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Roberto Rivelino

Personal information
Full nameRoberto Rivellino
Date of birth1 January 1946(age 70)
Place of birthSão Paulo, SP, Brazil
Playing positionAttacking Midfielder

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Roberto Rivellino (born 1 January 1946 in São Paulo) is a former Brazilian footballer.

The son of Italian immigrants from Macchiagodena (Isernia), he was famous for his large moustache, thunderous long-range free kicks, excellent long passes, quick thinking and distinct way of controlling the ball. He also invented a football move called the "flip flap", famously copied by Ronaldinho, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Cristiano Ronaldo in recent years. He is widely regarded as one of the most graceful football players ever, and among the best midfielders of his generation.

Rivellino started as a futsal player at Clube Atletico Barcelona. After that, he tried his luck with Barcelona's biggest rival in futsal, Corinthians, where he moved on to professional football and quickly became a favourite of the fans-and was therefore nicknamed "O Rei do Parque" (King of the Park) (after the club's home ground, Parque São Jorge). However, the late 60s and early 70s were one of the most troubled periods in the history of the club, which did not win a single São Paulo state league title from 1954 to 1977.

In 1974, after Corinthians was defeated by arch-rivals Palmeiras in the São Paulo league finals, Rivellino was singled out by most fans as one of the main responsible. He moved on to Rio de Janeiro, where he defended Fluminense until the end of the 70s. Rivellino was undoubtedly the greatest star in the excellent Fluminense of the mid 70s, dubbed "the tricolor machine", among Doval, Pintinho, Gil and Carlos Alberto Torres. He won the Rio de Janeiro league championship in 1975 and 1976. By the end of the decade, he moved on to play for Al-Hilal in Saudi Arabia; he retired from professional football in 1981.

Rivellino is one of the players who had more than 100 caps for the Brazilian national team. He was a starter in most games in the successful Brazilian campaign in the 1970 FIFA World Cup, scoring 3 goals, including the powerful free-kick against Czechoslovakia, which earned him the nickname "Patada Atómica" (Atomic Kick) by Mexican fans. Rivellino also played in the 1974 and 1978 FIFA World Cups, though with less success (4th and 3rd places respectively).

After his professional retirement, Rivellino started a career as a football commentator and coach (he has managed Shimizu S-Pulse in J. League).

Rivellino further represented Brazil in the 1989 edition of the World Cup of Masters, scoring in the final against Uruguay.

Rivellino was one of the players named by Pelé in 2004 as the 125 Greatest Living Footballers.

Rivellino is sometimes credited with scoring the fastest goal in football history when he supposedly scored a goal direct from the kick-off after noticing the opposition goalkeeper on his knees finishing off pre-match prayers.

Rivelino is the name of an amateur football team based in Fulham, London, UK, and who play in the Wimbledon and District League. Named after the South American footballer and playing in the yellow and blue of Brazil, Rivellino's club motto is to "live the dream".

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