019 08 22 Retrieve

[Rivaldo backs Neymar’s Juventus move] In a moment like this, of course Neymar would be a great signing for Barcelona, despite all that happened after his departure and with some people against his return, but I think he could be a big help and with his excellent football, he would end up convincing everybody. Anyway, this transfer can only be complete if Barcelona decide to invest in him as he is an expensive player, and it now seems like Juventus are also thinking about signing Neymar. It would be great to see him playing alongside Cristiano Ronaldo. I believe it would be wonderful for CR7 to have Neymar by his side, as the Brazilian would help him a lot with assists and goals all season.

I even imagine them combining for brilliant plays and Neymar could also help by sharing responsibilities as Juventus only has one big star now. It would be a beneficial move for the players and naturally for the club. With Neymar wishing to leave PSG, it will be important that a transfer is complete before deadline day at the end of the month, after all it would be tough for him to stay in France. He would have all the fans against him for a while and it’s never easy to be booed by your own club fans. Yet, Neymar has enough personality to handle it if necessary and prove his value anyway, as he is a great player

2019 08 22b Retrieve

[Philippe Coutinho’s move to Bayern Munich has disappointed Rivaldo] I always believed that Philippe Coutinho had the ability to succeed at Barcelona, but things were taking too much time and both parties agreed on a transfer to Bayern Munich. I’m a little disappointed about his failure in gaining a regular place in the first team, but perhaps he was no longer confident about it and unhappy, so he opted for a move to another big club trying to finally recover his best football from his time at Liverpool. It’s never easy to find your space in a team where Lionel Messi constantly takes all the credit and responsibility. There are few players in the world capable of reaching such a situation and imposing themselves, and maybe Coutinho didn’t have enough patience to find his spot in the team. The Argentinian star is the team leader and will keep playing at his best level for about three or four more years, so it is difficult to see other players shining at their best at Barcelona

2019 08 28 Retrieve

[Rivaldo pleads with Barcelona to sign PSG star] Everyone knows what happened with Neymar. His exit from Barcelona was wrong; he never should have left one of the biggest clubs in the world. But now he is anxious to return and accept his mistake. I hope the president and the other members of the board don’t let him go to another club and that everything is resolved with PSG and he can return to where he never should have left

2019 08 28b Retrieve

[Real Valladolid (1) vd (1) Real Madrid. Former Brazil star Rivaldo says that he expects Real Madrid to get better under Zinedine Zidane while urging club supporters to not panic just yet] Even dropping points at home last weekend in La Liga, I don’t see why the club and fans might start to panic, after all we are just starting the league and Barcelona also lost their first game. Those kind of thoughts should only come after 10 matches or so, and if things are not improving. Zinedine Zidane is re-setting his tone on the team and soon things should get better. The club will battle for La Liga and Champions League, but I don’t doubt that they might make a move in the transfer market before the transfer deadline

[Rivaldo says Vinicius should stay on at Real Madrid and develop under Zidane] Apparently, PSG talked about Vinicius Junior moving from Madrid to France as part of a potential Neymar transfer to Real Madrid deal, but I wouldn’t accept it, if I was Vinicius. Of course, it would depend on the player’s will of playing more often, but he played well last season and should not rush a move, after all he is on the best possible stage to shine at Real Madrid

2019 08 29 Retrieve

[Former Barcelona star Rivaldo doesn’t think Neymar will move to Real Madrid because he believes his countryman is aching for a return to Catalonia] I can’t see Neymar signing for Real Madrid because the player wants to return to Barcelona and the club seems focused on making that a reality before the transfer deadline. I believe Barcelona won’t let Neymar escape and despite all that happened with him leaving the club a few years ago, he would always be an excellent signing for the team and could quickly convince Blaugrana fans once again with his excellent quality on the pitch

[While Rivaldo doesn’t see Barcelona offloading Dembele because of his continued issues with staying fit, he does think it would be wise for the club to use him as part of a deal to bring back Neymar] I don’t see Barcelona trying to get rid of Ousmane Dembele because of his constant problems - he is a great player with big potential. But if Neymar returns to the club, Dembele would perhaps lose his place in the squad, and using him as exchange instead of spending too much money could be an option for Barcelona. Neymar can give what other players can’t. He knows the locker room and the club’s supporters, and in addition to his quality as a player he knows most of his teammates who would enjoy having him on their side again. And Neymar is also looking ready to return and grab some more titles with the club. I suppose we’ll have a few more big transfers before Deadline Day. I expect the conclusion of the Neymar transfer, but I also imagine other clubs making late moves in the market. Real Madrid could try to reinforce their midfield for example

2019 09 06 Retrieve

[Rivaldo claims he could’ve matched Roberto Firmino’s 50-goal haul had he joined Man Utd] Roberto Firmino has become the first Brazilian player to reach 50 goals on Premier League and I must congratulate him for that achievement. He is a player of great personality, with a particular taste for scoring goals and also very clever on his movements near the opposite goal. He didn’t play in the starting 11 at the last World Cup but looks like he will have a good chance of starring for his country in 2022 because he is a top forward.

Perhaps if I had signed for Manchester United when I had the opportunity, I could have achieved something similar to what Firmino is doing at Liverpool. Of course, it would depend on the time spent there. But I did shape my style from a creative player, who only assisted others, into someone who could also score regularly. In five seasons with Barcelona I scored 130 goals, so why couldn’t I have scored 50 or so in England? I think it would have been possible after four or five seasons there

2019 09 19 Retrieve

[Rivaldo believes Real Madrid were taught a footballing lesson by Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League and believes Zinedine Zidane may have to spend big again in January] Zidane has a lot of work to do to get his team back to what it was when they won three consecutive Champions League titles. But Madrid always are always a prize scalp for opponents, after winning so many titles in the past, so they need to give everything they have in every match. On the other hand, PSG were excellent in Paris with all their players performing well. It was a football lesson and if they follow this performance pattern, they should be considered favourites to win the Champions League. Yes, Madrid also had their absences in this match, and Sergio Ramos’ leadership was missed on the pitch, but their midfield also had important absences and when you don’t have enough players to replace others in the same quality things can get nasty. Depending on how Madrid do between now and December, I believe Zidane might be forced to go to the market in January in order to bring one or two big players to the team.

