Brazil legend, Rivaldo, has had his say on the Champions League final, Neymar’s future, Sergio Aguero and Real Madrid and Jose Mourinho.
The 49-year-old believes that in spite of their financial power, Manchester City deserve a lot of credit for getting to the Champions League final.
He told Betfair: “To reach a Champions League final is special in the career of any player or manager and being able to do it with a club that’s there for the first time in its history is even more magical. So all Manchester City’s squad, management and staff deserve to be congratulated.
“Of course, when a club has as much money to invest as City their chances increase because they can gather a bunch of excellent players with one of the best managers in the world. But it’s never easy to reach a final and Guardiola took some time to achieve it with the Citizens.”
Man City booked their place in the showpiece with a 4-1 aggregate victory over PSG. Chelsea, on the other hand, got the better of Real Madrid.
Speaking about the final, Rivaldo said: “It will be a Champions League Final between two clubs that haven’t gone so far in recent years, so it’s tough to predict which will be stronger. But it will be interesting to watch a match between two teams that know each other well.
“We recently saw Chelsea beating Manchester City in their FA Cup semi-final and the teams will clash again this weekend on Premier League. For all this, I don’t think it’s fair to point out a favourite into this match.”
PSG’s failure to get into the Champions League final has left a number of question marks around the future of Neymar.
Rivaldo believes that whether the Brazilian stays or leaves, football fans will still get to watch him at a big club.
He said: “Failing to win the Champions League again – as well as potentially missing out in the Ligue 1 title race – could prompt some reflection at PSG.
“Neymar hasn’t renewed his contract yet and, if it doesn’t happen soon, the French club might feel the need to sell him to get some money back.
“Neymar has his future in his hands and should reflect on what’s best for his career. If he stays at PSG, he will continue fighting for important titles, but if he decides to leave he will sign for another big club. Only he and the club should know what’s best for both parties at the moment.
“It’s not easy to get so close to winning the Champions League in successive seasons without achieving it, but it will all depend on Neymar’s feelings at the moment and what he considers the best bet to pursue his own career goals.”
With Barcelona facing financial difficulties, a Neymar return to the Camp Nou seems some way away. Nevertheless, the signing of Sergio Aguero would certainly be a ‘magnificent’ one according to Rivaldo.
He said: “Rumours tell me that Barcelona are negotiating with Sergio Aguero to sign him when he leaves Man City at the end of season.
“He’s been magnificent at City and, at 32, I’m sure he will be ready to compete with Barcelona. He still has a lot of football to play and would be a great signing for Barcelona, especially coming for free at a moment when our club is having some issues for financial reasons.”
From one Spanish giant to another, Rivaldo believes that in-spite of missing out on the Champions League final, Real Madrid have enjoyed a strong campaign.
He said: “For a club like Real Madrid reaching the semi-finals won’t ever be good enough but I think the team has had a solid campaign and gone much further than many were expecting.
“Eden Hazard was criticised for sharing a friendly moment at the end of the semi-final with his former Chelsea team-mates. In a season in which he was out injured most of the time, it’s understandable that this annoyed fans. Hazard needs to focus on what he can do now to fix his image at Madrid.
“Meanwhile, Sergio Ramos’ future is still in doubt at Madrid. For me, it’s simple: if he was interested in continuing at the club, he would already have extended his contract. I think he’s seriously consider a new challenge and a big contract elsewhere before ending his career.”
A news-heavy week in football was topped off with Jose Mourinho securing himself a new job next season. The former Spurs boss is Roma-bound and Rivaldo doesn’t think that the move is a step-down for the manager.
He said: “Jose Mourinho is returning to Italy where he succeeded with Inter Milan winning many titles including the Champions League.
“Roma are a big club that wants to get back to winning titles and I don’t think for a moment that the job means Mourinho is taking a step back in his career.
“Roma won’t be playing on Champions League next season but that doesn’t means Mourinho won’t produce a great work there and who knows put them back in the Scudetto title fight next season.”