With various top clubs and his country, Rivaldo won practically everything there was to win in the game during his incredible career. As well as reaching two World Cup finals – winning once in 2002 – he was named FIFA World Player of the Year in 1999, and won the Champions League in 2003.
So there are arguably few men more qualified to select an XI made up of the names that shined while playing in Europe’s premier club competition. And his amazing team have collected a staggering 25 medals between them, with only one player included that failed to lift the trophy.
Here is the full XI, as reported in the Daily Mail:
As well as being teammates for Brazil on several occasions down the years, including the World Cup win in 2002, the pair were both at AC Milan when they lifted the Champions League trophy at Old Trafford in 2003. The stopper made himself a hero in the final, saving three of Juventus’ five penalties during the shootout. He would not be so lucky two years later as the Italian giants were the victims of Liverpool’s sensational comeback in Istanbul – with Dida initially saving Xabi Alonso’s penalty during the game – but he would lift the trophy for a second time in 2007 as Milan got their revenge on the Premier League side.
The Brazil man joined Rivaldo’s AC Milan just after they clinched the Champions League in Manchester in 2003, but the full-back – who would also play against Liverpool in 2005 – would finally win the prize to add to his bursting collection that includes two World Cup winner’s medals, when the Rossoneri overcame the Reds two years later in Athens.
CB- Carles Puyol
The former Spain international would play alongside Rivaldo when the Brazilian was arguably at the absolute peak of his powers around the Millennium. And while the playmaker would be long gone before we saw the best of the Catalan side, Puyol would retain his place at the heart of their defence right through their glory years under firstly Frank Rijkaard, and then Pep Guardiola. He would lift the Champion League three times in five years. Interestingly, every time it was an English side that had to collect the loser’s medals, with Arsenal and Manchester United twice being unable to cope with Barcelona’s supremacy.
CB- Paolo Maldini
No player in this formidable side can boast more success in the Champions League than the Italian legend. He appeared in a record eight finals, and won the tournament five times across three different decades, highlighting his awe-inspiring longevity. It was around the time of his penultimate win that he played alongside Rivaldo for the Serie A side. And while he would finish on the losing side in 2005, he did manage to score one of the quickest goals the competition has ever seen in the final.
LB- Roberto Carlos
Although they never played together in the competition itself, Rivaldo and Roberto Carlos had briefly been teammates for Palmeiras before their European careers had begun, and they enjoyed plenty of success for their national side together. Carlos arguably reinvented the full-back position with his darting runs down the line, and amazing free-kicks that could make even the very best goalkeepers look foolish, just ask Fabian Barthez. He became one of the original Galatico’s at the Bernabeu, and would go on to win three Champions League titles. He also got the assist for what is widely considered the greatest goal in the competition when Zinedine Zidane volleyed home the winner in 2002.
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