Rivaldo transfers to AEK

Athens first-division soccer club AEK yesterday announced that it had signed Brazilian football great Rivaldo on a two-year contract, for which he will reportedly be paid 1.3 million euros a year. The 35-year-old had been playing for Olympiakos the last three seasons but quit the team earlier this month saying he had been asked to stay for a fourth year with a reduction in his pay, which he rejected. No financial details of the deal were revealed by AEK, which finished in second place this past season and will play in the Champions League qualifying round next season. Greek press reports however said Rivaldo will be getting 1.3 million euros a year plus bonuses if AEK does well in the Champions League or wins the domestic league crown. Rivaldo had been receiving 1.9 million euros annually at Olympiakos, it was reported. «I am here in order to help AEK win the championship,» Rivaldo said after signing his contract and then leaving for a vacation to his native Brazil. The development is likely to affect the popularity of Olympiakos president Socrates Kokkalis, the powerful entrepreneur. During his three seasons at the Piraeus club, all of which ended with league titles for Olympiakos, the Brazilian was immensely popular among fans. In other developments at AEK, reports yesterday contended that the possibility of key striker Nikos Lymberopoulos joining German Bundesliga club Nuremberg, this season’s cup winner, was not over yet. At the weekend, Lymberopoulos, this season’s top scorer in Greece’s Super League, declared that he was not willing to join the German club. But Nuremberg’s administration is reportedly preparing to make an improved offer for the Greek striker’s acquisition. According to reports, the matter will have been decided, one way or the other, by this weekend. Commenting on the club’s interest, Nuremberg director Martin Bader told German press that Lymberopoulos «possesses exactly what we want. He is a creative player who can also score goals.»(Kathimerini, AFP)