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THE RISE, PEAK, AND FALL OF RONALDINHO GAUCHO

Author: Varad Bhatkhande



INTRODUCTION:


If a Magician made a Footballer, he simply would have made someone like Ronaldinho Gaucho, the man who saw everything, the struggle, the success, and the downfall. In his 17 years as a football player, this man won a World cup, a Ballon d’Or, Copa America, UEFA Champions League, League titles in Spain and Italy.[1] Despite this, his name is not often taken in G.O.A.T debate. The man gets high respect from people who saw him at his peak. Many say he could have been the best player ever lived and also consider him as the most naturally talented football player ever.[2] The Brazilian mostly played as an Attacking Midfielder (AMF) and as Right Wing Forward. In his peak days, he was more of a playmaker style of player than an ultimate goal scorer. Stats don’t tell the true story of his potential. But only the people who saw him were aware of his true influence and capability.[3]


EARLY DAYS:


Ronaldo de Assis Moreira was born on 21st of March 1980 in the city of Porto Alegre, Brazil. His mother Miguelina worked as a shipyard worker along with his brother Joao de Assis Moreira who was also a local football player who played for Esporte ClubeCruzeiro.[4]Dinhos' father died when he was 8 by drowning. He began to play Futsal and Beach Football as a hobby, which later expanded to Football. Many of his skills (especially ball control) come from Futsal and by playing ‘Ginga’, a style of Football which is very popular in the streets of Brazil.[5] Growing up, his idols were Diego Maradona of Argentina and the national superstar Romario. Dinho also had a big brother named Roberto who also played Football. But his career was cut short because of his injuries.[6]


Ronaldinho had humble beginnings which may be the reason he is known as one of the kindest and humble footballers. Throughout his life his mother has been his never-dying source of support. That’s why he always says his mother is the reason for his success.


THE RISE:


Ronaldinho first came into the eyes of the media when he scored all 23 goals in a 23-0 victory for his team. He joined a Brazilian Club Gremio.[7] The 1998-99 season saw the rise of 18-year-old Ronaldinho. He scored 22 goals in 47 matches and many clubs started showing interest in him. The First Club showing interest in Dinho was the English club Arsenal. But the move collapsed because he was a non-EU player who had not played enough international matches. After many yes’ and no’s Ronaldinho joined French Club Paris Saint Germain(PSG) in 2001 for a fee of 5 million for a five years contract.[8]


Dinho scored his first goal for PSG against local rivals Lyon in a 2-2 draw. In his first half of the 2001-02 season, he spent his time mostly on bench and coming on as a substitute at 2nd half. But after the winter break,Ronaldinho began to shine for PSG. Despite his short success,Ronaldinho’s season was marred by controversy with then the manager of PSG, Luis Fernandez.[9] But his short success was enough for him to get selected for the 2002 FIFA World Cup hosted by Japan and South Korea. Ronaldinho and Brazil won the 2002 world cup which was no surprise as that the Brazil team is still considered as one of the best teams ever. They had players like Roberto Carlos, Rivaldo, Ronaldo R9, and of course Ronaldinho.


Ronaldinho scored 2 goals and gave 3 assists in his5 matches of the world cup. Everyone must see his 40-yard free-kick goal against David Beckham’s England which is considered as one of the best goals of his career.[10] After returning from the World Cup and despite his rifts with Coach Fernandez, Ronaldinho played for PSG for the 2002-03 season. Ronaldinho was given a No.10 Jersey as an AMF.[11]


THE PEAK:


Newly elected FC Barcelona president Joan Laporta stated, "I said we would lead Barca to the forefront of the footballing world, and for that to occur we have to sign one of these three, David Beckham, Thierry Henry or Ronaldinho". Henry remained with Arsenal and arch-rivals Real Madrid got hold of David Beckham. Barcelona managed to outbid Manchester United for Ronaldinho at a 30million Euro deal. Ronaldinho got injured in the first half of the season but he returned after winter break and helped them to conquer 2nd place in the league. He scored 15 goals in the 2003-04 season. In the 2004-05 season, Dinho won his first League title for Barcelona. Though Barca got eliminated by Chelsea in the knockout stage by a 5-4 loss over 2 legs, the club captain Carles Puyol stated, “The greatest compliment I could give him is that he’s given Barcelona our spirit back.” On May 1st, 2005 Ronaldinho assisted Lionel Messi’s first goal for Barcelona which he thinks is the best assist of his life.[12]