[Barca, meanwhile, kicked off their Champions League campaign with a 0-0 draw away at Dortmund, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen proving the hero as he saved a Marco Reus penalty] We cannot deny that Barcelona had a bad night against Dortmund and could easily have lost the match, but they had an inspired goalkeeper. Ter Stegen simply sealed their goal, making big saves and even stopping a penalty from Reus. The German is one of the best goalkeepers in the world, as he’s strong between the posts and with his feet. His team-mates have no problems in passing him the ball as they know he is strong in that department, and even the opposing attackers don’t press too much as they know he won’t make mistakes. Ter Stegen transmits confidence to his team-mates and that’s vital. He has been a little forgotten by Joachim Low in the German national team, but we should notice that Manuel Neuer is another big goalkeeper. I think Ter Stegen should focus on his daily work at Barcelona and producing solid performances, waiting for his opportunity at Die Mannschaft, which should come soon

2019 09 12 Retrieve

[Rivaldo expects the Dutchman to flourish] Frenkie De Jong could be useful in many positions. The young Dutch midfielder is already confirming what I expected, as he is a good player with a bright future who is adapting well to a new reality, and it clearly seems to have been a good signing for Barcelona that would give us fans much joy in the future. He is playing in the middle, a little ahead of Sergio Busquets, but on Netherlands national team duty Ronald Koeman is using him in a deeper role to let him organise the plays closer to a number six position. I think that Ernesto Valverde will find his best position in the future at Barcelona, but the fact he can play in different positions around the midfield is very important for the club and himself because he could become very useful in different situations of the game, helping in many positions

[Former World Player of the Year Rivaldo added] Barcelona has signed a lot of players in the last five years (26), but only 10 continue at the club and that’s something that doesn’t represent any concern for me, after all you cannot always sign the right players and sometimes players can’t adapt as well as expected. It’s a normal situation, but doesn’t means that those players who didn’t stay are not good enough, they simply ended up having less impact than expected in the team, so they left the club to open space for another player and also to find clubs where they could leave their mark.

Recently, I remember players like Coutinho, Paulinho and Malcom that despite being good players, didn’t have the luck of having a nice adaptation to the club. Every season the club tries to reinforce their squad in quality and need some players to leave to let others arrive, always trying to create a strong group that should not have more than 28/30 players

2019 09 19b Retrieve

[Rivaldo has suggested that Barcelona won’t need to go back in for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar if Ansu Fati continues to make waves at Camp Nou] As I’ve said before, the start of the season is a great time to try out new players. The lack of decisive matches allows some error margin for the youngsters, and [Ernesto] Valverde is doing it very well in Barcelona. He has already been rewarded with Ansu Fati showing huge talent on his first appearances. The 16-year-old is already showing he has the personality to play big matches and made his Champions League debut this week in the 0-0 draw with Dortmund - a match in which Barcelona didn’t play well. If Barcelona had been playing well perhaps the youngster would have shone even more, but that wasn’t the case this time.

I understand fans’ enthusiasm about the young Ansu Fati but it is far too early to start comparing him to Lionel Messi and wondering if he may be his future replacement. No one doubts Fati’s big talent, but it’s premature to put so much responsibility on his shoulders when he is still a kid. Let’s give him time and space to play his normal football, and the future will tell if he is about to become the ‘new Messi’ or not. There are other rumours mentioning that Fati’s breakthrough will lead Barcelona to give up on signing Neymar. Honestly, I think it would depend on teams’ results until the next transfer window. If Barcelona manage to play well, with Fati being an important part of the success, they have no reasons to sign a new player. But if things are not going so well it can be different, and in that case Neymar could become a target again

2019 09 27 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona can’t rush Messi back] As the Argentinian returns from injury, the club need to be careful about not rushing him back. He’s 32 years old and has been playing at the highest level for a while without any rest, so it’s normal to see him starting to feel some pain at times. The club needs to let him fully recover so that he doesn’t suffer a recurrence of his injuries right after returning to the team. It doesn’t matter if he misses two, three weeks or a month. When I was in my early-thirties, I thought I would never get injured, or feel pain, but it wasn’t the truth and those kinds of problems started to come. Being 32 is not the same as being 25, so you need to manage your fitness better. I don’t see this as a sign of decline in Messi, though, as he will come back and have a few more years at the highest level

[Though debate has raged over whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Virgil van Dijk deserved the award more, Rivaldo is convinced Messi was a worthy winner] Despite being a tight voting, I believe Lionel Messi deserved this award for everything he has done last season. Yep, he only won La Liga, but he scored more than 50 goals and assisted 20, playing almost 60 matches of high demand. Sometimes it could be debatable what to value more: the team titles or the individual performances. For me, though, this is an individual award, so Messi was the best in 2019 even though his teams didn’t win as many titles as they wished

2019 10 02 Retrieve

[Catalan legend Rivaldo write about Messi] Messi’s 32 years old and has been playing at the highest level for a while without any rest, so it’s normal to see him starting to feel some pain at times. The club needs to let him fully recover so that he doesn’t suffer a recurrence of his injuries right after returning to the team. It doesn’t matter if he misses two, three weeks or a month. When I was in my early thirties, I thought I would never get injured, or feel pain, but it wasn’t the truth and those kinds of problems started to come. Being 32 is not the same as being 25, so you need to manage your fitness better. I don’t see this as a sign of decline in Messi, though, as he will come back and have a few more years at the highest level

2019 10 04 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona should consider resting Messi for Sevilla clash] Messi’s importance in this win against Inter only reinforces my view that he has to be more protected in this phase of his career. He must be allowed to fully recover so that he can stop feeling any pain and lose any fear of fighting for each ball. He must be allowed to recover his joy on the pitch, as he is very important for Barcelona, especially when on his best form. Barcelona face Sevilla on Sunday in La Liga and of course Messi wants to play. But it could be time to reflect with the medical staff and check if playing too much time after coming back from an injury could be risky for his recovery. Sometimes, it might be better to just do some recovery training

[Barca find themselves fourth in La Liga, two points behind leaders Real Madrid after seven games] It is an important match against Sevilla but there is a lot of the league season to play yet, so perhaps protecting the player could reap rewards later, as it would allow Messi to have some more days to recover from his midweek efforts

2019 10 11 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona need to ‘have words’ with Dembele after ‘silly sending off’ costs Clasico place] Ousmane Dembele is in trouble again after saying rude words to the referee and getting sent off in Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Sevilla. He received a two-game suspension which means he’ll miss ‘El Clasico’ against Real Madrid on October 26. Barcelona need to have words of their own with the player about this silly sending off. It’s not acceptable and it could harm the team, with his absence creating difficulties for his team-mates.

It’s important for the club to have an internal procedure to sanction players in these kind of foolish situations, in which you have inappropriate talking to a referee or manager. It makes sense to punish him in some way to avoid new situations in the future. I’m not referring to Dembele only, but to any player that might commit a similar action. A player needs to be smart, be aware that there are more matches to play after that, and don’t let his team-mates, manager and club in a tough situation

Despite playing less time than usual recently, and even having called Ernesto Valverde’s attention to it, Ivan Rakitic is still a very important player for Barca. When you’re not in the starting 11, and the team is playing well and winning, it becomes tougher for the manager to change the team and you end up spending more time than expected in the bench. That’s the only reason Rakitic is missing out at the moment. He is still a good player and his experience should ensure him more time on the pitch soon

2019 10 16 Retrieve

[Former Barcelona star Rivaldo believes that Ansu Fati can earn a place in Spain’s squad for Euro 2020 this summer] Ansu Fati was recently called up for the Under-21 Spanish national team and as a result, dismissed from being present at the U17 World Cup which is about to start. I suppose this is good news for the club and the player, as Fati is playing a good number of minutes in the first team already, so he can continue to earn his spot in the team. He has all the conditions to become a big player in the future, so he just needs to keep working well and waiting for more opportunities which should come more often in the future if he continues to prove his value.

