Story By: Juan Mayes, Sub Editor: Joseph Golder, Agency: Golder’s News And Sport
Barcelona legend Rivaldo has suggested Lionel Messi could retire in the “next two or three years”
The comments came in an interview with Betfair who former Barcelona attacking midfielder Rivaldo, 47, is an ambassador for after Messi won his sixth Ballon d’Or – the most in history.
When speaking Messi’s possible retirement, Rivaldo says he has no doubt the Argentine “dreams of being crowned champion of the world and of Copa America with Argentina.
“To get it, he must keep playing at the top level at least until 2022 and depending on his success in those two competitions he will make a decision.”
“If he continues to consider himself an important player and winning titles he will not think about leaving but things may change in the next two or three years.
“If he loses speed or efficiency, he may consider leaving, he will not want to just be another piece of the club.”
When asked about the criticism Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo, 34, has received after he did not attend the Ballon d’Or gala Rivaldo said: “ It is nothing new and even Messi has missed a few ceremonies which he was not the winner. It is not disrespectful.”
Rivaldo went on to say: “Van Dijk is a great defender, but what makes football so beautiful are the goals, the dribbling, the brilliant moments of the attackers” as he reportedly thinks Ronaldo should have finished second ahead of the Dutch defender in the voting.
Rivaldo, who won the Ballon d’Or in 1999, went on to talk about the popularity the coveted award gained since his playing days saying: “The prize was not covered by media as much in those times.
“In my case, the guys from France Football went to Barcelona, gave me the prize. I did a presentation at the Nou Camp and that was it. Nothing like the gala of these recent years.”
Rivaldo played at Barcelona for five years helping them win La Liga twice making 236 appearances and scoring 133 goals, the fourth-highest goals scored by an individual in the club’s history.
He also won the 2002 FIFA World Cup alongside Ronaldo and Ronaldinho and made 74 total appearances for Brazil with 35 goals.
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