In September 2005 he signed a 2-year contract extension for the club. By the end of 2005, Ronaldinho won FIFPro Player of the Year, was included in FIFPro World XI, being named European Footballer of the year and also the FIFA player of the year. He also won his extraordinary Ballon d’Or. In the first el Clasico of 2005-06 season, Ronaldinho single-handedly defeated Real Madrid 0-3 at Madrid’s home Santiago Bernabeu. Real Madrid fans gave a standing ovation to Dinho who only 3 Barca Players have managed to get; Dhino in 2006, Diego Maradona in 1981, and Andres Iniesta in 2015. The season was best for Ronaldinho because he won Barcelona their first Champions League title in 14 years. Throughout the season Dinho, Samuel Eto, and Lionel Messi formed a dangerous front three which was the reason for their success. Ronaldinho scored 26 goals that season which is a really good start for a creative playmaker.


THE DOWNFALL:


Ronaldinho became a superstar. Everyone thought he wouldbe the greatest of all time. People thought he would surpass Pele and Maradona as the best players ever. Then came the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Brazil was once again favourite with players like Kaka, Adriano, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo R9 and of courseRonaldinho. Brazil reached the knockout stage where they were eliminated. They faced Germany in the round of 16 and beat them 3-0. Then they met France in the quarter-finals. Zinedine Zidane’s France beat Brazil 1-0. Brazil was nowhere near France in quality of the game. Zidane humiliated them. Brazilians held Ronaldinho responsible for Brazil’s defeat.


Dinho only got 1 assist in the tournament. Ronaldinho returned to Barcelona overweight but he soon returned to form. Though he was really inconsistent he managed to score 21 league goals. 2006-07 was a trophy-less season for FC Barcelona. Ronaldinho's form had dropped since his return from the World Cup. Ronaldinho’s 2007-08 season was mostly gone in the recovery of his injury he picked during el Clasico which ended in a 3-3 draw. Ronaldinho’s partying lifestyle and his lack of focus at training made Barca think he was past his prime. On 19thMay2008 club president


Ronaldinho left at the end of the season.[13]. Ronaldinho turned down an offer from Manchester City and decided to join Italian powerhouses at that time, AC Milan. Ronaldinho scored only 10 goals in 32 appearances in the 2008-09 season which is not at all bad for an AMF but was a real dip for him in his form. After a good start to the season, Ronaldinho struggled with fitness throughout the season due to his lack of training and party lifestyle. Carlo Ancelotti, AC Milan coach at that time commented, The decline of Ronaldinho hasn’t surprised me. His physical condition has always been precarious. His talent though never been in question. Ronaldinho's second season initially started bad, but he gained his form soon after. New coach Leonardo changed Ronaldinho’s position from an AMF to an LMF(Left Midfielder). He was the assistant leader in Series A that season. He was not called up for the 2010 World Cup by Brazil. 2010-11 season actually where it all ended. Ronaldinho only managed to score 1 goal in 16 appearances. He was released mid-season.[14]


Ronaldinho joined Flamengo but he was not going to perform again as he did years ago. For fans, it was like seeing 2 different people. Destiny had it he would have been the greatest player ever. But his lack of dedication, party lifestyle finished him. Many people claimed that he must have lost motivation to play Football seriously after winning almost everything, be it team awards or individual awards. Nowadays he plays charity football sometimes and his videos available on the Internet showus that he has still got it. There will never be a player like Dinho. Whatever may have happened, he deserves to be respected and is definitely one of the best players ever.


