Some players, when they are at their best can destroy entire opposition teams on their own. Few players can raze the best defenses to ashes in a matter of minutes. Fewer are the ones who can do this with a smile on their face. These are the true magicians. However, there is only one player who did all of this, and yet the opposition could never hate him for it. A rueful shake of the head, a weary smile, that would be the extent of their reaction. Then they would quietly whisper, ‘It’s Ronaldinho…’.
The Buck Toothed Genius…the Man who always played with a smile on his lips…the Brazilian Maestro …Legend…God.
The man who always played with a smile on his face, no matter the situation.
A pleasure to play against, and a delight to play with, he’s probably the best footballer the World has ever seen. The complete package, the guy can still change the outcome of a game in mere seconds with his brilliance, cheek and sheer audacity.
The man who brought the magic of Joga Bonito to the Barcelona side and led them to many historical victories, the man who took defeat with grace.
His finest hour came at the 2002 World Cup in Japan and Korea, where he was a key member of the side that won Brazil’s record fifth world title – scoring in the quarter final and playing an integral role in the Brazilian midfield throughout the tournament. It is famously said that it took all the might of the 3 R’s of Brazil to come together to finally overwhelm the German Kaiser – Oliver Rolf Kahn.
Winning World Player of the Year in both 2004 and 2005, his flair with the ball, quick thinking, amazing vision and presence was a joy to watch.
Growing up in a relatively poor, hardscrabble neighborhood, Ronaldinho’s youth teams had to make do with makeshift playing fields. “The only grass on the field was in the corner,” Ronaldinho remembers. “There was no grass in the middle! It was just sand.” In addition to soccer, Ronaldinho also played futsal—an offshoot of football played indoors on a hard court surface and with only five players on each side. Ronaldinho’s early experiences with futsal helped shape his unique playing style, marked by his remarkable touch and close control on the ball. “A lot of the moves I make originate from futsal,” Ronaldinho says. “It’s played in a very small space, and the ball control is different in futsal. And to this day my ball control is pretty similar to a futsal player’s control.”
When he was 13 years old, his team once scored a ridiculous 23 goals in a single game The best part – Ronaldinho scored all the goals!
Nothing less than a Wizard with the ball, he is widely considered by many as the Greatest Player to have graced the Beautiful game. Though Messi may have eclipsed his goalscoring record with F.C. Barcelona, Ronaldinho’s mesmerizing skill, amazing flair and wonderful persona have lifted him above such statistics, and he is ‘God’ for numerous aspiring footballers the world over.
He says that his soccer career has been an emotional roller coaster filled with joyful highs, depressing lows and a lifetime of unforgettable moments. “For me soccer provides so many emotions, a different feeling every day,” says the great man.
Sir, you have our respect and undying admiration. May the Legend keep growing.
“I learnt everything about Life with a ball at my feet.”
Happy Birthday to the Buck-Toothed Genius. You made football magical for everyone.