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Rivaldo returns in search of hapiness
January 09, 2004 16:48 IST
Rivaldo said he hopes his move to Cruzeiro would make him happy again after receiving a jubilant reception from fans before his official presentation by the Brazilian champions on Thursday.
Television pictures showed security attempting to open a path to allow the Brazilian World Cup winner through the crowd after he arrived at Belo Horizonte's Pampulha airport, where an estimated 250 fans greeted him.
The former World Player of the Year joined Cruzeiro on Monday a little over a month after being released by AC Milan, where he had been relegated to the reserve team.
The 31-year-old forward is returning to play in his homeland for the first time in seven years, during which he also played for Spanish clubs Deportivo Coruna and Barcelona.
At Cruzeiro's training ground, Rivaldo said he was confident he could put his career back on track after an unhappy 18 months in Italy.
"I want to be happy again, especially after what happened at Milan, which was a very difficult situation for me," he said.
Rivaldo, who kept his place in the Brazil team despite his problems in Italy, also said the move would benefit his future with the national side.
"Now I'm in Brazil, (Brazil coach Carlos Alberto) Parreira can follow my progress better," he said.
He praised Cruzeiro's facilities, saying they were comparable to the best clubs in Europe.
"Cruzeiro's installations are certainly not behind Barcelona or Milan," he told reporters. "I think they're slight better than Milan's, I'm greatly impressed.
"I'd never visited Cruzeiro before and I'm surprised to discover that we have this sort of thing in Brazil, not just abroad."
Rivaldo will lead Cruzeiro's challenge this year as they defend the Brazilian title and attempt to win the Libertadores Cup, the South American equivalent of the Champions League, for the third time.
"I wanted to play in the Libertadores -- it's a title I haven't conquered yet," he said. "The team has a lot of quality. I'm sure we can bring a lot of happiness to the fans."
Rivaldo has been reunited with Cruzeiro coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo, who was in charge of Rivaldo in the memorable Palmeiras team during the mid 1990s as well as the Brazil squad which won the 1999 Copa America.
"It's important to have the confidence of the coach," said Rivaldo. "He is making history in Brazilian football and I owe a lot to him. He's a great coach, he knows my capabilities and I know I won't have any problems with him."