|Full name||Ronaldo de Assís Moreira|
|Date of birth||March 21, 1980|
|Place of birth||Porto Alegre, Brazil|
|Height||1.81 m (5 ft 11
|Playing position||Attacking midfielder, Second Striker|
|Current club||FC Barcelona|
|1 Senior club appearances and goals
counted for the domestic league only and
correct as of June 18, 2007.
2 National team caps and goals correct
as of March 28, 2007.
* Appearances (Goals)
Ronaldinho (pronounced [χonawˈdʒĩɲu]), meaning “little Ronaldo”, is better known in Brazil by the nickname Ronaldinho Gaúcho, in order to distinguish him from Ronaldo (already called Ronaldinho in Brazil). However, upon Ronaldo’s move to Europe, he began to be known simply as ‘Ronaldo’, thereby allowing Ronaldinho to drop Gaúcho and remain simply as ‘Ronaldinho’.
Among his many achievements and accolades, Ronaldinho has been awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year award twice (2004, 2005), as well as the European Footballer of the Year award and the FIFPro World Player of the Year award twice (2005, 2006). He has downplayed suggestions that he is the best footballer in the world, telling FourFourTwo magazine, “I don’t even feel I’m the best at Barça.” 
Ronaldinho was born in Porto Alegre, a city in the Rio Grande do Sul region of Brazil. Ronaldinho’s mother Miguelina is a former salesperson who later studied to become a nurse. His father João was a shipyard worker and footballer for Cruzeiro. The family moved to a more affluent home in Porto Alegre when Ronaldinho’s older brother Roberto signed to play professional football for Grêmio. João died when Ronaldinho was eight, after suffering a heart attack while swimming in the family’s pool. This house was given to Roberto Assis as a present from Gremio to convince him to stay at the club. At the time, Torino were interested in him. Injuries ended Roberto’s career prematurely, and he now manages Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho’s sister Deisi works as his press coordinator. Ronaldinho’s son, named João after his father, was born on February 25, 2005. João’s mother is Janaína Nattielle Viana Mendes, a former dancer on the Brazilian television show Domingão do Faustão.
In his childhood, Ronaldinho’s skill in football began to blossom due to his particular interest in futsal and beach football, which later developed into a fondness for more standardised football. His first brush with the media came after he scored all 23 goals in a 23-0 victory against a local team, at just 13 years of age. His reputation as a footballer was built up through his childhood, particularly since he was identified as a rising star at the Egypt 1997 under-17 world championship. He scored two goals in the tournament, both penalty kicks.
Ronaldinho’s career began in the youth team at Porto Alegre club Grêmio, under head coach Celso Roth, who only played him due to immense pressure from the Gremio supporters. His first senior appearance came in the 1998 Libertadores Cup, and his penchant for goalscoring was quickly displayed, his career soon began generating interest due to his phenomenal ball control and ability to score. This was followed by his introduction into the Brazilian national team in 1999.
Towards the end of his career at Grêmio, in 2001, many clubs from all over the world, particularly Premiership teams in England such as Arsenal who tried but failed, were eager to sign him as an attempt to attain a player who was both a “big name” and was also performing well. Despite several generous bids from Premiership teams (who would not have been able to sign him due to work permit restrictions) and several requests from Grêmio (they offered £ 7000-a-week), Ronaldinho signed a five-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain FC, to which he moved at the beginning of the following season.
In 2001 Ronaldinho left Grêmio to play European football. Despite attempts to sign him from larger clubs, he opted to play for PSG. During his time at PSG, the manager, Luis Fernandez, claimed that Ronaldinho was too focused on the Parisian nightlife rather than on his football, and complained that his holidays in Brazil would always drag on and never end at the scheduled times. He developed a reputation for performing brilliantly against the bigger teams, but against the smaller teams he seemed to drift in and out of the games.
After the 2002 World Cup, having shown his worth on the international scene, there was no shortage of interest from bigger clubs. In 2003, Ronaldinho made it clear he wanted to leave PSG after they failed to qualify for any European competitions. Ronaldinho’s desire to leave set off a bidding war among the top European clubs (Manchester United and FC Barcelona the notable examples) for his services. The club that ended up winning the battle for his services was FC Barcelona. Manchester United also wanted him, but due to the constraints of being a PLC, could not come to an agreement with PSG.
