Rivellino in 1974
|Full name||Roberto Rivellino|
|Date of birth||1 January 1946|
|Place of birth||São Paulo, SP, Brazil|
|Height||1.69 m (5 ft 6 1⁄2 in)|
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only|
Roberto Rivellino (also Rivelino, Brazilian Portuguese: [ʁoˈbɛʁtu ʁiveˈlĩnu]; Italian: [roˈbɛrto rivelˈlino]; born 1 January 1946) is a former Brazilian professional footballer. He was one of the stars of Brazil's 1970 FIFA World Cup winning team. Rivellino currently works as a pundit for Brazilian TV Cultura.
The son of Italian immigrants from Macchiagodena (Isernia), he was famous for his large moustache, bending free kicks, long range shooting, accurate long passing, vision, close ball control and dribbling skills. He also perfected a football move called the "flip flap", famously copied by Romário, Mágico González, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years. A former attacking midfielder, he is widely regarded as one of the most graceful football players ever, and among the best midfielders of his generation. With the close control, feints and ability with his left foot, Diego Maradona named Rivellino among his greatest inspirations growing up. In 2004, he was named by Pelé in the FIFA 100 list of the world's greatest living players.
Rivellino was born in São Paulo, and started as a futebol de salao player at Clube Atletico Barcelona. After that, he tried his luck with Barcelona's biggest rival, Corinthians, where he moved on to professional football and quickly became a favourite of the fans—and was therefore nicknamed "O Rei do Parque" (King of the Park) (after the club's home ground, Parque São Jorge). However, the late 60s and early 70s were one of the most troubled periods in the history of the club, which did not win a single São Paulo state league title between 1954 and 1977.
In 1974, after Corinthians was defeated by arch-rivals Palmeiras in the São Paulo league finals, as the star player Rivellino was singled out by most fans as one of the most responsible for not winning. He moved on to Rio de Janeiro, where he defended Fluminense until the end of the 1970s. Rivellino was undoubtedly the greatest star in the excellent Fluminense of the mid 70s, dubbed "the tricolor machine", among Doval, Pintinho, Gil and Carlos Alberto Torres. He won the Rio de Janeiro league championship in 1975 and 1976. By the end of the decade, he moved on to play for Al Hilal in Saudi Arabia; he retired from professional football in 1981.
Rivellino was a key member of Brazil's 1970 FIFA World Cup winning team, which is often cited as the greatest-ever World Cup team. Wearing the number 11 jersey, Rivellino was deployed on the left side of midfield and scored 3 goals, including the powerful bending free-kick against Czechoslovakia, which earned him the nickname "Patada Atómica" (Atomic Kick) by Mexican fans. Rivellino also played in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, finishing in fourth and third place respectively.
After his professional retirement, Rivellino started a career as a football commentator and coach (he has managed Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan's J. League). Rivellino further represented Brazil in the 1989 edition of the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the final against Uruguay. Rivellino is sometimes credited with scoring the fastest goal in football history when he supposedly scored a goal direct from the kick-off after noticing the opposition goalkeeper on his knees finishing off pre-match prayers.
Regarding the 2014 World Cup held in his country, Rivellino criticized the inclusion of the Amazonian city of Manaus with its stadium Arena da Amazônia in the hosting venues, saying "it’s absurd to play in Manaus. You start sweating the moment you leave the locker room".
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