Delhi: He is certainly not the first to say this but World Cup and Ballon d’Or winner Rivaldo too feels India should follow the ‘Japan model’ in order to improve the standard of football in the country.
Brazilian great Rivaldo, who is in the capital on a three-day tour, on Friday visited a football clinic for young kids organised by Indian Super league (ISL) outfit Delhi Dynamos as part of its grassroots programme.
“It is very important that big names coming from overseas teach the young players here. It’s important they see the big stars train, observe them carefully, listen and learn from them.
“When Zico (Brazilian legend) was in Japan towards the end of his international coaching career, they recruited a lot of foreign players but, at the same time, the Japanese were also very dedicated and hard working and those qualities helped them learn quickly.
“Now they don’t need any foreign players. They have inculcated Zico’s philosophy and methodology and they are going along, playing in the World Cups. I hope this happens in India also,” Rivaldo said.
Before legend Rivaldo another Brazilian former star Dunga, Uruguayan great Diego Forlan and Zico himself had asked India to follow the Japanese model.
The 44-year-old former Barcelona and AC Milan star, who could play as an attacking midfielder, second striker and also winger, hung up his boots in 2015 after a glorious career both with his clubs as well as the national team.
Though it sounds far-fetched, Rivaldo was open to the idea of coaching in the Indian Super League in future.
“I have played in Uzbekistan, Angola and Greece as I always loved a challenge. This will be a new challenge for me and why not. If I have this opportunity I will be in Delhi Dynamos (smiles).”
He along with Ronaldo and Ronaldinho completed the famous trio in the 2002 World Cup.
On the Indian Super league, he said: “I hope the championships would change to six and seven teams, good days await you I believe. Like, teams will be more professional. India is a big country and if you work in a proper way you will find good players here.”
Rivaldo felt Neymar can become the world’s best player in a year’s time.
“Football has changed a lot in general. I hope Neymar can one day become the best. He is already creating history in Barcelona and also with the national team, if you look at the Rio Olympics. I think by next year Neymar can become the world’s best player. Also, like Neymar, everyone in Brazil is born with a dream to play for the national team and excel, so it’s not like Neymar’s is a different case.”