If Fati continues to take his chances at Barcelona, I don’t exclude the idea of seeing him at the Euros next year, after all Spain is going through a transitional phase with the squad and he is a distinguished player that could be helpful for them. Anyway, it will depend on what he can show from now on until the end of next season, not only in Barcelona but also with Spain’s U21s team. It’s up to him and what he manages to do when the opportunities come. One thing I’m sure of though, he has enough talent to do just that

[One player that Rivaldo says should be a lock for next summer’s squad is Sergio Ramos] Sergio Ramos just broke the appearance record for the Spanish national team and I think he is already the best defender in Spain’s history. Of course, there were some others in the past, but for all he has won in the national team and with Real Madrid, I think he deserves a lot of credit as he has constantly adapted as a defender over the years. More than just the complete defender, he is also helpful in attack as he scores many goals. For that reason, he is rightly a part of the Spanish national team’s history and I don’t see why he can’t continue making even more history in the next few years

2019 10 19 Retrieve

[Rivaldo remembers his incredible Barcelona hat-trick in 2001] I remember having to really focus on controlling the ball properly to set up the bicycle kick. You may well plan something in football but it is not always easy to make it real, so thank god that it happened on that occasion. It wasn’t easy as I was stood outside of the box, far away from the goal, so really it was a perfect strike

2019 10 24 Retrieve

[Rivaldo urges Mbappe to move to England or Spain if he wants to be true heir to Messi & Ronaldo] There’s no doubt Mbappe has the qualities to become one of the best in the world, as he is playing great football and has huge potential. He would be able to develop his talent by playing in La Liga or the Premier League. Ligue 1 is clearly below the competitive level of Spain or England. With all due respect to PSG, I believe he must leave for a Spanish or big English team in the future to confirm himself as the heir to Messi or Ronaldo. The best players need to play in the best leagues.

But I think it would be tough for Barcelona to sign him in the future, as he is very expensive due to his young age, world champion status and natural ability that makes him one of the biggest prospects in the world of football. If Barca had so many problems in trying to sign Neymar, just imagine how much PSG would be asking for the Frenchman, so it’s almost impossible to bring this excellent player to Catalonia at the moment

Barca’s new attacking trio, of Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann (MSG), is giving some good signs and showing it can work in the future, but I don’t believe it will reach Messi, Suarez, Neymar (MSN) level. Neymar is a distinctive player who creates a lot of assists, scores many goals and takes control of the game when needed thanks to his personality. That’s something Griezmann doesn’t have yet, and even though he has scored goals already, he hasn’t fully adapted to his new team’s style of play. It could be a while before we see him playing at the same level as we saw for many years at Atletico Madrid.

He is not yet irreplaceable in the team and keeps being subbed before the end of matches. That doesn’t happen to Messi or Suarez. Even when they are not playing well, they stay on the pitch thanks to their status and ability to make the difference at any time

2019 11 16 Retrieve

[Rivaldo blasts Brazil for giving AC Milan midfielder Lucas Paqueta number 10 shirt and hooking him at half-time] I watched the match between Brazil v Argentina and was very sad to see what happened with the number 10 shirt. They gave the shirt to Paqueta against Argentina. A shirt that is respected worldwide. This shirt is not meant to be on the bench, let alone go off at half-time, because it is the shirt the world knows and respects because it was worn and honoured by Pele, Rivelino, Zico, Rivaldo, Kaka, Ronaldinho, Neymar. The player is not to blame, but the coaching staff is, because they know the weight of this shirt and also that it could burn the 22-year-old, who can have a great future with the Brazilian team. Just as the coach wanted to protect Rodrygo, who is playing very well at Real Madrid, for this match, he could have protected Paqueta from playing with that shirt. We all know that Brazil and Argentina will never be a friendly match

2019 12 06 Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Rivaldo says Lionel Messi won’t retire anytime soon] Messi talked about a potential retirement in the next few years at the Ballon d’Or ceremony and has started loads of rumours. It’s normal that a 32-year-old footballer starts to think about his future but it will depend on how things go at Barcelona. If he feels important to the club and keeps on winning trophies, he won’t leave or retire anytime soon, but in the next couple of years it could be different if he starts feeling it’s harder to keep up with the young talent in the team. If he feels that he may just become an extra part of the team, and not the main focus, he should consider leaving for another competition. He still wants to win the World Cup and the Copa America with Argentina, so he should stay and play at the highest level until 2022 to cement his place in the team. It’s still too early though

2019 12 17 Retrieve

[Rivaldo wants Neymar back at Barcelona] Messi won’t last forever. One day his final match will arrive and he will leave football. Now he is making the difference, scoring goals … but you have to have another player to play his actual role. Just one player can be the substitute of Messi at Barcelona and that player is Neymar. He was wrong leaving Barcelona, but, if he returns, he will be able to make the difference as Messi is doing now

[Rivaldo added on the impact Messi could make] It’s difficult to stop him, but I’m sure Real Madrid will try their best, because if not, he will score goals. A Clasico is a different match, but Messi is always calm in these matches. He’s always looking for a goal. I do really think both teams are playing well and they are both in good condition to play this match. As I always say, there are no favourites

2020 01 10 Retrieve

[Barcelona capitulated in the Spanish Super Cup semi-final against Atletico Madrid, throwing away a 2-1 lead to lose 3-2 in Jeddah. Ernesto Valverde’s time as Barcelona coach is up and everybody knows it.] [This defeat] reminded me of the previous fiascos in the Champions League

2020 01 15 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona were ‘naive’ & ‘disrespectful’ in how they handled Ernesto Valverde sacking] It’s clear that Barcelona didn’t deal well with this change of manager. They were a little naive and perhaps disrespectful with Valverde; it is never a positive action to start negotiating with a new manager while the current one is still working.

Of course, Xavi and Ronald Koeman rejecting their proposals also added to that problem creating lots of speculation, before they finally announced Quique Setien. Football is a cut-throat business, of course, but we all know that the process wasn’t well driven by Barca’s board. Clubs like Barcelona or Real Madrid should always have back-up managers in order to avoid such situations.

Yes, it isn’t pretty to talk to other managers before really wanting to sign them, but if you manage to identify one or two realistic targets who probably accept an offer when it comes, you can avoid these kind of tough situations

I’m convinced that Xavi will sign as Barcelona manager in the future and he is already getting prepared for that, starting his managerial career in Qatar. I think he turned down Barca’s offer because he’s not yet ready to embrace such a task in an early phase of his new job as a manager. For now, he prefers to keep gaining experience and maturity as a coach. But while he didn’t accept such responsibility now and will wait for the right moment, I’m sure he would be Barca’s coach someday and hopefully with success.