On July 19, 2003, FC Barcelona acquired Ronaldinho for £21 million. Originally, Barcelona President Joan Laporta had promised to bring David Beckham to the club, but following his transfer to Real Madrid, Barcelona entered the running for Ronaldinho and beat Manchester United to his signature. It was thought that a failure on the part of the English and French clubs to agree on a fee was the reason Manchester United’s deal fell through. Ronaldinho is also said to have signed with Barcelona instead of Manchester United because of his friendship with former Nike executive in Brazil and Barcelona’s then vice-president in charge of sports, Sandro Rosell. Ronaldinho’s signing with Barcelona follows in the footsteps of a number of illustrious fellow countrymen who enjoyed successful careers with the club, including Romário, Ronaldo and Rivaldo.
Barcelona quickly showcased the talents of their new striker in an exhibition match against AC Milan. The match took place in front of a crowd of 45,000 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. Barcelona had a 1-0 lead through most of the first half, and they increased their lead to 2-0 when Ronaldinho scored in the 51st minute. Having received a short pass from Xavi, Ronaldinho fired a shot that spun around Fernando Redondo and into the net, landing him his first goal for the club.
Along with Samuel Eto’o, Deco, Xavi, Ludovic Giuly and Henrik Larsson, Ronaldinho comprised part of a strike force which helped bring the 2004-05 La Liga title for FC Barcelona. On December 20, 2004, Ronaldinho was named FIFA World Player of the Year ahead of Arsenal‘s Thierry Henry and AC Milan‘s Andriy Shevchenko. It was then that Barcelona rejected a £60 million bid made for him by Chelsea F.C., according to Sandro Rosell.
In March 2005, Barcelona were knocked out of the Champions League by Chelsea in the first knockout round. Ronaldinho scored a penalty kick and an impressive solo goal in the 4-2 defeat at Stamford Bridge. After the match, he was involved in a physical altercation with Chelsea stewards following allegations that the stewards had behaved in a racist and provocative manner. Neither team was punished by UEFA, who downplayed the incident as “a very minor scuffle” and lacked firm evidence about the alleged racism.
In June 2005, Rosell resigned from the Barcelona administration following a bust-up with Joan Laporta, and it was feared that his resignation would spell the end for Ronaldinho and Barcelona’s association as well. With Ronaldinho’s contract running only into 2008, he was offered a contract until 2014 that would net him £85 million over those 9 years, which he rejected. Later that year in September, he signed a two-year extension of his original contract on with FC Barcelona. The new contract contains a minimum fee release clause that allows him to leave should a club make an offer to Barcelona of at least £85 million for him.
On November 19, 2005, Ronaldinho scored two solo goals to help FC Barcelona to a 3–0 win over arch-rivals Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid. After he scored his second goal of the night, his team’s third, a large part of the Madrid followers gave him a standing ovation, a rare feat which had not occurred since Diego Maradona played for Barcelona in 1982.
In September 2005, Ronaldinho was crowned FIFPro World Player of the Year, an award voted for by his fellow professionals. He was also named in the FIFPro team of the year alongside the likes of Zidane and Maldini. In November 2005 Ronaldinho was named as both the European Footballer of the Year and the best striker in the 2004-05 Champions League. In 2005, Ronaldinho became the third Brazilian to win the Ballon d’Or. On December 19, 2005, he was again named FIFA World Player of the Year with 956 points, more than three times the 306 points of Chelsea‘s Frank Lampard, who finished second in the poll, and the 190 points of Barcelona team mate Samuel Eto’o who finished third. He was chosen for the UEFA team of 2005 for the third time running in January 2006.
On March 7, 2006, in the 2nd leg of the Champions League first knockout round at Nou Camp, Ronaldinho avenged Barcelona’s defeat to Chelsea in the same competition the previous year, running past the Chelsea defence to score. Although the game ended 1-1 with Chelsea equalling through a dubious penalty in the second half stoppage time, Barcelona progressed to the Champions League quarter-final on aggregate (3-2), in which they beat SL Benfica 2-0 at Nou Camp (Ronaldinho having scored the first goal after missing an early penalty kick) after a goalless draw at the Estádio da Luz. In the first semi-final leg, against AC Milan in the San Siro, Ronaldinho once again proved his worth with a superb pass for the goal volleyed in by Ludovic Giuly, which brought Barcelona a 1-0 victory. The second leg game ended in a goalless draw despite a disallowed goal from Andriy Shevchenko in the 70th minute. The 0-0 result with AC Milan brought Barcelona to the 2006 Champions League Final in Paris against Arsenal F.C., who had not conceded a goal in ten Champions League matches, a competition record.
