Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
He was nicknamed The Golden Boy of Italian football. He is the product of Alessandria's youth soccer academy. He debuted in Serie A for Alessandria against Internazionale. That was on June 2, 1959; he was only 15 years old. He only played for his first club 26 matches in which he scored six goals. After one year, he was bought by AC Milan with a record transfer fee for that time, $200,000, ahd he was only 16 years old. In 1962 he wins the first scudetto with AC Milan and on the May 13, 1962, at 18 years, he plays his first match for the Italian national team against West Germany at the World Cup in Chile, a game that finished with a goalless draw, 0-0.
Due to the win of the 1962 scudetto, AC Milan gets into the chase for the European Cup in 1962, a European Cup which they have finally won, beating Benfica 2-1 in the final with a Rivera in great form as he was awarded the second place in the famous Ballon d'or award, won by the Russian goalkeeper Lev Yashin.
In the 1967/1968 season, Rivera won with AC Milan both the title and the Cup Winners' Cup. In 1968, he played for Italy as they won at the European Championship. Next season, Rivera takes AC Milan to win the Champions Cup as he finally gets the Ballon d'or award.
He played with the Squadra Azzurra (Italian national team) in the 1970 World Cup hosted by Mexico, where they reached the final, losing against Brazil, 4-1. He also played in the 1974 World Cup when the Italians were knocked-out by Poland, 2-1. That was the end of Rivera's career at the national team for which he played in 60 games scoring 14 goals.
Rivera took AC Milan in two Cup Winners' Cup finals, one in 1973 and another in 1974; the first one was won and the second one lost. He also won with the red-and-black team two consecutive Italian titles, in 1972 and 1973. AC Milan also won several Italian Cups in the 70's but without Rivera in most of them who was banned because of his statements against the Italian referees.
Rivera won his last scudetto of his career as a player in 1979 with AC Milan, this also being the 10th title for The Devils. Totally, he played for AC Milan in Serie A 501 matches and scored 122 goals.
- 4 x Italian cup
- 3 x Italian title
- 2 x Cup Winners Cup
- 2 x European Cup
- 1 x European Player of The Year
- 1 x European Player of The Year runner-up
- 1 x World Cup runner-up
- 1 x Italian League Top Scorer
- 1 x Intercontinental Cup
- 1 x European Championship
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