4 of the Best Moments of Rivelino’s Career

?Rivelino was a damn fine footballer. So darn good that his influence on modern football is arguably more profound today than it was back when Brazil lifted the World Cup in 1970.

Back then, he began setting the tone for how much flair someone could inject into a competitive 90 minutes of football without either looking like a fool, or, as we’ve seen recently, getting a ?telling off from the referee.

We love to see technique aplenty on the pitch. It excites and dazzles, lift spectators off their seats and prompt 15-minute ‘Best Goalz & Skillz‘ compilations on YouTube.

Rivelino was the trailblazer for such hysteria. However, what he did on the pitch was a meticulously crafted combination of both flair and precision, coupled with professionalism and integrity. 

He was one of the greatest ever, no doubt, and here we look at some of his most memorable moments along the way.


Giving the World the ‘Elastico

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Otherwise known as the ‘flip-flap’, this magnificent piece of skill is now treasured across the world. It’s notoriously difficult to perfect, and plenty of players have fallen victim to its technically demanding movement. When pulled off though, it looks stupendous. ?

Who did it best? Rivellino. Who made it what it is? That’s right, Rivelino. 

While this is not a ‘moment’ per se, it’s more like a collection of humiliating instances that left opposing players looking like utter fools after they’d just been nutmegged with a sublime piece of brilliance.

Rivelino pulled this off everywhere. Whether it be in his native Brazil for club sides Corinthians and Fluminense, or on the international stage with the Seleção, it was always a joy to behold.

Choosing one particular occasion where the ‘elastico’ was best is a job for no man. Instead, hit up your favourite internet streaming site and see for yourself.


1970 World Cup Title

Considered the greatest World Cup side ever – while by some deemed as the best footballing side in general – it was no surprise that Brazil’s golden generation would be rewarded for their excellence.

Rivelino was reinstated into the national side by new manager Mario Zagallo, who utilised him in a wider position than he was used to in order to inject flair down the flanks. Did it work? Yes. And some.

He scored three goals en route to lifting the trophy, including a thunderous free kick against Czechoslovakia in the opening game. However, it was his all round play and the fluidity of that Brazil side that caught the eye, with many claiming that team to be the most enjoyable side to watch in living memory.

A vast array of tricks and flicks won him plaudits all over the globe, and he quickly established himself as one of the most skilful players around with some outstanding displays in Mexico.


Free Kick Against Germany – 1974

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Sure, the 1974 and 1978 World Cups didn’t produce similar levels of success for the Seleção (fourth and third place finishes respectively), but Rivelino nevertheless continued to dazzle on the grandest stage of all.

He bagged three goals four years on from his 1970 heroics in Germany, with one of his finest strikes coming during a Group A battle with East Germany in at the Niedersachsenstadion in Hanover.

A six-man East German wall left Rivelino will little opportunity to score from a 25-yard free kick, so the Seleção had to come up with an alternative method of finding the back of the net. Captain Marinho Peres lined up alongside the defending players in roughly the middle of the goal, with Rivelino’s thunderous left foot tasked with doing the hard work.

Aiming for his captain, his shot was so fierce that Peres knew as long as he dodged the ball there would be an opening in the wall that his teammate could aim for. Struck with such venom, Peres just avoided the flight of the ball, presenting Rivelino with the most marginal of gaps from to squeeze the ball through. Needless to say, it worked to perfection, and as soon as Peres ducked to the floor, Jürgen Croy was powerless to prevent a memorable Brazilian goal.


Back-to-Back Campeonato Carioca Trophies


For all the praise Rivelino rightfully received for his time as a professional, silverware was rarely forthcoming. Granted, if you’re only going to win one title then the World Cup is hardly the worst of the bunch, but not enough domestic titles filled the Brazilian’s trophy cabinet to adequately match his talent.

Upon moving to Fluminense in 1975 he sought to add further gloss to his career, winning the Rio de Janeiro league championship in his debut season as well as the following year.

There he formed a formidable partnership with Doval, Pintinho, Gil and Carlos Alberto Torres, who together helped him banish his demons of never winning the domestic Sao Paulo championship despite a ten-year spell with former club Corinthians.

While his exploits in his native Brazil didn’t reverberate onto European shores, he remains a legend in South America for what he brought to his nation’s top flight.


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