On May 17, 2006, Barcelona became European champions after defeating Arsenal 2-1 in the Champions League final. In this match Ronaldinho was kept relatively subdued and the goals came from Samuel Eto’o and Juliano Belletti, who were both assisted by Henrik Larsson. Ronaldinho finished the season with 26 goals in all competitions, his best goalscoring tally ever. It was rumoured on 3 August that Ronaldinho might move to AC Milan, but Ronaldinho denied it. On August 24, 2006, Ronaldinho was named Champions League player of the year for the 2005-06 season.
, Ronaldinho gave a stellar display as the defending champions Barcelona beat PFC Levski Sofia 5-0 in the Champions League. He was involved in two of the goals before wrapping up the win with a stunning strike in the final minute.
On November 25, 2006, Ronaldinho scored his 50th league goal against Villarreal during a Spanish League match at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona. In that same match he scored a second goal by an over head bicycle kick, after controlling the ball with his chest. He later said that it was a goal he had dreamed of scoring since he was a boy.
On December 5, 2006, Ronaldinho scored a low free kick against Werder Bremen in the first round of the Champions League to help Barcelona to a 2-0 win and send them through to the next round. He tricked the Bremen defenders by sending his free-kick under the wall, when his trademark is to bend it high, for Barcelona’s first goal and then picked out team mate Ludovic Giuly who passed to Eidur Gudjohnsen for the second.
On December 14, 2006, Ronaldinho inspired Barcelona to beat Mexico’s Club America 4-0 by scoring one and setting up two other goals to book a spot in the final of the Club World Cup at Yokohama, Japan where Brazil lifted their fifth World Cup trophy in 2002.
On December 17, 2006, at the same Yokohama Stadium, Ronaldinho’s efforts were not enough to beat his ex-rival team, the Sport Club Internacional, from Brazil. Barcelona lost 1-0 in the final. Ronaldinho won the Bronze ball award for the tournament.
The next day Ronaldinho appeared at the World Player of the Year Gala in Zurich to claim third place in the 2006 FIFA World Player of the Year poll, behind the Italian World Cup winning captain Fabio Cannavaro and Zinedine Zidane.
On March 13, 2007, the FC Barcelona playmaker was scheduled to play for Marcello Lippi‘s European XI, but he withdrew because of an injury he picked up during the 3-3 draw with Real Madrid on Saturday evening. Lippi’s squad lost to Sir Alex Ferguson‘s premiership leading Manchester United side by a 4-3 score line.
Ronaldinho is one of few players to have played for Brazil at every footballing level, as he has played at under 15, under 17, under 20, under 23, and senior level. He made his first ever appearance for Brazil playing against Scotland on 7 March 1995 in an under 15s match, Brazil lost the game 1-0.
1997 FIFA Under-17 World Championship
Ronaldinho was part of the first ever Brazilian team to win the 1997 FIFA U-17 World Championship, in Egypt. His first goal was scored from a penalty against Austria in the first group match, which Brazil won 7-0, and eventually went on to finish top of their group. In the quarter-finals Brazil beat Argentina 2-0, in which Ronaldinho was named the Man of the Match after setting up his teammate Fabio Pinto and creating numerous scoring chances. In the semi-finals Brazil had their first game against a European team, they had to play Germany, Brazil won the match 4-0 and Ronaldinho scored the fourth goal with a penalty. In the final Brazil had to play reigning champions Ghana, the game went 1-0 up for Ghana just before the half time break, only for Brazil to win the game 2-1 with the second goal being scored in the 87th minute. During the six matches of the tournament Brazil conceded only 2 goals and scored 21. Ronaldinho was named one of the best players of the tournament, receiving the Bronze Ball award. After the under 17’s championship, he debuted for the Brazilian national team on June 26, 1999 against Latvia in a game which Brazil won 3-0.
1999 FIFA World Youth Championship
Ronaldinho also took part in the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship which took place in Nigeria. As usual, Brazil was favorite to win the trophy. However, they lost their opening match against Spain 2-0. But Brazil managed to finish the group at second place following their victories over Honduras and Zambia, 3-0 and 5-1 respectively. Ronaldinho scored his first goal in Brazil’s last group match and in the round of 16, Ronaldinho helped his team to beat Croatia 4-0 by scoring two first half goals. However, Brazil lost to their old rivals Uruguay 2-1 in the quarter finals.
Copa America 1999
Ronaldinho first tournament participation with the Brazilian national team came in when he was included in the Brazilian squad that won the 1999 Copa América. He scored a goal against Venezuela in the 1999 Copa América, a game that the Brazilian team won 7-0.