In the case of Koeman, it’s different. He is an experienced manager with an international reputation and would have been a very good option. He is well known worldwide, has a good knowledge of the club and is used to big pressure like he will find in the Champions League and other competitions. But it didn’t turn out to be the time for his comeback

2020 01 24 Retrieve

[Rivaldo backs PSG raid with Suarez injured] Cavani would be a magnificent improvement for Barcelona’s attack now that Suarez is out for quite some time. After all, Cavani is a top forward who has always got his goals in Europe’s top leagues. In his case it seems he’s really close to leaving PSG and it would be a very good opportunity

[Rivaldo on Valencia star Rodrigo Moreno] Rodrigo Moreno’s one of the best goalscorers in La Liga and a key player for Celades. I imagine that negotiations will not be easy, it would reinforce a direct opponent. They would have to pay a lot to sign him

2020 02 07 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona need Neymar back to make the difference when Messi is not there] Barcelona need to find a player who makes the difference when Messi isn’t there or it’s not his night, as happened at San Mames. The club should look for a player to accompany him and replace him when necessary and, in my opinion, Neymar is that player. Barca should perhaps continue considering signing him next summer. The club isn’t responsible for Neymar leaving a couple of years ago. It’s been a while since then and perhaps it’s time for negotiations that allow him to return and spend the best years of his career at Camp Nou

2020 02 08 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says ‘Complete defender’ Pablo Mari tipped to shine at Arsenal] I think Pablo Mari will fit in very well at Arsenal and in the Premier League. He is a good player that struggled to impose himself in Europe as a loaned player of Man City for a while, but he really convinced people being part of a great Flamengo team last season. He is very complete as a defender - capable of bringing the ball forward when necessary and a threat on set pieces. He has good passing skills as well and I liked what I saw from him. In Brazil, everyone has good opinion about him, and he could be a very successful option for Arsenal and Mikel Arteta

There have been some wonderful Spanish players to play for Arsenal. Fabregas, Cazorla, Reyes … they’re all great Spanish players that have passed through this club. One of those legends that we have with us now is Mikel. He was a very important player for Arsenal and now this is a new project for him as coach, but I think he’s going to repeat what he achieved when he was a player. Personally I look up to him and the career he had at Arsenal. That’s what I’ve been working for all these years. I’d love to be at Arsenal for a long time and I hope to give the Gunners some victories to celebrate again

2020 02 13 Retrieve

[Rivaldo expects Messi to retire at Camp Nou] I’m not buying the speculation about a potential Lionel Messi move from Barcelona at the end of the season. Honestly, I think he will end his career at Camp Nou. He has been one of us since he was 14-years-old. He has a big affection for the club and the club for him, so I don’t think he would benefit from leaving. I see him as a player of just one club, like Francesco Totti in AS Roma or Rogerio Ceni at Sao Paulo. It’s tough to conceive of the idea of watching Messi playing against Barca in the Champions League, so even if he leaves in the future I imagine him more outside Europe, in China or the MLS on a transfer motivated more by financial than sporting reasons

He hasn’t scored in his last three matches and many commentators are saying the problem at the club, following Messi’s criticism of Eric Abidal, is the main reason for that. But I don’t see it that way and think we’ll soon have Messi scoring again. The team has returned to winning ways, as we saw last weekend when they beat Real Betis 3-2. Messi provided his team-mates with two assists and that’s important as he plays a central role in Barca’s attack, with his passing skills crucial to generating good chances. His class is undeniable, so I don’t see reasons for concern

Manchester City are among the clubs being linked to Messi. The Argentinian attacker could play at any club in the world but, as Pep Guardiola said recently, Messi should continue at Barcelona. Other rumours mention Juventus as another possible club for Messi and there he could form a delightful partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo. That seems highly unlikely. Yes, it would be a pleasure to see two huge players playing together, but I don’t see it as a realistic move

2020 02 21 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Man City ban could lead Guardiola back to Barcelona] Manchester City have been banned from the Champions League for two seasons for failing to comply with UEFA Financial Fair Play rules. City are appealing but the case should be a warning to all clubs that rules must be obeyed. If City do miss two years of Champions League football, then it could be a great chance for Pep Guardiola to return to Barcelona next season. But it would depend on club’s performance until the end of the season. If Barca win the Champions League this season under Quique Setien and produce a decent finish to the campaign in La Liga, there won’t be any reasons for a managerial change. But if the team doesn’t fulfil expectations and disappoints their fans, then perhaps there is a real chance of seeing Guardiola back at the club where he was most successful.

It’s still too early to seriously consider that possibility and we must wait until the end of this season. Will City’s suspension be upheld? Will Barca want to change coach again so soon after Setien took over from Ernesto Valverde? We will have to wait for a little while to find out the answers to these intriguing questions

Martin Braithwaite has joined Barcelona from Leganes, a minor team that is struggling to avoid relegation and which could be seriously harmed by losing the player. With all the respect to Braithwate, who looks like he possesses quality, I thought Barca should sign a younger player. If Braitwhaite, who’s 28, has signed for 18m euros he should be a regular starter, trying to replace [Luis] Suarez permanently.

I didn’t agree with this transfer for a couple reasons: it was made after the deadline and Barcelona could have promoted young players to the senior squad instead. Furthermore, the team is improving lately and playing better, so I don’t see reasons to grab an attacker who, again with respect, I doubt could be the player the club needs now

2020 02 29 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona have become even more dependent on Lionel Messi this season] Barcelona will go to the Santiago Bernabeu with a two-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga. But the match won’t be decisive in the title race, as we have seen both teams lose points to smaller clubs. It would, though, give Barca a nice cushion and the satisfaction of leaving their old enemy’s season in tatters. But they are yet to improve under new boss Quique Setien and the team haven’t truly found their best form this season. They have great players but they need to be much better in possession. They also need to shoot more from outside the box to surprise their opponents. They are playing with a new system which makes them even more dependent on Messi, as he is responsible for making a difference with his dribbling, shooting from outside the area and combining with teammates. But as we saw against Napoli in the Champions League this week, Messi is targeted by opponents and if he doesn’t show up the team immediately feels it. That said, I believe Barca earned an important equaliser at Napoli and taking a 1-1 back to Camp Nou should be enough to help them seal qualification in the second leg

Barca have injuries and suspensions to contend with for their second leg against Napoli. This comes from the club’s bad planning after some players left in January and almost no reinforcements arrived. Arturo Vidal was sent off at Napoli but a player of his experience should have controlled himself and remembered that referees are less tolerant in the Champions League than in La Liga. In the meantime, [Gerard] Pique’s possible absence in El Clasico could be a huge blow to Barca. He is a leader on the pitch and responsible for organizing the defence. I believe he will recover in time as he is a fighter always ready to give everything for the club. Luis Suarez will be missed by Barca but they should start using his new signing Martin Braithwaite more often. You can’t sign a 28-year-old forward for 18 million euros to simply stay on the bench and play a few minutes. It’s up to the manager to start using him more regularly

