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Exactly 21 years ago today, Rivaldo scored a hat-trick of the highest quality for Barcelona against Valencia.
Barca edged it out in a five-goal thriller that turned out to be the Rivaldo show at the Nou Camp, 1999 Ballon d'Or winner churning in perhaps the greatest trio of goals ever seen.
His first strike came just three minutes into the game. Around 30-yards out, Rivaldo curled in a stunning free-kick that clipped in off the post - Santiago Canizares having absolutely no chance in goal.
Ruben Baraja equalised for Valencia in the 25th minute but then Rivaldo did his thing again. He put Barca back ahead on the stroke of half-time with a low driven effort from the same distance.
⏪ 20 years ago today Rivaldo scored one of the most breathtaking hat-tricks in football history to snatch @FCBarcelona a 3-2 win over Valencia and a @ChampionsLeague place at their opponents' expense 💙❤️#ThrowbackThursday | @RIVALDOOFICIAL pic.twitter.com/XfYaT78caF— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) June 17, 2021
20 years ago today, Rivaldo scored arguably the greatest hat-trick in La Liga history.pic.twitter.com/ppLbBZgAkz— The Blizzard (@blzzrd) June 17, 2021
Baraja would go on to bag his second to level matters again straight after half-time and that meant Rivaldo needed to come up with another piece of magic.
It arrived in the 88th minute. Rivaldo received the ball on his chest from a Frank De Boer lofted pass.
In one swift motion, Rivaldo produced the most outrageous bicycle kick from outside the box - his acrobatic effort nestling into the corner.
The stadium erupted and Rivaldo removed his shirt in celebration after completing one of the best hat-tricks you'll ever see.
Rivaldo was a marvellous player who won the Champions League and World Cup, conjuring up brilliance on the big stage.
But he was more than happy to admit that his masterclass against Valencia was one of his best ever displays.
"In the moment that De Boer passed the ball, I was aware that I was a good distance away from the goal, so I knew that when I struck the ball it would have to be very hard," Rivaldo reflected during an interview with The Independent.
"And, as soon as I touched the ball to control it, I knew that the shot was going to be nice and on target.
"I had other great matches and scored some important goals - like in the World Cups - but this was a special game. Not only for my overhead kick, but also because of the repercussions it had around the world."
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