Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, commonly known as Ronaldinho, is a professional football player from Brazil who plays as a midfielder in an attacking role, sometimes even playing as the team’s striker. Ronaldinho began his playing career at Gremio, in 1987, when he was just seven years old. Already known for his skills on the Futsal pitch, Ronaldinho broke into the Gremio first team when he was 18.
Slowly making his way into the first team, the world began seeing glimpses of what was to come. Ronaldinho would show off his ability and confidence on the pitch, using audacious moves and techniques to bring the crowd to their feet. He played just over 50 games for Gremio, scoring 21 goals and setting up a lot more. It was, however, his brilliant skill that caught the eye of scouts from around the world and Ronaldinho was being spoken off as being the next biggest thing in football.
Ronaldinho was already a part of the Brazilian national team at the Under-17, -20, and -23 levels and had even made appearances for the senior national team in his first few years as a Gremio player. In fact, he had 13 appearances for various age-group teams in his debut season as a professional football player at Gremio. He had helped Gremio win the 1999 Copa do Sul as well as the Rio Grande do Sul State title.
In 2001, Ronaldinho made the inevitable move to Europe and his destination was Paris Saint-Germain, one of the biggest teams in France. Over 2001, 2002 and 2003, Ronaldinho announced his arrival to the world, showing unbelievable moves that Brazilians were known for, but the world hadn’t seen for a long time. He played 55 games for the Parisian side, helping them win the UEFA Intertoto Cup in 2001, scoring 17 leagues goals along the way.
Ronaldinho was suddenly on everyone’s radar and then came the big-money move to FC Barcelona. Ronaldinho wasn’t the club’s first choice signing but in terms of the kind of effect he had on the team and the fans, he was the best thing to happen to the Catalan side for a long time.
Ronaldinho’s first season was riddled with injuries but in the second half of the season, he showed what he was capable of. In 2004-05, he led a revolution at Barcelona, playing breathtaking football and helping Barcelona win the 2004-05 Spanish Primera Division title, a feat he repeated the following season. Barcelona also won the 2005 and 2006 Supercopa de Espana titles but the crowning moment of his club career came when he led Barcelona to the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League triumph.
In about 145 league games for the club, Ronaldinho had scored about 70 goals, including three that won him a standing ovation at the home of their bitter rivals, Real Madrid.
Ronaldinho moved to AC Milan in 2008, after speculations of a rift with Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola. He had ended his Barcelona days with numerous injuries and needed a fresh club to re-start his career. Despite moving to the world’s most international title-winning team of all time, Ronaldinho failed to find the fitness and form of old. He was constantly overweight and spent more time on the bench than ever before. He played just 76 games for Milan, in three seasons, scoring just 20 goals and fading away slowly from the football scene despite winning the 2010-11 Serie A title.
Ronaldinho decided to return to Brazil and signed up with Flamengo in 2011. He played all the club’s matches, scoring 15 goals and helping the team win the Taca Guanabara title, the Taca Rio title as well as the Carioca title.
At the international level, Ronaldinho burst on the scene during the 1999 Copa America tournament, showing his skill and abilities as Brazil went on to win the title. Still playing under the shadow of Rivaldo and Ronaldo, Ronaldinho would have to wait for the 2002 FIFA World Cup when his audacious freekick, against England, would put him on the world map. Everyone suddenly knew who Ronaldinho was and everyone wanted him playing for their club.
Ronaldinho was in flamboyant form, helping Brazil win the 2005 Confederations Cup in Germany, however his performances were nowhere near his best, as Brazil crashed out early against the French. Despite falling off the radar before the 2010 World Cup, Ronaldinho was recalled to the team in 2011, playing friendly matches against Mexico, Ghana and Argentina.
On an individual level, Ronaldinho has been riddled with awards throughout his career. He won the Golden Ball award at the 1999 Confederations Cup along with the Golden Boot. He was also the top-scorer in the state league title that year. He would go on to win the Ballon D’Or award in 2005 as well as the FIFA World Player of the Year award in 2004 and 2005.
There are many other awards and listings in Ronaldinho’s career that go along with his world cup winner’s medal, Copa America title as well as every possible club-level winning medal except the Copa Libertadores title. Ronaldinho will retire, when he does, as one of the best players the game of football has ever seen!