2020 03 03 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Lionel Messi has nobody to help him with Luis Suarez out] As usual, Lionel Messi had little space to play in. He is Barca’s match winner and if he is well defended their chances of being threatening in attack are severely reduced. At the moment, he is the only Barcelona player taking responsibility with the ball, shooting from outside the box and trying to unbalance opposing defenders. No one else in the team seems capable of helping him in that department. That makes things tough for the Argentinian

Without Luis Suarez, Barcelona loses a lot because, apart from Messi, they have no other player who can surprise opponents. The Uruguayan works hard, is fearless and puts opposing defences to the sword very often. Barca are missing Suarez and, in his absence, they’re putting all the responsibility on Messi. When they lose, everyone starts asking what happened to Messi. He is always the target of fans’ frustration when things don’t go so well for the team but that’s unfair

Quique Setien’s players knew El Clasico was a big chance for them to run away at the top of La Liga. By losing at Santiago Bernabeu, they should feel they wasted an opportunity at an important stage of the season.

Barca played well in the first half and could have scored the first goal, which would have changed the approach of both teams. But they weren’t clinical and in the second half Madrid managed to play better and take advantage of their chances.

In these kinds of matches, every detail can make the difference and if Barcelona had scored first I’m sure things would have been different. But it didn’t happen that way this time and Madrid ended up taking more risks in the second-half and were rewarded for that

2020 03 19 Retrieve

[Rivaldo wants to see Coutinho return to Liverpool form] It looks like Bayern Munich won’t pay Philippe Coutinho’s option clause at the end of the season and the player is likely to return to Barcelona. I always thought Coutinho would adapt better to Spanish football than German, as there are some language and lifestyle issues that could be a little different for a Brazilian in Germany. Unfortunately, it hasn’t gone well for the player in either league and he will be returning to Barcelona. It’s up to the club and manager to decide whether he is going to have another chance next season or not.

If the chance comes, Coutinho really needs to step up and show the great player he is, just like he did in England with Liverpool and has done with the Brazilian national team for which he is still an important player. I believe in his qualities and think much will depend on his will and mental strength. He must prove that others were wrong to write him off and that he can still make the difference for any team. Playing for Barcelona is a unique chance for a player and perhaps Coutinho’s experience in the Bundesliga has made him wake up and see that Barca could be the right place for him. Of course, it might not turn out to be the case and he could join a Premier League club. Barca might prefer to get back some of his investment in the player. I think Coutinho should fight to stay at Barca and try to convince the club of his qualities. That would be a real demonstration of his personality

2020 03 19b Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Too soon for Barcelona to consider Griezmann sale] Many Barca fans were expecting much more from Antoine Griezmann in his first season at Barcelona, especially without Coutinho as well as Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele due to injury. But I don’t believe it’s time to start thinking of selling the player.

A world champion, who is well-adapted to Spanish football after his time at Atletico Madrid, would be expected to make a bigger impact at Camp Nou. But Griezmann is still capable of making the difference, especially in Lionel Messi’s absence, so we must wait and see if he can get adapt to Barca’s system. Griezmann has the quality to succeed at the club.

His first season is reminding me of Coutinho. Both were playing great football when they arrived at the club but didn’t manage to replicate it at Barcelona. I think he needs to dedicate himself a little bit more to truly produce his best football and become a decisive member of Quique Setien’s team

Barca’s late signing Martin Braithwaite has recently arrived at the club and was starting to earn some minutes before La Liga gets suspended. He arrived to replace Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele and needs to have more opportunities soon to convince his new manager and fans. This pause in La Liga isn’t beneficial for his career as he could have less time to consolidate himself - especially because Suarez is having more time to recover - and next season he could also have Coutinho fighting for a place in the starting 11. If he didn’t manage to play regularly in the next few months he could end up being forgotten as better players will come and he could never had the same chances that he would have now to perform as an important role at Barcelona squad.

2020 03 26 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Ter Stegen deserves new Barcelona contract] Barcelona are negotiating a contract renewal with the goalkeeper ter Stegen, and I agree that he deserves an improved salary for all he has been doing for the club in the last few years. Of course, much will depend on the player’s demands as I don’t believe either that he should earn a similar salary to Suarez or Messi, but he should become one of the better paid members of the squad. He transmits safety and a team is built from the back. He knows how to play with his feet, has already saved the team many times and he’s clearly deserving of a better income

2020 03 26b Retrieve

[Rivaldo reveals Brazil star’s infamous free-kick against England was intentional] I remember well that match against England at World Cup 2002 in which we won 2-1. Ronaldinho gave a brilliant performance that day, setting up an excellent play and assisting me for our first goal. My goal was important for us, as we managed to equalise right before half-time. Then at the second half, he scored that famous goal from way outside the box that surprised David Seaman and all the world, me included. I never thought he could try such strike, but it worked perfectly. After the match, he told me that he knew that Seaman had that tendency to take one or two steps forward at free kicks and so he tried to surprise him. That match was particularly remarkable because Ronaldinho was sent off with half an hour to play and we had to fight hard to contain English pressure until the end. To score a goal from such a tough position, and with your right foot, is amazing because it would be more plausible for a lefty to do it. For Ronaldinho, though, there were no impossible tasks and it was a joy to watch him play and to share the pitch with him many times

2020 03 26c Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Rivaldo has reiterated his desire to see Neymar taken back to Camp Nou] I’ve been saying for a while that I believe in Neymar. Perhaps leaving Barcelona was a mistake for the Brazilian but, if there’s any chance of getting him back for less than the €222m Barca paid for him, the club should seize the opportunity. At 28, he still has a lot of football to play. He would be a great signing for Barca as they would be getting someone who knows the club and who has the personality to make the difference in games. He wouldn’t be daunted by sharing the pitch with Lionel Messi and the Argentinian would enjoy having him back on the team

[Speculation is building when it comes to Lautaro’s future] Rumours say that Barcelona are considering trying to sign the young Argentinian attacker Lautaro Martínez from Inter, but I think that the 22-year-old needs to keep developing and gaining experience. He’s already a valuable player for Inter, and could become a top player in the future, but he’s not ready for Barca. Barcelona should focus on bringing Neymar back, to reunite him with Messi and Luis Suarez in the devastating attack they had in the past. They should make every financial effort to get Neymar because it seems PSG are now more open to realistic offers. They should do everything necessary to sign a player who’s already proved his value and wouldn’t be a risky signing. Neymar has already won the Champions League with Barcelona, has impressed in the Blaugrana shirt many times, and after apologising to the fans for his unexpected exit to PSG, I think everything will be ok. He could conquer the Camp Nou fans with his brilliant game

