£4m-a-year Rivaldo's new Barcelona deal

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The Independent Football

The World Footballer of the Year, Rivaldo, has agreed a new deal to stay with Barcelona which will make him one of the highest-paid players in the world. The Brazilian international has more than doubled his salary, with his new contract going from £1.65m a year to £4m.

The World Footballer of the Year, Rivaldo, has agreed a new deal to stay with Barcelona which will make him one of the highest-paid players in the world. The Brazilian international has more than doubled his salary, with his new contract going from £1.65m a year to £4m.

The deal was struck last night with Barça's new president, Joan Gaspart, despite renewed efforts by Milan to recruit the 28-year-old player.

Gaspart, who took over as Barcelona president last month, pledged during his election campaign that he would keep Rivaldo at the Nou Camp. Following the transfer of Luis Figo to Real Madrid in a world-record £37.2m deal, Gaspart wanted at all costs to avoid the departure of another of the club's best players.

The Croatian striker Alen Boksic was on Teesside last night as Middlesbrough looked to tie up their third transfer in a week. The 30-year-old Lazio player flew in to discuss terms and undergo a medical, with a view to a £2.5m move. The Boro manager, Bryan Robson, is keen to add the experienced striker to his squad after signing Noel Whelan and Joseph-Desiré Job for a combined total of £5m this week.

The former Middlesbrough midfielder Juninho has returned home to Brazil on a year's loan with Vasco da Gama. The 27-year-old, still an Atletico Madrid player, chose to go home after Boro refused to meet the asking price to make his loan deal permanent.

Steve Archibald, the Airdrie manager and owner, has made an audacious move to bring the former European Player of the Year Hristo Stoichkov to the Scottish First Division club. Archibald played with the former Bulgaria striker at Barcelona and now wants him to be the main attraction at his new club.

Stoichkov, 34 yesterday, is playing in America with Chicago Fire, but talks have been held about him joining Airdrie.

Coventry City signed the midfielder David Thompson from Liverpool yesterday for a reported £2.5m. City, who last week sold Robbie Keane toInternazionale for £13m, have agreed a four-year deal.

Liverpool's German defender Markus Babbel announced his temporary international retirement so he can devote more time to his club. The 28 year-old will not play in his country's 2002 World Cup campaign.

Everton are planning talks with Maccabi Petach-Tikva later this week as they try to sign the Israeli international Idan Tal. The 24-year-old winger recently spent a week at Everton's training camp in Tuscany.

Leeds United's England goalkeeper Nigel Martyn has signed a two-year extension to his contract.

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