Emile Heskey Recalls Rivaldo Saying That He Could Have Played In Brazil’s World Cup-Winning Team
Emile Heskey has insisted that Rivaldo said he could have played for Brazil's World Cup-winning team ahead of legends like David Beckham and Michael Owen.
Brazil swept aside England in the quarter-finals and beat Germany 2-0 in the 2002 final to lift their fifth historic World Cup title in Yokohama.
Speaking to talkSPORT, Heskey recalled his experience of playing against Brazil and said that Rivaldo picked him for the national team over other England stars from the so-called 'Golden Generation.'
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 Beckham, 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.
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"We drew away and beat them at home, so he has seen everything I brought to a team."
Former Barcelona player Rivaldo, 47, has praised Heskey in the past and suggested that he could have 'coped' in the Brazil national team.
"Heskey may be heavily criticised by some English fans but I don't see it like that," he told Liverpool's website in 2002.
"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 announced his retirement from international football in 2010 and would call it time on his club career after a stint at Bolton.
The former footballer has revealed his desire to enter into coaching, but he has been critical over the lack of BAME representation in the EFL and Premier League.
Rangers boss Steven Gerrard, who was targeted in Heskey's comments, responded to the former England international's claim about 'skin colour' helping him land his managerial position.
Featured Image Credit: PA