Remembering Rivaldo's legendary hat-trick for Barcelona vs Valencia in 2001

Rivaldo is one of Barcelona's greatest ever players

Back in 2001, Barcelona were a wilting superpower under new head coach Carles Rexach.

Far from the all-conquering entity we would go on to see under both Frank Rjikaard and Pep Guardiola, the Blaugrana were struggling to qualify for the Champions League in 2000/01.

They required a win against Valencia at the Camp Nou on the final day of the season and they were ever so close to blowing it before securing a 3-2 victory.

But there was one man in that team who was not going to let that happen; Rivaldo Vitor Barbosa Ferreira.

The Brazilian icon delivered one of the greatest individual performances ever, scoring a hat-trick so good that no treble since has come close to matching it.

So on Rivaldo's 48th birthday, we've decided to relive a snippet of footballing history which we may never see the like of again.

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Due to the sheer and utter ridiculousness of Rivaldo's gravity and distance-defying bicycle kick at the end of the game, his first two strikes are often forgotten.

But they were both absolute beauties. The first saw the World Cup-winning forward nonchalantly whip a free-kick past Santiago Canizares in the Valencia goal.

His second was a demonstration of pure power. Rivaldo picks the ball up some 30 yards from goal and after a short dribble, he lashes an absolute thunderb***ard into the net.

The third goal needs absolutely no introduction. With the Champions League on the line, Rivaldo casually delivers the perfect bicycle kick.

Rivaldo in action vs Valencia

To have the concentration to control the ball on his chest, leap in such a manner and make such a clean contact, it almost shouldn't be humanly possible.

After the game, Rivaldo said: "What happened tonight has been incredible. I dedicate the winning goal to all the players who have fought so hard all season and all the supporters who have suffered so much. I'm delighted to have made them happy with my goals."

Rivaldo would finish his Barcelona career with 133 goals and 44 assists in just 236 games in all competitions, cementing his status as a club legend.

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