ai???He is the man that makes the difference between a team that plays well and another that is really memorable. He alone can decide one gameai???

Frank Rijkaard ai??i?? Former FC Barcelona Manager.

He is Ronaldinho. And to be honest, Rijkaard didnai??i??t exaggerate one bit. The man with the gawky yet innocent smile proved to be the most vital signings for FC Barcelona in the last decade. And the Catalan club surely owes a part of their renaissance to the enigmatic Brazilian. Ronaldinhoai??i??s acquisition by Barcelona is nothing short of a fairytale. Ex-President Joan Laporta had resolved on acquiring iconic English footballer David Beckham, to restore the clubai??i??s fading image. Fate however had other ideas and in zero hour Real Madrid hijacked the deal, like they had done previously with Alfredo Di StAi??fano, and captured the Englishman. Laporta had no other option but to sign Ronaldinho and the rest as they say is history.

Unconfirmed sources also claim that Ronaldinho was supposed to sign for Manchester United, following the departure of David Beckham. However, Peter Kenyon apparently didnai??i??t honour his words and an infuriated PSG administration decided to sell Ronaldinho to FC Barcelona for ai??i?? 32.25 million, which is supposedly less than what United actually agreed to pay. This, however, is still a mystery and hasnai??i??t been confirmed. What happened next is history. Ronaldinho won 5 trophies with Barcelona and Beckham just 1 with Real Madrid.

The Pre-Barcelona Years

After moving to Europe, Ronaldinho , manifested glimpses of his talent with Paris Saint Germain. And then came the World Cup 2002 and eventually the quarter final match against England. A free kick in the 50th minute of the match and Ronaldinhoai??i??s life was never the same. A stunning shot from 35 metres, nothing short of fabulous, took the perfect trajectory, immaculate elevation and eventually the perfect plunge to bamboozle David Seaman ai??i?? a goal par excellence, gave Brazil the win against England. And Ronaldinho, the superstar of the future, announced his arrival.

Known for his breathtaking skills, the Brazilianai??i??s biggest asset was perhaps his uncanny coolness which saw him manoeuvre his way out of pressure situations. However, despite such intelligence on the pitch, the Brazilian was naive enough lose Coke sponsorship worth $750,000 for drinking a can of Pepsi at a press conference.

Despite being a World Champion by the age of 22, Ronaldinho did not quite live up to the expectation in France and eventually moved to Spain, FC Barcelona ai??i?? And then began the fairytale romance.

The FC Barcelona-Era

FC Barcelona had just finished 6th in La Liga. Joan Gaspart left the club. So did Van Gaal, Antonio de la Cruz and Radomir Antic. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. And then arrived Joan Laporta, Frank Rijkaard & of course, the young and gawky Ronaldinho. His move to the Catalan club was nothing short of serendipity and perhaps no other player has influenced the destiny of a club of the stature of Barcelona as much as Ronaldinho. The arrival of Laporta, Rijkaard and Ronaldinho had such a profound influence that even BBC did a documentary, titled “FC Barcelona Confidential“, based on the turn of events at the Camp Nou.

The Brazilian made an immediate impact and helped Barcelona finish second behind Valencia. Not only did he end up as the highest scorer for Barcelona, but also ended up as one of the players to have played the most number of minutes ai??i?? a feat not many players achieve in their first season at a new club in a new country.

Ronaldhinoai??i??s arrival was such a hard sold point in the history of the Catalan club that not many remember or know that a certain Rafael Marquez also signed that season and La Masia promoted Andres Iniesta and Victor Valdez to the senior team ai??i?? Ronaldinho hogged all the limelight. And quite rightly so.

If the 2003-04 season was any indication, the following season saw a rejuvenated Barcelona weaving her magic once again and winning hearts like never before and they were back at the summit of the Spanish top flight football and thereby ending their six-year trophy drought. 2004-05 season was also one to be remembered because the team underwent a metamorphosis and veterans like Cocu, Davids (return to Juventus), Saviola, Luis Enrique, Overmars, Luis Garcia, Kluivert, et al. The Catalan club got a lease of new life in the form of Samuel Etoai??i??o, Deco, Edmilson, Giuly, and of course Henrik Larsson ai??i?? to complete a team where Ronaldinho would eventually be the heartbeat, and of course the brain.

2004-05 saw Barcelona race past Real Madrid and in style and Ronaldinho bag the FIFA World Player of the Year. And 2005-06 was even more awesome. Rijkaard and his team, led by Ronaldinho mesmerized and won the La Liga and also the Champions League beating Arsenal in Paris. Ronaldinho won the FIFA World Player of the Year, yet again, thereby etching his name as one of the greatest ever in the history of the beautiful game.

The significance of the 2005-06 season doesnai??i??t end here ai??i?? La Masia promoted yet another youngster into the senior team ai??i?? a young and reticent kid, who was often thought to be a mute. The irony was that itai??i??s this kid who went on to replace Ronaldinho as the worthy successor of the hallowed number 10. The world got the first glimpse of perhaps the best product of famed Barcelona youth system or any youth system for that matter. The world saw the superstar of the future. The world saw Lionel Messi.

Ronaldinhoai??i??s performance reached a level which looked insurmountable. Even by the maverick genius himself. Not many get a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabeu faithful after he has ripped the home team ai??i?? November 2005 was one such incident. The Brazilian scored his second goal and Blancos in the stadium stood up as a sign of surrender and respect for the wizard, who was at the peak of his power. Good times never last. Ronaldinhoai??i??s fairytale at Barcelona was reaching its twilight and the eccentric footballer never got back to the level he once achieved with the Catalans.

