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   June 5, 2002 | 1650 IST



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Rivaldo says cunning is fine

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Brian Homewood

Brazilian ace Rivaldo, reacting to his 10,000 Swiss franc ($6,390) fine for play-acting, said cunning was one of a footballer's skills while team mate Roberto Carlos said the incident had been blown out of all proportion.

"I'm not going to comment very much because it is something that is now in the past. It's now time to think about the next game," Rivaldo told reporters.

"This isn't going to be the first of these incidents that are going to happen and let's see if the next ones get punished.

"Football is a game and people have to be cunning."

Turkey midfielder Hakan Unsal was sent off after kicking the ball at Rivaldo as he waited to take a corner in Ulsan, South Korea, at the end of Monday's group C match, won 2-1 by Brazil.

Although the ball hit Rivaldo in the legs, he collapsed dramatically to the ground clutching his face in apparent agony.

Asked whether he thought his actions had been worth the trouble they caused, the former world player of the year said: "It depends, it's part of the game."

"People have forgotten about the 90 previous minutes about what I did in the game, what the Brazilian team did in the game," said the player, who is often accused of saving his best for his Spanish club Barcelona.

"People have forgotten all of this because of one incident which is common in football."

Rivaldo, who scored from the penalty spot late in the game, said clutching his face was a natural reaction.

"When you get kicked on the ankle, sometimes you put your hands on your face because you are feeling pain, people don't recognise this."


"I think he (Hakan) should have been sent off whether I covered my face or not. It was a very violent attitude on the part of the Turkish player."

"People are talking about what I did and not about the player who whacked the ball straight at me."

Full-back Roberto Carlos said that controversy had arisen because Rivaldo was famous.

"He's still the best player in the world so anything he does is going to cause controversy in the whole world," said the Real Madrid player.

He added that gamesmanship would not go away.

"It's a punch here, or you give the guy a little push without the referee seeing, Rivaldo's was the same thing. Not much is going to change in football, this is going to keep happening."

Striker Denilson said that worse offences went unpunished.

"Worse things happen in a game, such as a violent tackle which could cause a serious problem, and nothing is done.

"It's a complicated situation. Similar things happen all over the world, in the German championship, the Italian championship, the Spanish championship, let's see if FIFA punishes them as well."

The world governing body FIFA said the World Cup disciplinary committee had studied a video of Rivaldo's theatrics and decided he had been guilty of simulation. Rivaldo will also have to pay 1,500 francs in costs.

Brazil play China on Saturday.

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