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Who is Ronaldinho - Football’s Greatest Entertainer

Updated: Dec 13, 2020

Who is Ronaldinho - Football’s Greatest Entertainer

The legendary Ronaldo de Assis Moreira was born on 21 March 1980. He was commonly known as Ronaldinho, or Ronaldinho Gaúcho, which refers to the Rio Grande do Sul, where he was born in Porto Alegre, Brazil. His father, João Moreira, worked as a shipyard worker and played football for Esporte Clube Cruzeiro, a local club. At the same time, his mother, Miguelina de Assis, was a cosmetics saleswoman who later became a nurse after studying to achieve her goal. Ronaldinho's family has a strong passion for football, and besides his father, Roberto de Assis Moreira, his elder brother, played football. His brother signed with Grêmio, a professional football club in Brazil, which provided his family with a good home in the affluent area of Porto Alegre. The house was a gift to his family in order to make his brother stay with the club. Ronaldinho's skills began to improve when he turned eight, but his father died shortly after hitting his head and drowning in the swimming pool at their home in Porte Alegre. The death of his father affected him, but he continued with his desire to play football.

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Where It All Began

He started playing futsal before going on to play beach soccer. Ronaldinho learned most of his skills while playing futsal, and at age 13, he popped up on the media radar after scoring all 23 goals in a game with a local club, which ended in 23-0. He established himself as a young star following his stunning success at the 1997 U-17 World Championship. Ronaldinho played in the 1998 Copa Libertadores for the first time for Grêmio senior team after spending years playing for the Grêmio youth team. In 1999, when he was 18 years old, he gained more recognition after dribbling Dunga, the Brazilian captain of the 1994 World Cup, which Brazil won. Also, he won the Rio Grande do Sul State Championship and Grêmio's first edition of Copa Sul-Minas.

In 2001, he moved to PSG for €5m, where he was handed the number 21 jersey. Ronaldinho was in fantastic form in his first season at PSG, scoring many goals and guiding PSG to the semi-finals in the Coupe de la Ligue. His club success wasn’t enough for the manager, Luis Fernández, who complained that Ronaldinho was more concerned with the Paris nightlife than football and never returned to the club on time after his scheduled vacations. But despite the complaints, Ronaldinho returned to PSG for his second season and got the number 10 jersey. He scored the best goal of the season, which was chosen by fans, and led his side to the Coupe de France final, where they lost to Auxerre. But Ronaldinho's top form wasn't enough for PSG as they finished 11th in the league and didn't qualify for any European tournament, which made him announce his intention of leaving the club.

In 2003, however, he moved to Barcelona for €30 million. After arriving in Barcelona, they beat Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu for the first time in seven years and finished second in the league. Ronaldinho received the World Best Player award following his 2004/05 La Liga victory and helped Barcelona to their first Champions League win in 14 years in the 2005/06 season and a second successive La Liga win. Ronaldinho played for two more seasons for Barcelona after a spectacular 2005/06, where he recorded astonishing results before he left for A.C. Milan.

His international career began by competing in the 1997 FIFA U-17 World Championship, where he won the Bronze Award. He played in the South American Youth Championship in 1999 as well. He was invited to the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup after playing at the 1999 Copa America, where he was awarded the Golden Boot for emerging the top scorer in the tournament. In the 2002 World Cup, Ronaldinho won his first World Cup title with his childhood idols Ronaldo and Rivaldo. He captained Brazil to its second Confederations Cup win in 2005 after failing to win the 2003 Confederation Cup. After a quarter-final loss to France in the 2008 Olympics, his dream of a second World Cup title was shattered, even though he was one of Brazil's average players who led the team to win Gold at the quadrennial event.

Although he never became a top scorer, Ronaldinho won a lot more. He has won everything worth winning throughout his career, starting his European adventure with PSG and then shining with Barca before returning to South America. Ronaldinho was able to achieve an incredibly impressive and unique sextet. He won the World Cup, the Confederations Cup, the Copa América, the Champions League, the Copa Libertadores, and the Ballon d'Or. The six biggest trophies that the Brazilian could have won, During his professional career, he won five trophies in Barcelona, including the famous UEFA Champions League Cup in 2005/2006, the Spanish Super Cup in 2005/2006 and 2006/2007, the Spanish League in 2004/2005 and 2005/2006. He won the Italian league with A.C Milan in 2010/2011. He also won the Copa Libertadores in 2012/2013 and the Recopa Sudamericana with Clube Atlético Mineiro in 2013/2014. The international trophies he won include the 1997 Under-17 World Cup, the 2002 World Cup, the 1998/1999 Copa America, and the 2005 Confederation Cup.

Furthermore, he won individual awards, including the prestigious Balon d'Or in 2005, the Best FIFA Men's Player in 2004 and 2005, the Under-17 player of the year in 1996/1997, and the South American Footballer of the Year in Clube Atlético Mineiro in 2013.

Ronaldinho enjoyed his best years at Barca, where he played with the likes of Deco, Messi, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, and others. The Portuguese forward, Deco, could have been an international team-mate and a club pal with him, since he was born in Brazil too. Following Deco's move from Jose Mourinho's Porto, both players were limited to 132 matches alongside each other, winning two La Liga crowns and the Champions League together. He also had a great friendship with the Argentina star, Messi, whom he always refers to as his little brother. Despite their Barcelona relationship Messi was too young to enjoy a Prime Ronaldinho, and both managed only 80 matches together. He had a close relationship with his Brazilian compatriots, Kaka, Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, and many others. They all shared great moments in Korea/Japan winning the 2002 world cup.

Ronaldinho's brother, Roberto, acts as his manager while Deisy, his sister, manages his press relations. In February 2005, Ronaldinho married a Brazilian dancer, Janaína Mendes, who bore a son named after his late father, João de Assis Moreira. He also married Priscila Coelho, a second wife who had left her studies to live with him. She sued him for one-third of his 2012-2018 earnings, He also enjoyed lucrative sponsorship and endorsement deals with top brands such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Pepsi, Gatorade, EA Sports, and many more. But despite this, an investigation was carried out on his bank account following an investigation into unpaid taxes, and a £5 million balance was found. A court order then led to the confiscation of 57 properties belonging to him. Creditors also filed a $2,000,000 lawsuit against him. In March 2020, Ronaldinho was caught trying to get into Paraguay without a valid visa and was remanded in jail. He and the futsal team from his prison advanced to victory in the tournament for the futsal prison. Ronaldinho still carries a carefree personality despite his legal troubles. It's difficult not to wonder how much more Ronaldinho could have achieved if he worded a little harder. Still, Ronaldinho is fondly remembered for the joy he brought to fans all over the world, inspiring young people to be creative and take risks. Indeed, he is football’s greatest entertainer.

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