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Life Reversal After World Cup

Posted December. 29, 2003 23:06,   


World famous footballers Thierry Henry, 26, and Rivaldo, 32, live changed lives after the World Cup.

A star player of France national team, Henry is famous for his tall stature and speed. He was named French Sportsman of 2003. Since he was left out when he was nominated for player of the year, because of Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid, this award was very sweet for him.

But Rivaldo, who is an attacking forward for the Brazilian national team, was nominated for the Wooden Ball, which is given to the worst player of Serie A league of Italia, by the Italian magazine Max. Their fortune has been reversed in only a year and a half.

In the 2002 Korea-Japan World Cup, Henry was kicked off the field because of his strong tackle at the match against Uruguay, providing a critical factor that led the French team, once the strongest team in the world, to be dropped out of the preliminary league, with two losses and one draw. He was also the target of the criticism, “Have you come here to play soccer or with your girl friend?”

But, the “Left Footed Magician” Rivaldo was the main actor to boost the Brazilian team on the fifth summit seat of the World Cup, controlling the triangular star players, “3R” (Rivaldo-Ronaldo-Ronaldingho) really well. Because of this fantastic performance, Rivaldo could join AC Milan with 215,000 euros, in July, 2002.

But, the memory of the World Cup became a medicine to one man and a poison to another.

Henry, who revived from the nightmare, has exerted great effort on the soccer field. He has scored 24 goals in 2002~2003 season in Arsenal of Premier League of England. He also has recorded 12 goals in this season, securing his seat at the upper part of the ranking. With these feats, he has played an active part in the soccer world recently.

He has also been induced by Chelsea to move in, at 50 million pounds transfer money. In 1999, he received 10 million pounds; his value has been inflated five times.

But Rivaldo kept on with his pride, stirring up conflicts with his head coach. He did not get many chances to show up in matches in the last season, scoring only five goals. But, in this season, he recorded nothing. He was put out of his team as a free agent player, and he has to look for a new team.

Still many teams in Spain and England are eager to receive him, but, once broken pride seems not easily recovered.

Jong-Koo Yang yjongk@donga.com