For those of you of a certain age, Pele and Maradona will always be the greatest players to have graced a football pitch, for the youth of today that title will either go to Messi or Ronaldo, but if you ask anyone from my generation who the greatest player they’ve ever seen is, there will be no dispute. Maybe a pause, not out of hesitation, but out of admiration.
If the title of this blog post wasn’t a giveaway, the player I’m talking about is Ronaldinho… the best player I’ve ever seen play the game.
A few months ago Ronaldinho announced that he would be retiring from football. Despite his fall from grace in the latter stages of his career, Ronaldinho’s years at the peak of his powers will never be forgotten. Everything from his infectious smile, unmistakable swagger and his ability to make the unthinkable look so simple, are the reason I and many other kids my age started watching football, to say he’ll be sorely missed would be an understatement.
Without further ado, here’s 5 of my favourite moments from my favourite player, enjoy!
Passing Of The Torch.
Although Lionel Messi has since gone onto become a legend in his own right and surpass nearly all of Ronaldinho’s achievements as a player, even he owes a lot to the Brazillian.
Flash back to 2005 when Ronaldinho was without doubt the best player in the world and star of the Barcelona team. The same year that Messi began to break through to the first team.
A quality that is often overlooked in Ronaldinho’s play is his ability to be not just a great player, but a great teammate. This goal is probably the best example of this. Rather than dribble through the sea of players in front of him, Ronaldinho lobbed the ball over their heads and set up Messi’s first senior goal for Barcelona. Many of players in his position would’ve envied Messi’s potential, Ronaldinho supported it!
Without Ronaldinho’s assist on that day and influence on Messi’s early career, the Argentine may not have become the player he is today.
The year is 2002 and England’s “golden generation” are at their peak and we expect big things! By “we”, I mean my 6 year-old self, my family and the rest of the nation.
I literally don’t remember anything from the 2002 world cup… apart from Ronaldinho’s goal.
With the score level at 1-1, Ronaldinho (who is still relatively unknown at this point and plying his trade at PSG) attempts and succeeds with an audacious attempt to lob England keeper David Seamen with a free-kick from 40-yards out.
This goal ultimately knocked England out of the tournament and sent the country into a state of national mourning. Whilst my family looked at the screen with disbelief, I cheered and jumped up in celebration. It was because of this moment I became a Brazil fan AND a Ronaldinho fan.
Only He Could Pull That Off.
I’m going to keep this one short. Simply Sublime.
Never Has A Toe-Punt Looked So Beautiful.
“Don’t toe-punt!”, “Always lace or sidefoot the ball”, “Toe-punt goals look trampy”. All of things I was told as a child when I used to toe punt the ball. Also, all of the things that were disproven by Ronaldinho scored that toe-punted goal against Chelsea.
Every time Ronaldinho received the ball you knew he was going to do something magical, flick it over someone’s head… knock it through their legs… 360° spin away from two players…. you just never knew what to expect…
As Ronaldinho received the ball at the edge of the penalty area with two defenders in front of him the whole world waited with baited breath to see what he’d do. He shimmied on the spot and then.. toe-punted it into the corner. Yes, the best player in the world scored against arguably the best keeper in the world (Petr Cech) with a toe-punt.
Proving that the magic doesn’t always lie in the difficulty, but in the unexpected!
After reading (or ignoring) all of my rambilngs, it’s time for my favourite Ronaldinho moment…
It’s Impossible To Hate Him!
There is no bigger or fiercer rivalry in world football than Real Madrid vs Barcelona. The El Classico match is much more than just a football rivalry, it’s a cultural one, dating back over 100 years. To cut a very long story short, these two teams don’t get along. Their players don’t like each other and neither do their fans. So naturally you would expect a Barcelona player who tore Real Madrid apart at the Santiago Bernabéu to get booed by the Real Madrid fans. In fact, Ronaldinho’s performance on that day was so breathtaking that the Real Madrid fans did the complete opposite, they cheered him.
Ronaldinho scored 2 goals in a 3-0 victory over Barca’s biggest rivals and was applauded by BOTH sets of fans, an honour previously only given to Diego Maradona.
Everyone Loved Ronaldinho!
Those Were My 5 Favourite Ronaldinho Moments, But There Were So Many That Didn’t Make The Cut, Feel Free To Leave Comments On Which Moments Would Have Made It Into Your Top 5!
Thank You For Reading.