If football would be a religion, Ronaldinho Gaucho would be the god of it. This current generation may debate for years that if Cristiano Ronaldo is the best player or not or is it Lionel Messi because both these players have achieved every award or recognition there is but except for the world’s greatest achievement, a world cup win under their name. The reason why Ronaldinho Gaucho will always be the legend of this generation because he has won it all and not only did he win them, he showed them how Brazilian football can dominate any other style.
Ronaldinho’s retirement has made everyone a little heartbroken everywhere. Football which is all about identity, community and competition is a game that boasts of being the most popular game in the world. And, Ronaldinho with his sheer brilliance defined every essence of it. He was part of triumphant Brazil 2002 World Cup squad and won the Championships league in 2006 with Barcelona and won the Balon d’Or in 2005.
Ronaldinho was first picked for his country in 1999, Then, later that year, he teamed up with 22-year-old Ronaldo – or Ronaldinho as he was known at the time – to destroy an Argentina side featuring Walter Samuel, Roberto Ayala, Fernando Redondo, Juan Sebastian Véron, Javier Zanetti, Hernán Crespo and Ariel Ortega. Ronaldinho kick started his career with Gremio in Brazil later moving to Paris St-Germain in 2001. After his five years stint at Barcelona and two La Liga titles, he also had a spell at AC Milan where he won the Serie A title in 2010-11. He moved to Brazilian side Flamengo in 2011 before his spells at Atletico Mineiro, Queretaro in Mexico and played his last professional match in 2015 for Brazilian club Fluminense.
He floated through the matches always smiling, making everything look effortless. “I love the ball,” he once said. Ronaldinho was someone who never failed to create magic while shwooshing around the ground, someone who held the power of making the hearts of his fans thump, someone whose pain and injuries made the crowd frown and the one whose smile can make aficionados giggle. His long, soul-glow hair, the goofy grin, that surfer’s wave, thumb and little finger waggling made him “the ever-smiling magician”.
Numerous legends of the game including Pele, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona have bestowed their love on Ronaldinho after his brother announced the news of his retirement on Wednesday: