Brazilian legend Rivaldo says he does not regret his actions during the 2002 World Cup finals that saw Turkey midfielder Hakan Ünsal sent off.
The 39-year-old former Barcelona, AC Milan and Olympiakos midfielder - currently in his final year as a player with Sao Paulo - infamously fell to the floor holding his face during the group stage encounter with Turkey in South Korea, despite the ball hitting him on the thigh.
Ünsal saw red as Brazil went on to claim their fifth World Cup crown, with Rivaldo scoring one of his five goals against England in the quarter-finals before playing in the 2-0 victory over Germany in the final.
His conduct against Turkey marred an otherwise spectacular career that included two Spanish league titles, a Champions League winners’ medal and the prestigious FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or prizes in 1999.
But while Rivaldo admits his actions were not “nice,” he insists that he
does not regret his actions, stating that Ünsal should have been given
his marching orders anyway, after unnecessarily kicking the ball at him.
“I wouldn’t do it again – it’s something that just happened – but boy, I really don’t regret it,” he says in an extensive One on One interview in the November 2011 issue of FourFourTwo, out now.
“I only faked it because the Turkish player kicked the ball at me. He shouldn’t have done that and he should have been sent off.
“I am not saying I did a nice thing, but he wanted to hurt me. In a World Cup, that is a fatal mistake.”
Read the full in-depth interview with Rivaldo in the November 2011 issue of FourFourTwo – a Manchester derby special.
It features exclusive interviews with Ashley Young, Sergio Aguero, Roberto Mancini, Nemanja Vidic, Micah Richards and Tom Cleverley. Plus, find out how Fernando Torres could have been a goalkeeper! Subscribe now!
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