The Selecao legend has opened up on his former team-mate’s stunning goal against the Three Lions at the 2002 World Cup
Rivaldo has revealed that Ronaldinho exploited David Seaman’s “tendency to take one or two steps forward at free kicks” in order to score Brazil’s famous winning goal against England in the World Cup quarter-finals in South Korea and Japan.
The Selecao overcame Sven-Goran Eriksson’s Three Lions on their way to winning the most coveted trophy in football for a record fifth time back in 2002, thanks to a moment of magic from Ronaldinho.
A trademark Michael Owen finish gave England an early lead in the contest, but Rivaldo levelled the scores right on half-time.
Brazil came out with a renewed sense of purpose in the second period, but took the lead in the most unorthodox of fashions, as Ronaldinho’s 35-yard free-kick from the right touchline sailed over the head of Seaman and into the far corner of the net.
Ronaldinho was sent off moments later for a dangerous tackle on Danny Mills, but Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men held on for a 2-1 victory to reach the last four of the tournament and inflict yet more heartbreak on England.
First choice goalkeeper Seaman was widely criticised for his positioning when Ronaldinho stepped up for the decisive moment of the match, with many believing that the former Barcelona star’s goal was nothing more than a mis-hit cross.
However, Rivaldo insists that his compatriot’s unique strike was completely intentional, and came as a result of studying Seaman’s movements in the lead up to the encounter.
“I remember well that match against England at World Cup 2002 in which we won 2-1,” the Brazilian legend told Betfair.
“Ronaldinho gave a brilliant performance that day, setting up an excellent play and assisting me for our first goal. My goal was important for us, as we managed to equalise right before half-time.
“Then at the second half, he scored that famous goal from way outside the box that surprised David Seaman and all the world, me included.
“I never thought he could try such strike, but it worked perfectly. After the match, he told me that he knew that Seaman had that tendency to take one or two steps forward at free kicks and so he tried to surprise him.
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“That match was particularly remarkable because Ronaldinho was sent off with half an hour to play and we had to fight hard to contain English pressure until the end.
“To score a goal from such a tough position, and with your right foot, is amazing because it would be more plausible for a lefty to do it.
“For Ronaldinho, though, there were no impossible tasks and it was a joy to watch him play and to share the pitch with him many times.”