In this week's exclusive, Rivaldo discusses the different fortunes between Brazil's top two goalkeepers, France Football's disrespect to Barcelona, and Ronald Koeman's rotation policy...
"In terms of the Brazilian national team, I don't believe that this form will make Tite change his preference for Alisson in the starting 11, anyway, it's always nice to have such good options like Ederson to pick when necessary."
Liverpool's goalkeeper had a bad day against Manchester City, making errors for two of City's goals in that match, but I don't think that Reds fans will blame or criticise him excessively, after all he have been very reliable and sometimes a saviour for many years.
Additionally, Liverpool are not in a good place with obvious defensive problems and that exposes Alisson a bit more. When you have to intervene more times during a match there are bigger chances of committing mistakes.
Ederson is on the Bright side
It's Alisson's compatriot and rival on the Brazilian national team, Ederson, who is enjoying a great moment with Manchester City flying in Premier League thanks to 10 successive wins and going clear at the top of the table.
Ederson is strongly contributing for as he has only conceded three times in the last 15 matches. Pep Guardiola's team have drastically improved defensively, while Liverpool is going through the opposite.
The spanish coach praised the Brazilian goalkeeper, especially for his feet qualities, and even joked about it by mentioning that if his team continues missing so many penalties then he might consider picking Ederson to take them. Yes, I suppose it was just a joke because City have great players in attack, but it was a way to praise the Brazilian.
In terms of the Brazilian national team, I don't believe that this form will make Tite change his preference for Alisson in the starting 11, anyway, it's always nice to have such good options like Ederson to pick when necessary.
Not cool to put Messi wearing a PSG shirt before facing Barcelona in Champions League
The respected French magazine France Football decided to promote its new cover showing Lionel Messi wearing a PSG shirt, and I think that's very incorrect and disrespectful to Barcelona, especially one week away from a huge clash between the two sides in the Champions League.
But this is also disrespectful to Messi since he can be harmed by it, after all if the Spanish club loses the tie to PSG many fans or press could argue that he wasn't fully committed to the team, also adding that the pressure on his shoulders will be gigantic.
We can see it as a provocation from the French magazine and it seems a clear mistake from them as they are a worldwide respected magazine, and I don't think they can gain anything from this.
We don't know if there are any contacts between Messi and PSG, but even if that's true, I believe Messi will always respect Barcelona and play 100% in every match while he is still under contract with the club, so, it was an action that I don't agree with from the magazine.
But it's part of football...
Of course, we all know how sports press works and this is not new in football. Barcelona were recently involved in polemic transfers with Antoine Griezmann and Atletico Madrid or Martin Braitwhaite and Leganes, and these types of rumours will keep happening, but what makes me angrier is the timing.
There will be a massive clash in a week between the two teams involved in parts of the rumour, so all of them will have tonnes of pressure on their shoulders.
France Football didn't deliver Ballon D'Or in 2020 because of COVID-19 and perhaps they tried to get back some attention with this, but as a very reputed magazine I honestly think it was not necessary in such a key moment.
Koeman is being smart on squad rotation
We might say that Barca's manager Ronald Koeman took some risks in La Liga's last match by using a rotated starting 11, but the team won that match and some important players were allowed to rest to be fresher in important matches ahead.
When a manager recognises that he has about 18-19 quality players in his squad to use regularly, this is the best way to manage your resources. Barcelona will face Sevilla in the Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday, and in less than a week it will be time to face PSG in the Champions League, so, he was very smart in his decision and ended up being fortunate with a late winner.
Koeman capable of extract player's best
Frenkie De Jong was forced to play at centre back in the last match and he finished the match with 100% successful passes proving that Koeman was right in picking him as option for that position. The Dutch manager seems to be clever in tough and unpredictable situations correctly evaluating players capabilities in each moment.
Now, he has an extra option for centre back when needed which is always important.
Koeman's work was expected to be very difficult this season because the club is in a turbulent phase, but he is doing the best he can in his role and has to be congratulated for that.
Sevilla and PSG games more crucial than La Liga clash
After succesfully managing the squad, Koeman should go 100% to face Sevilla in a very difficult match against a club in excellent form that will work as a test before facing PSG a week later.
In between those two cup games they must face Alaves in La Liga, and I suppose Koeman will keep the same recipe of using a mixed starting 11 in the league as the focus will be in the two other competitions in the next few weeks.
Spanish press is being unfair to Zidane
Real Madrid's French manager is still under big pressure from the Spanish press in recent weeks, and it seems like Zinedine Zidane is getting tired of it as he doesn't deserve it.
He was Spanish champion last season with a nice recovery in the second half of the season, so, being so criticised when there are so many matches to play looks a bit harsh.
Furthermore, he has three Champions League titles on his CV, and no one can ignore that. Honestly, I wouldn't be surprised if he ends up the season by claiming at least one title and then leaving the club on a high.
Sergio Ramos with time to decide his future
Sergio Ramos will be out of action for at least two months due to knee surgery and that will give him extra time to reflect about his decision of renewing his contract with Real Madrid or leaving at the end of season.
He is in one of the biggest clubs in the world and has a lot of affection from the fans, but he must ponder all the factors. Despite being happy at Madrid, perhaps he is preparing a new adventure somewhere else looking for a new challenge. Anyway, these days away from the pitch will help him with his final decision.