Brazilian football legend and former World Footballer of the year, Rivaldo Victor Borba Ferreira made a historic first visit to Zimbabwe last week.
BY MUNYARADZI MADZOKERE
During a courtesy call at one of the country’s top junior football institutions, Legends Academy at Hellenics Sports Club, Rivaldo spoke to the future stars about his poor background.
This was after he watched an exhibition match and displaying some skills for the kids, most of who never watched him play.
“When I started I was a very poor child in Brazil with no conditions and circumstances to succeed. But through football I managed to help my family come out of poverty and also helped people around the family,” the 2002 World Cup winner revealed.
Rivaldo grew up in abject poverty living in one of the many slums in Recife, Brazil. Malnourishment and dental problems characterised his upbringing, with coaches at his first club Paulistano Futebol Clube believing that he was too frail to be a footballer.
Through determination, discipline and hard work, Rivaldo went on to become a household name in world football with Brazil and Barcelona.
“I never got drunk and I never smoked a cigarette. I never went out at night to parties and things like that. I have always been serious and focused on achieving my football dreams,” he said.
“If you research, you will find that I have a clear history with no controversies and problems. And today, I am an example and I think I can talk to you about this. Football is not easy. We find a lot of difficulties around us, but you need to be humble and work hard. By doing so, you will find the right way to become a star.”
Rivaldo was in the country to promote the upcoming exhibition match between Barcelona legends and the Warriors slated for next month.
The Barcelona legend received a shirt from Legends Academy signed by the budding players.
It was a gift of a shirt, which Rivaldo believes is more important than the signed shirts he has received from world stars like Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi
“This is the first time young players have signed a shirt for me and I am very happy to receive it. I have received a shirt from Messi, Ronaldo and many other current top players, but this is special because it was signed by you. I have never received a gift like this, thank you all,” he said.
Rivaldo has five children, among them three boys who play football.
The eldest, Rivaldo Vítor Mosca Ferreira Júnior, commonly known as Rivaldinho, plays for Romanian club Dinamo București as a forward and is currently the top scorer in the league.
The other two, João Vitor Ferreira (12) and Isaque Ferreira (11) are still playing junior football.