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Rivaldo quits Cruzeiro over firing

Rivaldo has quit Cruzeiro in support of sacked coach Luxemburgo
Rivaldo has quit Cruzeiro in support of sacked coach Luxemburgo

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RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (Reuters) -- World Cup winner Rivaldo has walked out on Cruzeiro after less than two months at the club in solidarity with sacked coach Vanderley Luxemburgo.

"I took the decision overnight," the Brazilian told media. "I haven't got (another) club, nothing like that. At the moment, I'm being faithful to the coach who brought me here."

Rivaldo failed to settle at the Brazilian champions, who he joined after spending most of the previous 18 months warming the substitutes' bench at Italy's AC Milan.

He played only 10 competitive games for Cruzeiro, who have made an indifferent start to the season, and scored only two goals, both in last weekend's 7-1 win over Mamore.

Cruzeiro spokesman Valdir Barbosa said the club had accepted Rivaldo's decision even though he had signed a one-year contract when he joined on January 5.

The episode raises doubts about the future of the 31-year-old former Barcelona, PSV Eindhoven and Deportivo Coruna forward.

He has barely played club football since helping Brazil win the World Cup in 2002, joining Milan immediately after the tournament.

Rivaldo also stands to lose his place in the Brazil team, which he has kept until now despite his lack of club football.

Luxemburgo, Rivaldo's mentor earlier in his career, was fired on Friday, barely three months after leading the Belo Horizonte-based club to their first Brazilian championship.

The controversial former Brazil coach, who had been in charge since mid-2002, offered his resignation on Friday morning.

He changed his mind in the afternoon but was fired when the directors refused to allow him to reconsider.

Rivaldo played under Luxemburgo at Palmeiras in the mid-1990s and in the Brazil team that won the Copa America in 1999.

"I didn't sleep well after Luxemburgo's sacking. When he left, I preferred to leave as well," said Rivaldo. "It was my decision because I consider Luxemburgo to be a special person."

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