VIDEO – Legendary goals: Rivaldo

Rivaldo (Recife, Brazil, 1972) was signed from Deportivo la Coruña at the start of the 1997-98 season as a direct replacement for his compatriot Ronaldo, who had left for Inter Milan after an exceptional year in Catalonia.

And Rivaldo was able to fill the role. A tall, sturdy player, he had the kind of abilities that had rarely been seen before, with tricky dribbling skills, a powerful shot and an amazing talent for converting free kicks and penalties, all off his left foot.

Rivaldo Profile

Azulgrana RoundUp, Week 14

Messi vs Cordoba / PHOTO: Miguel Ruiz - FCB
The Guardian’s Sid Lowe explains why FC Barcelona’s genius forward is the best player in the world and Sortsintelligence’s Nick Harris shares an interesting study on La Masia’s graduates

• Lionel Messi: 86 reasons why Barça’s record-breaker is simply the best

“At 25, Messi has already forced everyone to use up all the superlatives. There’s little left to do except make words up or just start swearing,” writes Sid Lowe in The Guardian. In his piece titled ‘Lionel Messi: 86 reasons why Barça’s record-breaker is simply the best,’ Lowe notes that “the records provide excuse and evidence but they also provide obligation. They are a reason, a duty, to focus on him once; excellence alone is no longer enough. But you’ll never really do him justice.”

He adds: “And for all the caveats, for all the “yeah, buts” there’s no getting away from the bottom line: 86 goals. Eighty-flipping-six. If it’s eighty-five, it’s still eighty-flipping-five. An average of a goal every 4.24 days for a year. And, yes, that includes the months when he didn’t play a match”

Read Lowe’s article in its entirety here.

• Revealed: Barcelona No1 for producing players for clubs in Europe’s elite leagues

According to Sportsintelligence, FC Barcelona have “produced more footballers currently earning a living as first-team players across Europe’s elite Big 5 divisions than any other club in the world.” The total number of professional active footballers produced by La Masia that currently play in top tier La Liga, Premiership, Calcio, Bundesliga and Ligue 1 teams are 38.

Nick Harris, author of the Sportsintelligence, piece notes: “Of Barcelona’s 38 players, 36 of them had Barça as their ‘primary producer’, or in other words Barca were the first club where they spent three or more years between 15 and 21. They include Lionel Messi, Andres Iniesta and Carles Puyol among others.

Fourteen of the 38 are still with Barca while 24 play elsewhere, including Chelsea’s Oriol Remeu, Liverpool’s Pepe Reina and Arsenal’s Mikel Arteta.”

Read Harris’ article in its entirety here.

Éric Abidal receives the Aldo Rovira award

Abidal, Rosell and the jury  PHOTO: MIGUEL RUIZ - FCB
The Frenchman was named the winner of the Aldo Rovira award, the award distinguishes the best Barça player of the previous season. The jury is made up of President Rosell and representatives of the Catalan press

“I want to say thank you. This is a great satisfaction and I am very grateful to those that picked me for the award. I have experienced difficult times, but I never stopped fighting … all of my teammates have helped me, as well as my family,” said Éric Abidal when he was given the Aldo Rovira award.

Leo Messi won the first two editions of the award.

The award ceremony was attended by Aldo Rovira’s father, Josep Lluís, who explained that the winner was selected by “unanimous decision” and that “from the very beginning, presidents Laporta and Rosell have given us their full support.” In addition, Josep Lluís went on to praise FC Barcelona’s manager, Tito Vilanova, who was also at the ceremony: “You’re breaking records. I find it difficult to remember games as good as the ones you play.”

Sandro Rosell explained what the award means to FC Barcelona: “For FC Barcelona it’s a great thing that this award is given out. Abidal represents what we want to be and the jury selected wisely.” The president of the Club went on to say that “this award united Aldo Rovira and Abidal … keep this trophy in an important place because it’s an award that represents a person that we all loved.”