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Rivaldo: If I’d joined Manchester United, I would’ve done just as well as Roberto Firmino at Liverpool

Roberto Firmino

However, the former Barcelona man thinks he could have done just as well as his compatriot in England. 

Firmino became the first player from Brazil to reach the half-century landmark when he hit the winner in a 3-0 win away to Burnley (opens in new tab) last weekend.

But 2002 World Cup winner Rivaldo, who was courted several times by Manchester United (opens in new tab) during his playing days, thinks he would have achieved just as much had he decided to head for the Premier League.

“Roberto Firmino has become the first Brazilian player to reach 50 goals in the Premier League and I must congratulate him for that achievement,” he told Betfair  (opens in new tab).

“He is a player of great personality, with a particular taste for scoring goals and also very clever in his movements near the opposite goal.

“He didn't play in the starting XI at the last World Cup but looks like he'll have a good chance of starring for his country in 2022 because he is a top forward.

“Perhaps if I had signed for Manchester United when I had the opportunity, I could have achieved something similar to what Firmino is doing at Liverpool (opens in new tab).

“Of course, it would depend on the time spent there. But I did shape my style from a creative player, who only assisted others, into someone who could also score regularly.

“In five seasons with Barcelona (opens in new tab) I scored 130 goals, so why couldn't I have scored 50 or so in England? I think it would have been possible after four or five seasons there.”

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Alasdair Mackenzie is a freelance journalist based in Rome, and a FourFourTwo contributor since 2015. When not pulling on the FFT shirt, he can be found at Reuters, The Times and the i. An Italophile since growing up on a diet of Football Italia on Channel 4, he now counts himself among thousands of fans sharing a passion for Ross County and Lazio.