Although the last team that he played for in 2015 is Brazilian club Fluminense, after an amazing career packed with medals, trophies and a legacy of inhuman talent, Brazil legend Ronaldinho has officially retired at the age of 37.
Anybody who ever watched the former Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan star will appreciate this gentleman’s ability with the ball at his feet.
The extravagantly gifted forward played for some of Europe’s biggest clubs, however Barca is the team that he will forever be remembered with as having some of the best years that a footballer has ever enjoyed at a single club, as between 2003 to 2008, the Barca legend won back-to-back La Liga titles, the Champions League and back-to-back Ballon D’Or awards.
When the Brazil legend joined Barca, he revitalised the club and brought back their self-esteem after a few difficult years without any trophies. In his five seasons at the Nou Camp, the Brazilian scored 94 goals in 207 appearances.
Former Barca midfielder and legend Xavi Hernandez said: “He changed our history.”
Another of Ronaldinho’s former Barca team-mates, Luis Garcia, also said: “He was the change of Barcelona for what Barcelona is right now. He was something special, he was the best player by far in the world. He could do anything. Every single session, training session or game he was special and I enjoyed just watching him play so much.”
When Ronaldinho tore apart Real Madrid at the Bernabeu with two great goals, regardless of the bitter rivalry, whilst Sergio Ramos was flat on his back, the home fans were standing and applauding, having witnessed the genius blessing the sport they all love.
On the international stage, Ronaldinho was influential in guiding Brazil back to the top of world football at Korea/Japan World Cup 2002. He caught the attention of everyone in the world with his amazingly-captivating skills on the ball.
He influenced countless young fans around the globe to attempt to emulate his inhuman skills.
Ronaldinho didn’t just look like he enjoyed life after winning La Liga, Champions League, World Cup and the Ballon d’Or, but in the process he was always smiling and enjoying his football, which is the reason that he became the player that he did.
Brazil legend Pele tweeted in tribute to Ronaldinho: “You brought a smile to everyone’s face. I hope you glide through life, like you glided through tackles.” Pele could not have been more right. The smile that Ronaldinho had whilst playing was contagious.
If anybody ever falls out of love with football, just watch past clips of Ronaldinho enjoying the game and doing amazing things with the ball and your love for the sport will instantly be rekindled.
At a press conference to preview Manchester City’s home match against Newcastle United, former Barca manager Pep Guardiola said it best. He stated: “I wish him all the best for the future. He had an amazing impact, not only at Barcelona, but in the world of football. He had a big, big impact.”
The Brazil and Barca legend’s influence on Barca in helping them to once again become the giant club they are today is clear, and also the impact that he had on football as a whole cannot be expressed enough.
Ronaldinho’s smile whilst playing the game brought a smile to many football fans and made many people around the world fall in love with the game. Just for this reason alone, Ronaldinho’s legacy is one to be treasured and remembered forever.
To be able to say that you watched Ronaldinho play is truly something to brag about to your kids and grandchildren later in life and feel privileged. What a legend.
Written by Sina Latif
Follow Sina on Twitter @_sina93
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