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Rivaldo named surprise England player as the only one would get into Brazil's World Cup-winning team

Rivaldo named surprise England player as the only one would get into Brazil's World Cup-winning team

Brazil legend Rivaldo was a huge fan of one of England's 2002 World Cup players.

Brazil legend Rivaldo surprised fans with his pick for the England player he would have taken in the Selecao national team.

The 1999 Ballon d'Or winner is one of the greatest Brazilians ever to play the game and was a key part of the side who won the World Cup in 2002.

It was the fifth triumph for Brazil, who had something of a dream team with stars like Ronaldo Nazario, Ronaldinho, Roberto Carlos, Cafu, Kaka and Dida.

Before they bested Turkey and Germany,, Brazil beat England in the quarter-finals but Rivaldo had a great admiration for one Three Lions star.

But instead of David Beckham, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard or Michael Owen, Rivaldo singled out striker Emile Heskey, who was with Liverpool at the time.

He told talkSPORT: "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."

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

When he was asked why Rivaldo gave him recognition, Heskey replied: "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."

Image: Getty
Image: Getty

In 2002, Rivaldo 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.

"I 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."

Heskey scored seven goals in 62 outings for England and also notched 110 times in the Premier League for multiple clubs.

Featured Image Credit: Getty

Topics: England, Rivaldo, Brazil, Football World Cup