2020 03 30 Retrieve

[Barcelona legend Rivaldo believes his former club should focus on ready-made players] I think that [Lautaro] needs to keep developing and gaining experience. He’s already a valuable player for Inter, and could become a top player in the future, but he’s not ready for Barca

2020 04 03 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Neymar is ready to lead Barcelona alongside Messi] The rumours are growing about Barcelona’s intention to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez in the next transfer window. Although the young Argentinian is a good player, I think that only Neymar is a certain bet to claim a place in the starting XI side by side with Messi. Looking at the last few years we have seen many valuable players who didn’t manage to play alongside Messi - failing to perform under the expectations. But Neymar - like Luis Suárez - is one of the few players in the world that doesn’t feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality. He never gets frightened and it would be a safe option for the club while Martinez is a young, talented forward that perhaps in two or three years may become a good signing. For now I think the club should prioritise Neymar. I’m a fan of his qualities and personality and I know that sometimes I’m liable to criticism as some Barcelona fans didn’t like the way Neymar decided to leave the club. But the truth is that he is a different player now who should be a nice help to Messi and co. in trying to win another Champions League.

2020 04 03b Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Xavi would be under pressure as Barcelona boss due to Guardiola similarities] I believe that Xavi will become Barcelona manager in the future as he is not only a good person who knows the club inside out, but also seems to have good qualities as manager. In the right moment he will know that the time to coach Barcelona has come and he will try to get his Barca team close to his golden generation at the Camp Nou. The pressure of raising the club to that level will be high, especially because he had a similar professional career to Pep Guardiola, a somewhat identical style of playing and could now replicate a system in which he was a maestro. Of course, it won’t be easy to make anything similar and he would need to have the right players at the right time to put his system working perfectly. When you have got this kind of pressure it’s because other people trust you and you are in charge of a big club with huge ambitions. Any manager would love to coach Barcelona. Much will depend on the players he has when he arrives in Barcelona. He must add two or three key pieces to strengthen the group and give him a chance of matching Guardiola’s levels

2020 04 09 Retrieve

[Rivaldo not convinced by Barcelona exit talk] Inter’s president Massimo Moratti said this week that he could bring Lionel Messi to the club and resume his personal clash with Cristiano Ronaldo in Italy, but as I’ve said before I don’t believe that the Argentinian would leave Barcelona for any other European club.

I think he has no reasons to leave Spain, but if that happens one day then he could sign for a club from China or MLS, but only when he stops being so decisive for the Catalan outfit.

Even if a move to Inter could be financially encouraging for the player, I suspect that wouldn’t be enough to convince him and I think this is more like propaganda from Inter’s president than a real possibility in the next transfer market.

Of course, Inter is a big European club that have recruited excellent players in the past and managed to win some important titles, but I can’t imagine Messi changing club while he is still at his best level at Barcelona.

There were also rumours about potential interest from Manchester City, but their manager Pep Guardiola considers Messi to be where he should be and is still playing at a high enough level to help Barcelona very much.

So, to sum up I consider that these are just rumours and believe Messi should finish his career in Europe after representing just one club. If he does leave, then it will be to China or a north American club where he can enjoy a different environment with not as much pressure and competitiveness

2020 04 16 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona should offload World Cup winner] Ousmane Dembele signed for Barcelona almost three years ago and he has already had enough time to establish himself in the club and prove his value. It’s possible that he will never show his quality at the club. He is still a player with huge potential, but I think this summer could be the right opportunity for Barcelona to sell or even exchange him for a player they’re chasing already. He’s been unlucky with injuries, but he might also have tried to give more at some moments. Things haven’t gone according to expectations and he might be able to revive his career at another club where he will feel more confident to play at his best. Barcelona seems to be trying to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez, so Dembele will probably struggle to get in the first team next season. Additionally, Barcelona would need to reduce its squad and earn some money if they really want to succeed in bringing in their current targets. To sign new players, others must leave

2020 04 16b Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Keep Griezmann & avoid Aubameyang] There are growing rumours about a potential Antoine Griezmann transfer to Internazionale in exchange for Lautaro Martínez or even a deal that could see the Frenchman go to PSG and Neymar come the other way. But I believe that Barca’s board will give Griezmann more time to make an impression at the club. In Italy, Griezmann would have more difficulties and I think his future is in La Liga where he is well-adapted and ready to show his best game regularly. Barcelona just needs to be a little more patient before he builds more confidence and starts playing with more personality

Barcelona always looks for the best players available in the market and Aubameyang is obviously a great player who could be a boost for the club. But other than simply signing a player, Barcelona must study if a certain player will fit into their current system, or if a transfer could end up forcing the new player to play in a different role, harming his own performance and potentially causing the team problems as well. So, it’s crucial to analyse these factors carefully before making an offer to sign a player, as it isn’t just the taste of the president and board that should decide this kind of stuff. You need to understand if the manager would approve of it and will have a space for the player in his system. To fit on a new team’s system is crucial, so Barcelona must be aware of that all the time and ask: Would that player fit on Quique Setien’s system?

2020 04 23 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Coutinho can get back to his best at Chelsea] After a season and a half at Barcelona and one more at Bayern Munich without managing to have the same success he had at Liverpool, I believe that this chance Philippe Coutinho now has of continuing his career at Chelsea could be a good option. He will move to a big club and to a country and competition he knows well where he had his best years so far, so if that transfer really happens, I’m sure he will have a good chance of seeing things improve for him in the future, after all, he has already shined on the Premier League before. Looking at Coutinho’s last few years we can say that he didn’t achieve what was expected of him, but he still has time to recover his best football and with his confidence back he could easily become the same player he was at Liverpool. I consider this to be just a not-so-good spell for him, but we can’t say that he is playing poorly because it would be a lie, things are simply not running as well as many would expect when he left Liverpool to sign for Barcelona. He is still a regular in the Brazilian national team and just hasn’t been lucky enough at Barcelona or Bayern, but perhaps that could change with a new club and I believe this would be a nice opportunity for him to get back to his best football at Chelsea. Furthermore, next year we’ll have Copa America and one year later the World Cup, so it would be important for Coutinho to be playing at a good European club in order not to lose his place in the national team when those big tournaments come around.