‘OBRIGADA RONALDINHO, THE MAN WHO SAW EVERYTHING’


References:

[1]Ronaldinho Biography, THE FAMOUS PEOPLE,https://www.thefamouspeople.com/profiles/ronaldinho-6141.php [2]Why are Top Players Called GOAT?, FIELD INSIDER, https://fieldinsider.com/goat-in-football/#:~:text=GOAT%20 [3]Tim Fontenault,Diamonds are Forever: Ronaldinho at Attacking Mid could Enhance Milan’s Attack, BLEACH REPORT (September 4, 2010)https://bleacherreport.com/articles/450742-diamonds-are-forever-ronaldinho-at-attacking-mid-could-enhance-milans-attack [4]Roberto De Assis Moreira, CELEBS AGES, https://www.celebsages.com/roberto-de-assis-moreira/ [5]Ginga: NotAnymore Just the Identity of Brazil Football, THE ECONOMIC TIMES | NEWS (Last Updated: July 27, 2019)https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/sports/ginga-not-anymore-just-the-identity-of-brazil-football/articleshow/70404920.cms?from=mdr [6]Rob Conlon,The Triumph and Tragedy of Ronaldinho’s Brother’s Playing career, PLANET FOOTBALL (3rd July 2020)https://www.planetfootball.com/in-depth/the-triumph-and-tragedy-of-ronaldinhos-brothers-playing-career/ [7]Yiannis, Ronaldinho at 13 years old his team won 23-0. He scored all 23 goals, 7BLE.COM(March 18, 2003) http://7ble.com/ronaldinho-at-13-years-old-his-team-won-23-0-he-scored-all-23-goals/ [8]Andrew Gibney,10 Great Moments from Ronaldinho’s Paris Saint-Germain Career, BLEACHER REPORT (March 21, 2015)https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2404180-10-great-moments-from-ronaldinhos-paris-saint-germain-career [9]Steve Zavala, Former PSG Manager Luis Fernandez on his time with Ronaldinho and Almost Signing David Trezeguet, PSG TALK (August 10, 2020)https://psgtalk.com/2020/08/former-psg-manager-luis-fernandez-on-his-time-with-ronaldinho-and-almost-signing-david-trezeguet/ [10]Joe Moore, LOBBEDWe didn’t know how Good Ronaldinho was’- former England Goalkeeper David Seaman on That 2002 World Cup Goal,TALK SPORT (February 22, 2019)https://talksport.com/football/497485/we-didnt-know-how-good-ronaldinho-was-former-england-goalkeeper-david-seaman-on-that-2002-world-cup-goal/ [11]Sam France, Famous Barcelona No.10s: Messi, Ronaldinho and Maradona, GOAL (Last Updated: April 16, 2020)https://www.goal.com/en-gb/news/famous-barcelona-no10s-messi-ronaldinho-and-maradona/16ppyh21a20ml1gnk8ffnowj2b [12]Pause, Rewind, Play-When Messi scored his first Barcelona Goal with a Classy assist from Ronaldinho, SCROLL.IN (Updated: May 01, 2020)https://scroll.in/field/960779/pause-rewind-play-when-messi-scored-his-first-barcelona-goal-with-a-classy-assist-from-ronaldinho [13]Gary Meenaghan,Ronaldinho: Brazilian Star’s decline from Barcelona Greatness to Paraguay prison,BBC | SPORT (11 August, 2020)https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/53677655#:~:text=This%20year%2C%20he%20lost%20his,decision%20%22a%20life%20choice%22. [14]Marcus Alves, What went wrong for Ronaldinho: From World’s Best No. 10 to prisoner No. 194, BLEACHER REPORT (April 18, 2020)https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2886542-what-went-wrong-for-ronaldinho-from-worlds-best-no-10-to-prisoner-no-194


Edited by Gemma Maria Suzzana. A, Associate Editor, Lawgic Stratum.


About the Author:


Varad is a Higher secondary commerce student. He is an enthusiast of sports especially Football and Cricket. He likes to read blogs related to Sports, Finance, Environment. Also, he likes to travel and express his opinions through blog writing...

College : Chintamanrao College of Commerce. Place : Sangli, Maharashtra


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