Football: Rivaldo's goals deny Beckham

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The Independent Online
RIVALDO YESTERDAY claimed that he beat David Beckham in the contest to be crowned the European Footballer of the Year because "I score more goals than he does".

As predicted, the Manchester United and England midfielder, who was one of six members of United's treble-winning side to figure in the voting, came second in the voting behind the Brazilian. Beckham received 154 points - 65 fewer than Rivaldo - in the ballot for the Ballon d'Or, which is organised by the French magazine France Football.

Roy Keane was sixth with 36 points, Jaap Stam 11th with 13, United's former goalkeeper Peter Schmeichel 17th with six, Ryan Giggs joint 21st with three and Andy Cole equal 26th with one. The only other Premiership players to feature were Arsenal's Nwankwo Kanu, who was equal 23rd with two points, and Tottenham's David Ginola, who was joint 26th with one point.

The 27-year-old Rivaldo felt he deserved to win because, as he modestly put it, "I consider Rivaldo to be the best player". Of Beckham he said: "He was my great rival and a great player who would have deserved to win. He proved it by winning four titles with Manchester United. But the many goals I scored made the difference. Beckham has won all the major trophies this season and his passing is great, but he scores fewer goals than me."

Beckham's place in the poll could fuel the debate over whether he deserves an improved contract, but his father, Ted, said his son does not feel he is being underpaid. Beckham, who may miss the Boxing Day match against Bradford City because of injury, earns around pounds 30,000 less per week than his captain, Roy Keane, who is earning pounds 50,000. However, Ted said: "He's more than happy with Manchester United. Whatever Roy Keane gets is up to him and his agent who has got it for him."

Meanwhile, United are to hold contract talks with Teddy Sheringham and Denis Irwin in the new year.

EUROPEAN FOOTBALLER OF THE YEAR: THE FINAL LINE-UP

1 Rivaldo (Br/Barcelona) 219pts

2 David Beckham (Eng/Manchester Utd) 154

3 Andriy Shevchenko (Ukr/Dynamo Kiev/Milan) 64

4 Gabriel Batistuta (Arg/Fiorentina) 48

5 Luis Figo (Por/Barcelona) 38

6 Roy Keane (Rep of Irl/Manchester Utd) 36

7 Christian Vieri (It/Lazio/Internazionale) 33

8 Juan Sebastian Veron (Arg/Parma/Lazio) 30

9 Raul (Sp/Real Madrid) 27

10 Lothar Matthaus (Ger/Bayern Munich) 16

Selected others:

11 Jaap Stam (Neth/Manchester Utd) 13

17 Peter Schmeichel (Den/Manchester Utd/

Sporting Lisbon) 6

21 Ryan Giggs (Wal/Man Utd) 3

23 Nwankwo Kanu (Nigeria/Arsenal) 2

26 Andy Cole (Eng/Man Utd) 1

26 David Ginola (Fr/Tottenham) 1

PREVIOUS WINNERS

1980: Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (WG/Bayern Munich)

1981: Rummenigge

1982: Paolo Rossi (It/Juventus)

1983: Michel Platini (Fr/Juventus)

1984 & 1985: Platini

1986: Igor Belanov (USSR/Dynamo Kiev)

1987: Ruud Gullit (Neth/Milan)

1988: Marco van Basten (Neth/Milan)

1989: Van Basten

1990: Lothar Matthaus (WG/Internazionale)

1991: Jean-Pierre Papin (Fr/Marseilles)

1992: Van Basten

1993: Roberto Baggio (It/Juventus)

1994: Hristo Stoichkov (Bul/Barcelona)

1995: George Weah (Liberia/Milan)

1996: Matthias Sammer (Ger/Borussia Dortmund)

1997: Ronaldo (Br/Internazionale)

1998: Zinedine Zidane (Fr/Juventus)

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