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Emile Heskey Claims Rivaldo Said Could Have Played In Brazil’s World Cup-Winning Team

Josh Lawless

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| Last updated 

Emile Heskey Claims Rivaldo Said Could Have Played In Brazil’s World Cup-Winning Team

Featured Image Credit: Image: Alamy

Emile Heskey once claimed Rivaldo said he could have played for Brazil's World Cup-winning side in 2002.

The Selecao, with a whole host of stars including Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Kaka, went all the way at the tournament in Japan and South Korea and are seen as one of the greatest national sides in history.

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They beat England's 'Golden Generation' in the quarter finals, before overcoming Turkey and Germany on way to lifting the Jules Rimet trophy for the fifth time.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

A 24-year-old Heskey was in England's 23-man squad and speaking to talkSPORT, years later, he said Ballon d'Or winner Rivaldo picked him for the national team over other England players.

The ex-Leicester City and Liverpool striker explained: "We played against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup and Rivaldo did a piece, who out of the England team would get in the Brazil side?

"He picked me... I was fine with that! I knew I could [fit into that Brazil team well], but I was ridiculed for it."

When he was asked why the Brazilian legend named him ahead of David Beckham, Michael Owen, Paul Scholes and Rio Ferdinand, Heskey responded: "Because he played against me.

"I think it was all-round play I bring to a team, and he'd seen that.

"I played against him for Liverpool against Barcelona.

"We drew away and beat them at home, so he has seen everything I brought to a team."

Heskey played 62 times for England, scoring seven goals. He ended up becoming a bit of a meme later in his career but it seems Rivaldo was genuinely a fan.

Image: Alamy
Image: Alamy

In 2002, he told Liverpool's website that he felt Heskey was "dangerous" and that he "admired" the way he played.

"Heskey may be heavily criticised by some English fans but I don't see it like that," Rivaldo said.

played against him a couple of times for Barcelona against Liverpool in the Champions League and realised what a quality player he is.

"It wasn't long before I began thinking what weight of character and strength Heskey possessed.

"I told the other players [in Brazil] how dangerous he was. I admire the way he attacks the Premiership.

"So when you ask me which Englishman I think would be able to cope with playing in my team, Brazil, I say Heskey."

Topics: Rivaldo, Brazil, Football World Cup

Josh Lawless
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