Rivaldo: If they don’t want me, I’m off


BARCELONA, Spain, AFP

Barcelona’s world player of the year Rivaldo has hit back at pressure from his club and their fans by offering to tear up his lucrative new contract and walk out the door, Spanish sports daily Marca reported on its web-site on Sunday. Rivaldo aired his differences with Barcelona after being forced to train alone after his trip back from Brazil in spite of the fact that Barcelona had asked the Brazil national side to excuse him on account of his injury. The player, who misses Sunday night’s world cup qualifier against Venezuela, has become increasingly alienated from the Catalan club since being labelled as greedy after negotiating a pay rise in the close season. “The situation is uncomfortable for everyone,” Rivaldo said. “If they don’t want me in the team, it’s better if I go,” he exclaimed, adding that he was ready to renounce his contract and all the financial benefits contained in it. “Since I got the improved contract I’ve been under pressure and the fans demand too much, if they don’t want me I’d prefer to know, give up everything and go back to my family in Brazil. I’m sure that they at least would be happy to have me,” he complained.

Joan Gaspart the Barcelona president was swift to reply to Rivaldo’s outburst and gave an optimistic assesment to the affair. “These declarations are very positive, they show that the love of the fans is more important to him than money. He’s a very sensitive player, I’m sure though that he’ll give the fans many more glorious afternoons,” explained Gaspart. Rivaldo’s team mate Gerard, darling of the Barcelona fans since returning to his home town from Valencia in July, told Marca how important he felt the Brazilian was to the side. “We ought to be spoiling him, he’s one of the best player’s in the world and he’s in our team!” he said before adding, perhaps in reference to Rivaldo’s relations to Barcelona coach Lorenzo Serra Ferrer that the Brazilian got on well with everyone in the squad.