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Rivaldo vs Valencia, 2001: Great Goals Retold

It’s a Sunday evening in June 2001, and Barcelona are seconds away from the unthinkable: failing to qualify for the Champions League.

Needing to beat Valencia, Barça are drawing 2-2 at the Nou Camp thanks to two goals from Rivaldo – a perfect free-kick and a shot from distance – when he receives Frank de Boer’s chipped pass with his back to goal on the edge of the penalty box.

Surrounded by defenders, he casually chests the ball high into the air and bicycle-kicks it quite spectacularly into the bottom corner. The home fans go wild, as does Barcelona president Joan Gaspart, who later has to apologise to his Valencia counterpart for over-celebrating.

Rivaldo’s magical goal had saved Barça’s season.

“Scoring the goal was incredible,” Rivaldo later explained through a broad grin as FourFourTwo asked him about the strike. “One: it was an amazing goal – an overhead kick. Two: it was in the last minute of the game with the score tied. Three: we qualified for the Champions League.

“I’ve scored a lot of good goals but that was the best one because of the importance. It’s not something I ever see happening again.”

This article was originally published in the December 2010 edition of FourFourTwo.

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