1999 FIFA Confederations Cup
Ronaldinho was both top player and scorer in the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup. He scored in all of the games of the tournament including a hat-trick against Saudi Arabia in the semi-finals to give Brazil an 8-2 win. Although Brazil lost to Mexico 4-3 in the final in which Ronaldinho did not participate due to injury.
2002 World Cup
Ronaldinho played a part in Brazil’s successful 2002 campaign to win the World Cup, forming the famed “3 R’s” with Ronaldo and Rivaldo. He scored two goals in the tournament. One of the highlights was an unconventional 30-yard free kick he scored against England in the quarter-finals in Shizuoka. The ball lobbed over the English keeper David Seaman, who was out of position as he expected a pass into the penalty area, to make it 2-1 for Brazil. Soon after, he was sent off for a foul on Danny Mills. Following the sending-off, he was suspended for the semifinal, but returned to Brazil’s starting line-up for the 2-0 victory over Germany in the final.
2005 Confederations Cup
On June 29, 2005, he played a pivotal role as the captain of the Brazilian squad that won its second FIFA Confederations Cup title, and was named Man of the Match in a 4–1 victory over Argentina in the final.
2006 World Cup
In the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Ronaldinho was a starting player for all of Brazil’s five matches, but his performances were considered disappointing by both fans and commentators. He scored no goals and made only one assist (for Gilberto‘s goal in a 4-1 victory over Japan). When Brazil were eliminated by France 1-0 in the quarterfinal, he failed to make an impression.
Immediately after the World Cup disappointment, the team was criticized by many Brazilians, and vandals immolated and destroyed a 7.5-meter (23-foot) tall fiberglass and resin statue of Ronaldinho in the Brazilian city of Chapecó. The statue had been erected in 2004 to celebrate his first election as FIFA World Player of the Year. Two days after the loss, Ronaldinho, joined by Adriano, returned to Barcelona and held a party at his home, which was continued into the early morning hours at a nightclub. This increased the feeling of Brazilian fans that they were betrayed by the lack of effort from their national team. This reaction contrasted with other players such as Rogerio Ceni, who was ashamed of the game and said “some defeats are marked by struggle, but we lost in an infelicitous way, that wasn’t what we had hoped for” and Zé Roberto, who cried and said that “the unity that we had outside the pitch, lacked inside it”.
After the World Cup
After the World Cup, he has played in three of five official matches under Dunga‘s command (one start and two substitute appearances). After coming off the bench against Ecuador, Ronaldinho excelled, creating the winning goal for Kaká and hitting the post twice.
On March 24, 2007, Ronaldinho made his first start for Brazil since September 2006 and scored twice in Brazil’s 4-0 win against Chile, putting an end to a scoreless streak that lasted nearly two years.
Business and trivia
- In December 2005, Ronaldinho and Mauricio de Sousa, a famous Brazilian comic book author, announced the creation of cartoon characters based on Ronaldinho, his brother and his mother. In the UK, the comic is published exclusively in children’s football magazine, KiCK!, while in Spain it is being published by Panini Comics and in Greece by Compupress.
- Ronaldinho appears in advertising campaigns for international companies Nike, Pepsi, ASPIRE, and Lenovo, as well as at least eight brands in Brazil, including Kibon.
- Ronaldinho appears on the front cover of Electronic Arts games FIFA 06, FIFA 07 along with Wayne Rooney, and FIFA 08. He was also on the front cover of FIFA 06: Road to FIFA World Cup on the Xbox 360.
- He has surpassed David Beckham as the most marketable player in the world, generating $57.8m (£30.8m) annually, though still trails Beckham in estimated yearly income.
- After playing a friendly match in Stockholm, Ronaldinho received a trophy rating him as the best Brazilian Player in history, according to a survey by Swedish television.
- Ronaldinho played in the largest friendly football match hosted in the United States when his Barcelona team played Chivas Guadalajara at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.They tied 1-1.
First match: FC Barcelona – Athletic Bilbao 1-0 (30-08-2003)
191 matches – 89 goals(La Liga: 135/66, European Cups: 37/17 (UEFA Cup:7/4, Champions League:30/13), Copa del Rey: 12/4, Supercopa de España: 4/1, UEFA Super Cup: 1/0, FIFA Club World Cup: 2/1
80 caps – 32 goals
Club career statistics
|FIFA World Player of the Year
|World Soccer Player of the Year
|FIFPro World Player of the Year
|UEFA Club Footballer of the Year