The midfielder also tipped compatriot Neymar to become the best player in the world on sideline of Delhi Dynamos grassroots clinic.
Brazilian legend Rivaldo is in Delhi as the Chief Guest for the 2016 Subroto Cup closing ceremony and he gave his first impressions of Indian football when he met the press in the capital earlier today.
“I have heard a lot of things about Indian football from Zico, Elano, Lucio and the other Brazilians who came here. So my impression is positive,” he said
Speaking on the way forward for the game in the country Rivaldo said, “ There is only one way, hard work. India is a big country. So, we can find many good players. It is important for the foreigners who come here to teach something to the local players,“ he affirmed. Citing the example of Japan Rivaldo continued, “At the end of Zico’s career in Japan, they signed many foreigners. But, now they are on their own. They don’t need help. It is because they were dedicated. They worked very hard. Now, they make the World Cup every time. I hope this can happen in India too.”
In his five seasons with Spanish giants Barcelona Rivaldo won two league titles amongst other honours. When asked about the Catalans’ meteoric rise, the attacking midfielder said that the game had changed a lot and that the club had done remarkably well to establish themselves as a modern superpower in such a competitive era of football. “The skills that you see from the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are the same. But, today the physical and mental fitness required at the top level is much higher. You have to work hard during the week to be fit for the game at the weekend,” he asserted.
Rivaldo, who spoke on the sidelines of the Delhi Dynamos Soccer Schools’ Grassroots Initiative is still playing professional football back in his native and said he has to maintain his fitness more than ever as the young players look up to him.
The former Champions League winner with AC Milan was part of the Brazil team that won the FIFA World Cup in 2002 under Luiz Felipe Scolari. The veteran manager came in for some criticism after his side were dumped out of the completion in 2014 following a humiliating 1-7 defeat to Germany at home, but Rivaldo said it was unfair to single out the 67-year-old veteran boss. “It is not just one person. This is not tennis. You play football as a group. In 2002 Scolatri was an important part of the team and we were all champions. When we lose in 2014 everyone is responsible. Not just him.”
Asked if he would be opening to the idea of managing in the ISL Rivaldo said, “I will wait for the opportunity. I have played in Uzbekistan, Angola, Greece, so why not? This would be a new challenge for me and I would love it. If possible I would love to start with Delhi Dynamos,” he smiled cheekily.
The former Ballon d’Or winner also lavished high praise on compatriot and Barcelona star Neymar saying that he is destined to be a great. “He is already creating history with Barcelona. With the national team too he won the Olympic Gold and I am sure in the next few years he will be the best player in the world.”
Report by Ashish Negi .