Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

Known all over the world as Ronaldinho, a term of endearment meaning “little Ronaldo,” the Brazilian native was proclaimed to be one of the most spectacular talents of contemporary European football. His marvelous dribbling ability, combined with exceptional field vision and an unmatched capability to create a spark at any given moment made him the most dangerous player on the pitch.

Born on March 21, 1980, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira is the youngest son of Dona Miguelina and Joao de Assis Moreira. The Moreira family lived in a working class section of Porto Alegre, Brazil. It was not until the elder son, Roberto, signed with professional club Gremio that the family was given an opportunity to move into a more affluent neighborhood.

Around the time of the family’s move, Ronaldinho began showing a real talent for football. He was originally given the nickname because he was often the youngest and smallest player in the match. This was not a problem for the young Brazilian, for he already possessed impressive control of the ball, and was able to make even the best defenders seem like practice cones. His first exposure with the media came at the age of 13 when he scored 23 goals in a humiliating shutout victory over a local amateur team.

Ronaldinho received his first professional contract in 2001, when he signed with French club Paris Saint-Germain. He would spend only two years with the club, accumulating 25 goals and 18 assists in 86 appearances before moving onto the city where he would play arguably the best football of his life, Barcelona.

The Spanish Premier League has always featured some of the world’s best players, and when Ronaldinho made his debut with Barcelona against AC Milan in 2003, it solidified him as just a world-class talent. Over a fiveyear period with the Spanish club, he led the team to back-to-back league titles and a UEFA Champions League trophy. Night-in and night-out, thousands of fans piled into The Nou Camp, expecting to see a show, and the brilliant Brazilian rarely failed to disappoint.

After leaving Barcelona in 2008, he spent a brief period playing in Milan, Italy before returning to his home country to play in the Brazilian professional league. Now 32, his form is not what it once was, but he is not ready to hang up the boots. Ronaldinho is considered to be one the finest natural talents to ever play the game, and, in 2004, he earned a spot on Pele’s list of the top 100 living footballers.

Joshua Shapiro is a second-year student majoring in English and education. He can be reached at JS762110@wcupa.edu.

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