Features

The one that got away: Tottenham Hotspur and Rivaldo

This article forms part of our The Ones That Got Away feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern take a look back at players linked with moves in the past, and see how they would have made an impact had they signed for the interested side.

If there is one thing that Tottenham Hotspur have clearly been lacking over the years, it is silverware in their trophy cabinet.

It is pretty obvious that Mauricio Pochettino has managed to turn Spurs into a force within domestic competition (including last season’s Champions League) with the squad that he has managed to assemble with his mixture of youth and quality established professionals.

However, the lack of a title has been something that has deserted even those before the Argentine in the role, with Juande Ramos’ 2008 League Cup the last time they won a competition – the previous win was back in 1998/99 (TransferMarkt).

Glenn Hoddle was one such manager who did not have too much joy when in charge of his boyhood club, however he did try almost bring in a player with the skill and flair that Tottenham, perhaps, need in their ranks these days.

Tottenham tried to sign legendary Brazilian Rivaldo once he decided to leave Barcelona on a free transfer in 2002, although he subsequently opted to join Italian powerhouses AC Milan instead.

Hoddle revealed to the media after a match with Crystal Palace that they were ‘pipped’ to his signature at the final moments, with the wages being offered by Rossoneri, perhaps, a deciding factor.

“We were so close to getting Rivaldo,” he told the club’s official website at the time. “Milan pushed the boat out and pushed the money up to extortionate levels. Other than that we were pipped at the post – he was coming here.

“To be fair to the lad he showed a touch of class, I’ve never known it before, he sent a terrific letter explaining why he opted for Milan. I’ve never had that before from a player I’ve missed out on.

“It was a touch of class from him and his agent saying that he would have come but, in the end, Milan proved to be place where he felt it was right – whether it was financial or not. At the end of the day, really, they made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

Of course, Rivaldo had a brilliant reputation within the game, despite his terrible antics at that summer’s World Cup in South Korea and Japan, and was a highly-decorated individual who had gone on to win a number of titles and personal accolades including the 1999 Ballon d’Or (TransferMarkt).

Looking at his statistics for Barcelona, which is all Spurs would have been able to focus on at the time, the South American managed to fire home 133 goals and provide his team-mates with 41 assists in his 236 appearances – which he may have been able to transfer to the Premier League.

Something Hoddle also said later on in the interview appears to have an eerily resemblance to the modern-day as well: “It shows where we’re trying to aim for the club. There has been a lot of stuff written in the papers that you have to take on the chin I’m afraid – they should be talking about how well the England cricket team are playing at the moment.”

A case of a different season and the same story for Spurs seems to be at hand, as, although Tottenham have significantly improved, they still don’t have anything tangible to show for their efforts (i.e. silverware) and, perhaps, lacking another superstar name to help them reach those desired heights.

Tottenham fans, do you think Rivaldo would have helped the club reach their ambitions quicker than they have? Let us know your thoughts by sharing them in the comments below!

Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more notifications!
The one that got away: Tottenham Hotspur and Rivaldo
To Top