Barca release Rivaldo
By Peter O`Rourke
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
The 30-year-old's future at the Catalan giants has been the subject of intense speculation for the past few months since Louis van Gaal's return to the helm.
It has been reported that van Gaal and Rivaldo do not see eye to eye and the Dutch coach has made him aware he does not figure in his plans.
Barcelona revealed on a statement on their official website that they felt it was the best solution to the situation.
"Barcelona and Rivaldo announce that they have reached an agreement which ends the professional relationship that has been maintained over the last five years," read the statement.
"Both parties believe that this decision is in their mutual interest and want to express a satisfactory relationship has been maintained, as well as the good spirit in which the conversations have been carried out.
"Barcelona wants to recognise the contribution of Rivaldo and his professionalism throughout all these years at the club."
The decision by Barca to free Rivaldo means that they again be able to operate within the Spanish league-imposed limit of four non-EU players after Juan Roman Riquelme's arrival from Boca Juniors had brought the total to five.
The news of Rivaldo's availability may pave the way for Real Madrid to snap him up and add him to their illustrious line-up.
Real had earlier indicated that they were not chasing the Samba star, but that they could be interested in him if he was available on a free transfer.
A possible move to Santiago Bernabeu would infuriate Barcelona fans still incensed by the departure of Luis Figo to their arch-rivals two seasons ago and would again send shockwaves down the world of football.
Lazio have also been long-term admirers of the skilful forward but they have ruled themselves out of the race for the player.
Lazio sport director Oreste Cinquini revealed the club have no interest in signing Rivaldo.
"If Rivaldo has broken his contract with Barca, this is not Lazio's business," said Cinquini. "The fact that yesterday they signed Mendieta and today Rivaldo has been released from his contract is only a coincidence. I repeat: Lazio are not interested in Rivaldo."
Rivaldo, who spent five seasons at Camp Nou helping Barca to two La Liga title in his first two seasons, has also indicated that he could be interested in a possible return to Brazil with former club Palmeiras.