2020 04 30 Retrieve

[Willian could do well at Barcelona but Mourinho reunion at Spurs another good option] Willian has been linked in the past with Barcelona and I think he could do well there, because of his personality and ability to make the difference at important moments. In the last few years, Barcelona has signed some big players, like Antoine Griezmann, who are yet to produce their best football with Lionel Messi by their side. Perhaps the responsibility and pressure has been too much for them. I do not know how it would work for Willian, but what I’m suggesting is that Barcelona need to consider carefully their signings for big money as things have not gone so well recently in the transfer market for them. Players seem to get intimidated by Messi’s presence, and that has been a recent problem for the club. The club need to carefully evaluate a player’s personality, weigh up his ability to succeed and impose himself at Camp Nou

Willian is attracting some headlines in England as his contract with Chelsea is expiring this summer and there are strong rumours that he may move to a London rival soon. Yes, Willian is already playing at a big club, but he has been there for a long time and perhaps he needs a new challenge to recapture his will and motivation at this point in his career in the Premier League. A move to Tottenham could be a good option, especially because Willian would reunite with his former coach Jose Mourinho there, and the pair seem to have a good relationship. Furthermore, we all know that Mourinho has a special affection for Brazilian players and I am sure he would give lots of opportunities to Willian at Spurs

2020 05 01 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Selling Arthur could harm Barcelona’s chances of signing Neymar] There are lots of rumours about potential Barcelona transfers this summer and some press recently mentioned that Arthur could leave. I believe this is just talk and expect Arthur to stay at the club for many years. He hasn’t completed two complete seasons there yet. He arrived as the potential successor to Xavi because of his similar style of play, so it makes no sense to sell him when he is just 23 and has his career ahead of him. Furthermore, Arthur has a good relationship with Neymar and selling the youngster could harm Barca’s chances of bringing Neymar back. Of course, a potential Arthur move won’t cancel a Neymar deal as he as many other friends at Barcelona. But I think it’s important to keep a solid base to the squad and having Arthur could help persuade Neymar to return to the club.

2020 05 14 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Chelsea will not have been put off Philippe Coutinho by the Brazilian’s recent injury issues] Chelsea are the favourites to sign Coutinho and I don’t believe they will be put off by his recent injury. After all, next season is still very distant and he will have enough time to a completely recover. On the other hand, if the transfer doesn’t go forward and he stays at Barcelona perhaps a salary reduction, based on the player’s decision, could earn plaudits from the club’s board and maybe let him show that he is eager to remain at the club and finally prove his worth. Yes, there are many clubs already reducing their players’ salaries because of coronavirus crisis, but if the player takes a step forward in that themselves it would be seen as the attitude of someone interested in remaining at the club. Much could happen before next season and we can only wait for the next chapters of this story.

I still believe Coutinho has the quality to succeed. But sometimes football is tough and volatile. The misfortune you might have at one moment can be overcome, so Coutinho must keep calm and be confident about the future because he has lots of quality to shine at any club. This is a delicate moment for him and he must stay positive that things will turn for the better soon.

2020 05 15 Retrieve

[Rivaldo hoping Arthur isn’t used in swap deal] Rumours are circulating that Barca might be interested in signing Miralem Pjanic from Juventus, and despite being a good player, I believe the club should focus more on the present and on what is still to play for in La Liga this season. There will be time to think about transfers, especially because some must leave before others come in, and the club need to ensure they don’t create a squad that’s too big and would leave some players without the chance to play. Juventus seem interested in a potential exchange of Pjanic for Arthur Melo and of course I think the Brazilian would be a great signing for the Italians as he is a world-class player. Anyway, I still think Arthur should remain at Barcelona as he is young and arrived recently at the club. Soon he will confirm his place in the first team and start to fulfil his potential

2020 05 21 Retrieve

[Former Barcelona and Brazil star Rivaldo has urged Gareth Bale to cut short his troubled spell at Real Madrid and become a star with Newcastle United] There are rumours that Gareth Bale is being offered to MLS clubs and that he is looking forward to a move to the US soon, but I still think he has something left to show in European football at 30-years-old, before moving to the MLS. I believe his career at Real Madrid is coming to an end, as his chances in the starting 11 will be limited, especially with potential new arrivals this summer. The club no longer trusts him to be a decisive player after some internal problems in the last few years. For that reason, leaving Real Madrid seems highly probable, but I suppose he should continue in Europe for at least two or three more years and perhaps moving to the Premier League would be the best option for him now. Newcastle should receive a big money injection this summer with a new owner coming to town and this could be a great destination for Gareth Bale, as he could reassume his superstar status at the club and keep earning a big amount of money. It would be a great chance for him to prove he is still a top-class player and be considered again one of the best in the world, so if this offer really comes, I think he should accept it. At Newcastle, he would be the biggest star of the team and could lead a rejuvenated squad to a good Premier League campaign

2020 05 23 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Barcelona shouldn’t sign Bruno Guimaraes for the sake of it] Bruno Guimaraes seems to be a good player who could arrive in Catalunya at a very young age and become an important member of the Barca team in the future. But Barcelona should focus first on creating space in the squad to incorporate new players and allow them to play regularly. Signing players just for the sake of signing, and not paying attention at a player’s style and to the way he could adapt to Barcelona’s system, would be a mistake. The club should first think and evaluate the player carefully. That said, the player is showing good signs at Lyon and at 22 he has time to become a top player

The player Barca signed to replace Suárez could lose his place in the team now. Martin Braitwhaite cannot compete with Suarez, but the new signing needs to keep focused and work hard to take advantage of any chance he might have. It’s not certain that Suarez will reach 100% of his form, and that may allow Braithwate to play sometimes coming from the bench and that’s going to be his crucial moment to try to convince the club of keeping him for next season. A few months ago it was almost impossible to see Luis Suárez getting back on the pitch before the end of the season. But the suspension of football has allowed him to recover in time to help the team and it will be such a boost for Barca that it will be almost like they’ve signed a new and brilliant player

2020 06 05 Retrieve

[Iniesta’s comments echoed those of Rivaldo, who also believes Griezmann deserves time to shine at Camp Nou] There are growing rumours about a potential Antoine Griezmann transfer to Internazionale in exchange for Lautaro Martinez or even a deal that could see the Frenchman go to PSG and Neymar come the other way. But I believe that Barca’s board will give Griezmann more time to make an impression at the club. In Italy, Griezmann would have more difficulties and I think his future is in La Liga where he is well-adapted and ready to show his best game regularly. Barcelona just needs to be a little more patient before he builds more confidence and starts playing with more personality

2020 06 05b Retrieve

[Rivaldo on Arthur] There are lots of rumours about potential Barcelona transfers this summer and some press recently mentioned that Arthur could leave. I believe this is just talk and expect Arthur to stay at the club for many years. He hasn’t completed two complete seasons there yet. He arrived as the potential successor to Xavi because of his similar style of play, so it makes no sense to sell him when he is just 23 and has his career ahead of him. Furthermore, Arthur has a good relationship with Neymar and selling the youngster could harm Barca’s chances of bringing Neymar back

2020 06 06 Retrieve

[Rivaldo doubts Lautaro can be signed] There are rumours suggesting that PSG might be interested in Ousmane Dembele and, even though I think Dembele is a great player, I believe this could be a good opportunity for Barcelona to finally bring Neymar back. Of course, Barca will need to pay some additional money to pull off the deal, but I think this could be a mutually beneficial piece of business for both clubs. Dembele could see it as a good move, as he will have the chance to rediscover his best form and become one of PSG’s star players. He would be back in his native country and could produce solid performances, so I think this move would be interesting for him. But first we must wait to see if the clubs will reach an agreement

