Brazil's Roberto Rivelino

011. Roberto Rivelino

Born in Sao Paulo, Roberto Rivelino made his name famous world wide with his viscous cannon-like free-kicks, long range shooting and dribbling skills. One particularly famous move of his, called the elastic dribble, is still imitated today. It consists of running your foot over the top of the ball, making it appear before going in another direction. He scored many times with this move often leaving his opponents open-mouthed and wrong footed in his wake.

Rivelino was 24 at the time of the World Cup in Mexico. The Brazilian winning team of 1970 is regarded by many as the best soccer team ever and it displayed some of the finest soccer ever seen with Rivelino as one of the best players. He scored three great goals including a trademark thunderous free-kick against Czechoslovakia in their first match. Four years later in West Germany, the Brazilians lacked the flair of 1970, and failed to shine thus had to settle for fourth place. Rivelino was one of few Brazilians to play up to the required level. In 1978, he was kept on the bench for most of the time. Young players like Zico waited in line to take over from the man with the moustache. Rivelino was approaching the end of his great career, but showed in a few flashes what he was capable of doing. He was instrumental when Brazil came from behind to beat Italy in the bronze match.

Rivelino was one of the greatest offensive midfielders in the world in his prime and spent most of his career in Corinthians. However, despite staying there for ten seasons, Rivelino failed to win the domestic Sao Paulo championship. His fans appreciated his loyalty and nicknamed him Reizinho do Parque (Little King of the Park). He had a three year spell with Fluminense before going to El Helal in Saudi Arabia towards the end to make some extra money. He retired in 1981 and is today a respected TV commentator in Brazil.

Legendary Football Players: Roberto Rivelino

Brazil's Roberto Rivelino
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