The Downfall

2006-07 was the season when things started getting bad. Barcelonaai??i??s stranglehold on the Spanish league and the Champions League was loosened by Real Madrid and AC Milan respectively and the genius started losing track of his objectives. Controversies have been a perennial part of Ronaldinhoai??i??s career starting from PSG. The dressing-room bust-up between him and the mercurial Cameroonian striker Samuel Etoai??i??o didnai??i??t help either. Etoai??i??o went under the blade and finally recovered after five long and cold months leaving Ronaldinho as the only genuine threat in the offense. Barcelonaai??i??s trophy aspirations were deeply fraught. Amidst speculations of probable dressing room unrest between Ronaldinho and Etoai??i??o, the latterai??i??s refusal to come on as substitute in a match only confirmed suspicions. Barca was in first place for much of the season while arch-rivals Real Madrid were six points behind and in fourth. Just after the supposed dressing room bust-up, the Catalan sideai??i??s form depreciated and Realai??i??s improved considerably. At a crucial juncture in the league, Real Madrid came back valiantly after going down 1-3 at home against Espanyol and finally won 4-3. A beleaguered Barcelona dropped points against a struggling Real Betis. Both teams eventually finished on 76 points but a better head-to-head record gave Real Madrid their first La Liga after 2002-03. Ronaldinho ended up as Barcelonaai??i??s top scorer by there was more to it than met the eye.

If the 2006-07 season was bad, the following was a disaster. FC Barcelona fell from the zenith of a prestigious Double (La Liga and UEFA Champions League) to the nadir of finishing third in La Liga and with no silverware whatsoever. Frank Rijkaardai??i??s departure was imminent along with a host of stars, Ronaldinho being one of them. Arsenal captain Thierry Henry signed for the Catalan side. In a bid to restore parity the addition of yet another superstar only added to Rijkaardai??i??s problems. The rumours of dressing room upheavals only gained momentum.

On the eve of the 2008-09 season, Barcelona bade goodbye to one of their most successful managers. Josep Guardiola i Sala, the man who replaced Rijkaard, made his intentions clear at the very beginning. Surprisingly, the volatile Brazilian was deemed surplus to requirements along with an ageing Deco. A transfer to AC Milan for ai??i??21 million + ai??i??4 million in variables, gave Ronnie one more chance to resurrect his career. Despite winning the 2010-11 Serie A, Ronaldinho was nowhere near to what he once was. His Europe days were numbered.

What They Say…

ai???Rijkaard style allows Ronaldinho to potentialize his innate talent and his unbalanced football skillsai???

Michel Platini

ai???…He’s a great player and I guess that makes him psychic. When you play with him and see what he does with a ball, nothing surprises me any more (sic). One of these days, he will make the ball talk.ai???

Eidur Gudjohnsen

ai???There are not many players who can offer goalscoring passes like he can. He is just marvellous. He is a rare case of an assist man who can provide the ball from anywhere.ai???

Rui Costa

ai???I would love to face him again because I like to play against the best players. Ronaldinho is on his way for making history.ai???

Frank Lampard

ai???As electrifying as a hairdryer thrown into a hot tub, like Betamax, they don’t make them like that anymoreai???

Ray Hudson

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12 Responses to “Ronaldinho : The Man Who Played Football And Won Hearts (THT Heroes)”

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  1. Utsuk Sharma says:

    Not many get a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabeu faithful after he has ripped the home team – November 2005 was one such incident. The Brazilian scored his second goal and Blancos in the stadium stood up as a sign of surrender and respect for the wizard, who was at the peak of his power.

    • Danishselecao says:

      ya,i saw that match…….no other players cant get dat respect………………….
      Thats is our R10……………..Respect d greatest of all time our dinho

      com bakkk to selecaos………we are waiting for uuuuuuuuuuu

  2. Dwayne Horlaite says:

    Fantastic i ever seen in my life….a legend of his generation.football wizard

  3. Utsuk Sharma says:

    Not many get a standing ovation from the Santiago Bernabeu faithful after he has ripped the home team – November 2005 was one such incident. The Brazilian scored his second goal and Blancos in the stadium stood up as a sign of surrender and respect for the wizard, who was at the peak of his power…..

  4. Pradeep Et says:

    He is the best in his generation & nobody ca’t give such type of passes for goal from anywhere from ground,still he is showing the same in Brasil for his club……..

  5. Ronaldinho was a great and fantastic player…He is the God of football ..No player in football history can be compared to Ronaldinho..He is truly a LIVING LEGEND…Someone who made me have interest in football…Better and good things does not last as they say!!!God has time or years for everyone and everything and Ronaldinho’s time that God gave him was okay and he also made good results and use of it…Now he is a Role model to kids and everyone including me..God bless You Ronaldinho !!!

  6. Danishselecao says:

    the most talented player in history of football.no one cant compared to dinho.coz he is d god of footbal.he is d greatest of all time.he has won many title with barca alone.he was d one man show in barca in his era.
    No comparison vth dinho.some people was compare with messi.this is absoulutly wrong.messi is just a striker at barca but dinho is a talented,skillfull,trickful,great creativity n super finisher.this charecters not seen in messi.messi bcom star help of barca midfeild.but dinho bcom greatest of vth his charecters n no help.

    Gods of football R10 n R9

  7. Danishselecao says:

    THE last 10 yrs of barca

    2003-08
    Without RONALDINHO barca is BIG ZERO

    2008-12
    without BARCALONA MESSI is BIG ZERO

    see d diference………..

  8. Mahmoudy says:

    Difference between Ronaldinho and all other players (be they messi, cristiano…whoever) is this : When he plays. He doesn’t just play incredibly well. Ronaldinho invents moves.

    The only player whose games can make you cry.