Barcelona seem to be keen to sign Lautaro Martínez and he is a great player that could fit in well at the club, especially as he is still young. Luis Suarez, the player he could replace in the long term, is not getting any younger but he probably has at least two or three more years at the highest level. The arrival of the promising Argentinian forward for around €100m would suggest that he is coming to be a starter, but unfortunately for him Suarez is still first choice up front and that might be a problem for Lautaro. If Barcelona are thinking about the Suarez succession in advance then Martinez would be an excellent signing. Inter are asking for a big fee and, with the coronavirus crisis causing clubs financial damage, Barcelona need to evaluate the situation and decide if they have enough money to complete the transfer. Barca’s interest in Lautaro could mean that the club have to give up on Neymar’s signing, as I think it is almost impossible to sign both players at the same time. Barcelona need to focus on landing just one of them and seal the deal. Either of them would be a good signing, but the club needs to think about the amounts involved and also about their manager’s wishes. What is the position that Quique Setien wants to reinforce now? Which player would be better suited to his plans? Only Setien knows

2020 06 13 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Messi won’t want rest but he needs it] Lionel Messi had some physical issues last week, so there’s a lot of discussion about whether he play the whole game for Barcelona in their first game back against Mallorca on Saturday. Barca are two points head of Real Madrid at the top of the table so the title race is tight. If Barca can pull away, they could rest Messi in a few games. If the battle goes to the wire then he might have fewer chances to rest - perhaps only in games which Barca manage to dominate from the first-half - but it will be important for Quique Setien to manage his squad well, as it won’t just be Messi that will reach the first game still looking to be 100% fit, after all everyone has stopped and it’s not easy to resume on the best form. As we know, Messi is always in contention for the ‘Pichichi’ top scorer award in La Liga and always making the difference in the team, so he wants to be on the pitch all the time and it’s difficult for the manager to rotate him. He also fights for the Ballon d’Or every season and that’s on his mind regularly, so you can’t go to Messi and simply tell him ‘take a rest’.

2020 06 13b Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Vinicius has to keep flying at Real Madrid] Vinícius Junior was in his best form since his arrival at Real Madrid before the lockdown, scoring against Barcelona in El Clasico, but after the break many things can change. Madrid will have Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio back on track, so the Brazilian has two additional contenders for a starting place. The first games back will only tell us which players have reached their peak before the others. I’m backing Vinícius to restart well and continue his good form, but there is a chance that things might not go so well after a big gap without playing. But despite the competitiveness in the squad, I believe Zinedine Zidane will pick players who are in good form and not just because of his preference, so Vinícius must try to keep showing his best football to continue as a starter. As we used to say in Brazil, he needs to keep flying to earn his place in the team

2020 06 14 Retrieve

[Messi claims new La Liga record in Barcelona win] Lionel Messi had some physical issues last week, so there’s a lot of discussion about whether he play the whole game for Barcelona in their first game back against Mallorca on Saturday. Barca are two points head of Real Madrid at the top of the table so the title race is tight. If Barca can pull away, they could rest Messi in a few games. If the battle goes to the wire then he might have fewer chances to rest - perhaps only in games which Barca manage to dominate from the first-half - but it will be important for Quique Setien to manage his squad well, as it won’t just be Messi that will reach the first game still looking to be 100 per cent fit, after all everyone has stopped and it’s not easy to resume on the best form. As we know, Messi is always in contention for the ‘Pichichi’ top scorer award in La Liga and always making the difference in the team, so he wants to be on the pitch all the time and it’s difficult for the manager to rotate him. He also fights for the Ballon d’Or every season and that’s on his mind regularly, so you can’t go to Messi and simply tell him ‘take a rest’.

2020 06 17 Retrieve

[Rivaldo says Lionel Messi must help Antoine Griezmann start scoring goals to ensure the French attacker does not suffer the same fate as Philippe Coutinho] Barca have won both their games since the restart, with Antoine Griezmann as a starter, but he continues to be far from the player he was at Atletico Madrid and some are wondering if he may become a ‘new Coutinho’ at Barcelona. It’s harsh to start making those comparisons, but it’s up to the player to prove it on the pitch. The lack of goals is demotivating and damages Griezmann’s confidence, so I believe it’s important for Lionel Messi to help him. Messi could, for example, let Griezmann take penalties when Barcelona are winning comfortably - just to get the Frenchman scoring - just like he did with Luis Suarez in the past.

[Rivaldo admits the Blaugrana have not been at their best, but he feels it is too early to judge Quique Setien] Barcelona beat Leganes 2-0 last night but they didn’t produce a great performance and many are still sceptical about Quique Setien’s new system. I think it’s difficult to pass judgement after just two matches post-lockdown. We need to wait a few more weeks to see how the team evolves. It’s understandable that their rhythm and intensity isn’t at its peak yet as they were a lot of time without playing or training. There are players returning from injuries and others still looking to be fit, so we must give them some more time before deciding if Setien’s system can truly work in the long run. At the moment, and while the quality of play is not yet at his best, the most important thing is for Barcelona to continue grabbing wins, to keep the leadership of La Liga ahead of Real Madrid and put pressure on them

2020 06 26 Retrieve

[Barcelona continue to lean heavily on the likes of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Gerard Pique, with Rivaldo adamant that an ageing squad is not a major concern for the Liga giants] These guys are important to the team, and have a bright future, but I don’t think they are the ones to make the difference. The responsibility should lie with the veterans, those with more experience and they are the players who must give more. I read in the press that they have many players over 30, but I don’t believe that’s a problem

It’s obvious that Barcelona have to improve their football, and that’s up to the coach, Setien has to find a formula to do something new. He needs to find a way to take advantage of the quality of the players he has at his disposal. Of course, recent matches make everyone doubt the progress because we’re used to seeing a different kind of Barcelona

I want to believe that the mediocre recent performances are the result of these strange times that we’re living in. I hope that in the next two or three matches they improve their level of playing

2020 06 28 Retrieve

[Ex-Barcelona and Brazil star Rivaldo fears Griezmann’s place at the club may be under threat and feels it is up to captain Lionel Messi to help boost his confidence] Barca have won both their games since the restart, with Antoine Griezmann as a starter, but he continues to be far from the player he was at Atletico Madrid and some are wondering if he may become a ‘new Coutinho’ at Barcelona. It’s harsh to start making those comparisons, but it’s up to the player to prove it on the pitch. The lack of goals is demotivating and damages Griezmann’s confidence, so I believe it’s important for Lionel Messi to help him. Messi could, for example, let Griezmann take penalties when Barcelona are winning comfortably - just to get the Frenchman scoring - just like he did with Luis Suarez in the past