FC Barcelona Legends: Rivaldo (1997 - 2002)

In the summer of 1997, FC Barcelona fans were terribly disappointed as we had just lost Ronaldo to Inter Milan due to a stupid disagreement over his contract renewal - Please note I'm talking about the TRUE Brazilian Ronaldo, not the current Real Madrid Portuguese Cristinita Ronalda diva!!!

What did former president Núñez do with the 24MILLeu (world record transfer fee at the time)? Buy RIVALDO for Deportivo La Coruña. For me, one of the best signings in Barça's history!!!

(Read more below, via Wikipedia)

In his first season at Barcelona, he was the second top goal scorer with 19 goals in 34 matches, as Barcelona won The Double of La Liga championship and Copa del Rey.

In 1999, he won another La Liga title with Barcelona, and once again was the league's second highest scorer with 24 goals. Individually, he won both the FIFA World Player of the Year and European Footballer of the Year awards.

In his third season in Barcelona, Rivaldo fell out with manager Louis van Gaal, when he insisted playing as a playmaker rather than on the left wing. Even though he had a strained relationship with van Gaal, Rivaldo went on to score 10 goals in the European UEFA Champions League tournament, as the club reached the semi-finals.Van Gaal was fired in June 2000.

In the following 2000–01 season, Rivaldo was once again the second highest goal scorer of the league with 23 goals. In the last game of the season, against Valencia, Rivaldo scored a hat-trick to win the game 3–2. His third goal was a bicycle kick from the edge of the area in the 90th minute of the game, and is regarded as one of his greatest goals ever in a combination of importance and skill.The win secured Barcelona a place in the following UEFA Champions League tournament. It was his season best with 36 goals.

Rivaldo scored a total of 130 goals during his 235 appearances for Barcelona.

FC Barcelona honours:

Spanish La Liga: 1998, 1999
Copa del Rey: 1998
UEFA Super Cup: 1997

Individual awards during his time at FC Barcelona:

FIFA World Player of the Year: 1999
European Footballer of the Year: 1999
World Soccer Player of the Year: 1999
Onze d'Or: 1999
Ballon d'Or: 1999
Copa América 1999 Top Scorer
Copa América 1999 MVP
Spanish League Footballer of the Year: 1999
UEFA Champions League Top Scorer: 2000
FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 1998, 2002