Rivaldo once claimed Emile Heskey could have played in Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning team


Brazil's 2002 World Cup winning team was full of absolute icons. 

A 22-year-old Ronaldinho lit up the tournament alongside the likes of Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Cafu and Rivaldo. 

En-route to lifting the trophy, Selecao beat England in the quarter-finals, thanks to goals from Rivaldo and Ronaldinho. 

The fixture saw a real clash in football styles as the Three Lions 'Golden Generation' went up against Brazil's Samba stars. 

There were plenty of famous names in England's squad, with the likes of David Beckham, Michael Owen and Paul Scholes all featuring.

But many forget about another member of the team - Emile Heskey.

The former Liverpool striker became somewhat of a meme amongst younger football fans towards the end of his career, but on his day, he was up there with some of the best forwards in Europe. 

It turns out Rivaldo was also a big fan and once said Heskey was the only Englishman who could have cut it in Brazil's World Cup winning squad. 

Emile Heskey faced Rivaldo a few times

"Heskey may be heavily criticised by some English fans but I don’t see it like that," Rivaldo said in an interview back in 2002.

"I played against him a couple of times for Barcelona against Liverpool in the Champions League and realised what a quality player he is.

"I told the other players [in Brazil] how dangerous he was. I admire the way he attacks the Premiership. 

Rivaldo was a big fan of Heskey

"So when you ask me which Englishman I think would be able to cope with playing in my team, Brazil, I say Heskey." 

That's pretty high praise from a Brazilian legend. This week, Heskey did an interview with talkSPORT and revealed his reaction to that comment. 

"We played against Brazil in the 2002 World Cup and Rivaldo did a piece, who out of the England team would get in the Brazil side? He picked me… I was fine with that!" Heskey said. 

Brazil and England clashed in the World Cup

"I knew I could [fit into that Brazil team well], but I was ridiculed for it. 

"I played against Rivaldo for Liverpool against Barcelona. We drew away and beat them at home, so he has seen everything I brought to a team." 

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