Who's the man?
Rivaldo stealing some of Ronaldo's thunder
Posted: Saturday July 04, 1998 11:23 AM
Riv-eting: Rivaldo scored two of his three World Cup goals in Friday's quarterfinal win over Denmark (AP)|
NANTES, France (Reuters)
-- Ronaldo was billed as the top-attraction when Brazil arrived
in France to defend the World Cup but the goofy-grinned striker is now
finding himself upstaged by Rivaldo.
The original script had Rivaldo providing the passes for Ronaldo to score
the goals which would confirm him as the world's best player.
However, in Friday's 3-2 quarterfinal win over Denmark the
roles were reversed with Ronaldo acting as provider and Rivaldo putting the
ball in the net.
Rivaldo stole Ronaldo's thunder by scoring two of Brazil's goals, his
second half winner a superb effort which had shades of Rivelino. Ronaldo
set up two of Brazil's three goals.
The two are now level on three goals each.
Rivaldo has shouldered part of the blame for the fact that Ronaldo has not
quite lived up to expectations and there have even been reports of
jealously between the two -- something denied by both players. "My
relationship with Ronaldo is the best possible," said Rivaldo. "There
are no problems," he emphasized. "I have an excellent relationship with
other members of the team including Ronaldo and [team captain] Dunga."
Ronaldo set up Bebeto's equalizer by threading the ball through the Danish
defense in the 10th minute and it was from another cunning ball that
Rivaldo put Brazil 2-1 ahead midway through the second half. After
Denmark had equalized at the start of the second half, Rivaldo then settled
the match, picking up the ball in the Danish half, advancing on the Danish
penalty area and then beating Peter Schmeichel with a low drive from 25
"The second goal was a great pass by Ronaldo," Rivaldo recognized.
Ronaldo, asked about his unexpected role as provider instead of
goalscorer, replied: "It's part of the game. I saw Bebeto and Rivaldo
making good runs and I was fortunate enough to get the pass right and set
up the goals."
Rivaldo had come into the competition under something of a cloud, having
been stuck with a reputation for failing to perform wearing the famous gold
shirt of the four-times world champions.
He had been labeled as greedy in some quarters -- a tag he rejected the
day before the game -- and was out in the cold for a year after being made
the scapegoat for Brazil's failure to win the gold medal at the Atlanta
Olympics in 1996.
Excellent performances for Barcelona in the Spanish championship, plus a
rather fruitless search by coach Mario Zagallo for a midfield playmaker,
led to another chance in mid 1997, after he had been overlooked for the
Wearing the number 10 shirt, once worn by Pele, adds to the pressure.
But Rivaldo has shrugged off the problems, showing a strength of character
that some doubted he possessed.
Copyright 2003 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.