Rivaldo Exclusive: It’s great to see Manchester United back at the top

Manchester United are now top of the table on Premier League after many bad seasons as a consequence of Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement, and the team seems to be regrouping and trying to become a title contender once again.

Now, they’ll defend their lead at Anfield against Liverpool on Sunday and despite all matches in the Premier League being tough, this will be a major test for them that might confirm how strong they are currently.

With a nice squad and playing better and better, of course a win at Anfield would be special and very important to galvanise Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team. The fact the Red Devils are about to visit Anfield without any fans could also be beneficial as it would be a totally different task facing Liverpool in a completely full stadium at the home of the champions.

But it’s still too early in the season and there are many clubs ready to fight for the title. Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham are serious contenders that won’t give any presents to Man United.

A match to enjoy all over the world

This will be a match followed all over the world since we’ll have two traditional teams in England competing at the top of the table in a very important Premier League clash.

As a Brazilian, and with some fellow compatriots on both sides, I won’t support any team in particular, but will definitely enjoy watching such a great match.

In my opinion, the visitors might have a slight edge due to the absence of fans, so, let’s wait and see if Man Utd’s good form will allow them to earn at least a point against Liverpool in Anfield.

Spanish Supercup success might be important for Barca confidence

Barcelona can claim the Supercup trophy this Sunday when they face Athletic Bilbao and this means that Real Madrid opened the door for an important cup success that might galvanise the team into the rest of the campaign.

At the moment Barca are using a lot of young players regularly it would be great to present them with their first taste of success to put give them even more confidence going forward.

Actually, a title on Sunday could have a positive effect in other competitions like La Liga and Champions League, after all with a title in their pockets of course that players will become more self-confident.

Keeping to Barcelona tradition and the quality of their players they are favourite to win this final and they have a good chance here to lift a trophy and accelerate in the season.

Ter Stegen is the best keeper I’ve seen playing for Barcelona

The German Marc-André ter Stegen was once again decisive for Barcelona in the semi-final against Real Sociedad with some brilliant saves and two penalties stopped in the shoot-out.

It’s tough to find any more adjectives to classify his qualities because he is not only a great keeper inside the goal, but also very solid with his feet which make him one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment.

Personally, I can’t remember any better goalkeeper than him at Barcelona.

Even in my times there – and I played with some nice goalies – I have not seen better. Many argue that Victor Valdés was also very good, and I saw his first steps at the club. Despite his similar style, especially when Pep Guardiola was around, I still think the German is better.

Of course, we always tend to appreciate more the player currently active, and Valdés was actually a very solid keeper that won many titles with the club.

Dembélé is excellent when focussed

I already commented sometimes that Ousmane Dembélé is an excellent player with great skills, so he simply needs to stop getting distracted and focus on football and Barcelona.

He played a good match against Sociedad, has the resources to make the difference regularly and could even benefit from a potential Lionel Messi exit this summer to finally firm his name as a star of the team.

He has brilliant football resources, can play with both feet, and has great personality, so, he just needs to concentrate and impress everybody.

De Jong can improve his game by advancing on the pitch

Frenkie de Jong scored Barca’s goal in the Supercup semi-final and it seems that he can play better as an offensive midfielder, anyway, while Messi is still around, he would probably play few times in such position.

But this are good news for Ronald Koeman who might think about this option going forward as De Jong seems to have a good capacity to get in the box and score goals.


He already proved to have qualities but is yet to solidify his performances on a regular basis, so, we just have to wait for him to become more consistent and confirm the good signs of this match in the near future.

It’s always risky to use so many young talents

Koeman is receiving many plaudits for his courage in playing with so many youngsters in the club, but as I used to say, it’s crucial to don’t put too much responsibility on them.

At the moment, the team is winning, and things get easier but when the victories stop coming many youngsters may feel the pressure and fail.

Anyway, I think Koeman is managing that well by mixing young with experienced players such as Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets or Lionel Messi, so, we must respect and congratulate the work that the Dutch coach is producing.

On the opposite, Zinedine Zidane is not continuing his approach of using youngsters like Valverde, Rodrygo or Vinicius.

We don’t know exactly what’s behind such decisiosn, but I don’t believe that in Vinicius’ case, it is because of a supposed distraction from the Brazilian on a coach chat before a game.

In a case like that, the manager should talk with the player and try to alert him to a bad attitude – perhaps fining him as punishment – but never harm the team and himself by not using a useful player that could be pivotal in some matches.

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