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Brazil legend Rivaldo feels India should have a six-month long league

Rivaldo, in Delhi to attend Saturday’s Subroto Cup final, had positive things to say about Indian football.

football Updated: Oct 21, 2016 20:47 IST
Sayan Ghosh
Sayan Ghosh
Hindustan Times
Rivaldo,Subroto Cup,Football
Brazil’s World Cup winner Rivaldo interacted with young footballers on Friday.(Burhaan Kinu/HT PHOTO)

Brazilian football legend Rivaldo boasts of a career that includes almost all the trophies one can win in a lifetime. From the World Cup in 2002 to Champions League glory with FC Barcelona in 2003, the attacking midfielder’s resume is one of the best in the world. Even after winning these accolades, the simple joy of playing the game remains intact in his heart as was evident when he started to play ‘keepie uppie’ with the U-16 kids at the Delhi Dynamos soccer school in Greater Noida on Friday.

“I started training around the same time as these kids and although fifty per cent of my success came due to my talent, the other fifty was the result of hard work and determination.”

The Brazilian footballer is in town as the special guest for the Subroto Cup final, which will take place on Saturday, and he had positive things to say about Indian football.

“I have heard a lot about this country’s football from Zico and Elano. The people here are really passionate about the game and with better planning it will not be hard to find good players.”

Rivaldo added that India should have a domestic league that runs at least six months to develop into a strong footballing nation.

“My impression is that you have to work hard and dedicate yourself. For better, the championship needs to be changed to six or seven months. It will be more professional,” said Rivaldo. “India is a big country. If you work in a proper way, you will find good players in the future.”

Rivaldo started his career with Brazilian club Santa Cruz in 1991 and over 22 years was a part of big clubs like Deportivo La Coruna, FC Barcelona and AC Milan.

Talking about the La Liga, he said: “Football has changed a lot and that is evident from the Spanish league. During my playing days, there used to be four-five big clubs which fought for the title. Nowadays, the competition is missing and everybody just talks about Barcelona and Real Madrid.”

During his career, Rivaldo played for 15 clubs around the world and his last appearance came on July 14, 2015, when he scored for Mogi Mirim during their 3-1 win over Macaé. However, he did not end his association with football after retirement and still practices every day. At 44, he seemed comfortable playing with the kids at the academy.

Asked about the Brazilian national team, he said: “The team is going through a transitional period, but it will recover soon. There are a lot of good players and in the next two years, I believe Neymar will become the best player in the world.”

Rivaldo is president of the Sao Paulo-based Mogi Mirim, but he did not rule out the possibility of coaching an Indian Super League (ISL) team in the future.

“Coaching an ISL team is a fascinating proposition and I would love to face that challenge.”

First Published: Oct 21, 2016 20:47 IST