On March 21, 41 years ago, an event took place that will later directly impact our future football destiny. The future Magician of the ball came to this world, whose spectacular game led to the fact that football at the beginning of zero with a large gap from the pursuers was able to win the race for the title of sport №1 in the world. "El Brujo de Porto Alegre", Ronaldo di Asis Moreira. However, you have heard more about this man in the context of his nickname Ronaldinho.
The guy from the Joyful Port
At 1:26 a.m. on September 3, 2003, a seismic station in Barcelona recorded a small earthquake. However, it was caused not by tectonic plates' movement but by 80,237 balls, which celebrated Ronaldinho's first goal in a blue-garnet shirt. The Wizard will not stop there. And in the following seasons, he will score 93 more goals for Barca. But that was not the main thing. The fans loved the Brazilian for his charm on the field. And for 90 minutes of the match, fans found themselves in a magical country ruled by King Ronnie.
He was born on March 21, 1980, in Porto Alegre. The name of this city in the south of Brazil means "Joyful Port." It's more like a bad joke because there are thousands of favelas in Porto Alegre, where people barely make ends meet. The majority of the population here can only dream of electricity and clean water. Wooden houses often stand without windows and doors or resemble a patched pile.
However, the football god eventually wanted Porto Alegre to live up to its name at least once, and it was in one of these "villas" in Joyful Port that the player with the most sincere smile in the world was born. Seeing his joy, the fans never remained indifferent and reciprocated Gaucho. If laughter prolongs life, then fans who enjoyed the Brazilian's magic will live to be a hundred years old.
Little Ronaldo di Assis Moreira dreams of becoming a footballer. His father, Juan, works at the shipyard, and in his spare time, he plays for EC Cruzeiro. But do not confuse this club with a powerful namesake from Belo Horizonte. The finances of this modest team have always sung romances, and the only thing Juan brought home to his children from there was a love of football. Sometimes in Brazil, the villains turn into princes. Football often helps these metamorphoses.
Roberto was the first in the Juan family to pave the way. Signing a contract with Gremio will help the family get back on its feet and leave the favelas. The new club wanted to tie the talented Roberto to itself and therefore gave him a house in a prestigious area. Ronnie also didn't want to lag behind his brother. At the age of 11, the boy was noticed by Belo Horizonte, where he will receive his first nickname. Our hero was so tiny that he was not called Ronaldo, but Ronaldinho.
In 1993, the whole of Brazil started talking about the baby. Many publications then interviewed an unknown guy. Ronnie became famous for scoring 23 goals in one of the matches. Sorry, no videos from this game have been saved. So now many claim that this is another legend, which is so rich in Brazilian land. "It's not fiction at all. But those children played fatally. They perceived football as entertainment, and I was already playing for the youth team. That's why our forces turned out to be too unequal.
In the coming seasons, it will never be so easy for me to score goals as then, "said Ronaldinho. By honing his technique on the grass and while playing futsal, the boy grows like yeast. His father will soon die of a heart attack in the pool of a new house. His mother will be everything to him from then on, and his brother will be his idol. "Roberto is a real hero to me. He became an example as a father, brother, and footballer, "Ronaldinho said in an interview. The Magician will follow in his footsteps not only to Gremio but also much further, to Europe.
Applause at the Santiago Bernabeu
For Barcelona, Ronaldinho has become a backup option. In 2003, during the election campaign, Blaugranas presidential candidate Joan Laporte promised David Beckham. Voters believed him, and a lawyer headed the club. However, as is often the case, the president did not keep his promise. Despite an agreement with Manchester United, Barcelona failed to find common ground with the Englishman's agent.
Eventually, events unfolded according to the worst-case scenario for Laporte. And Beckham was in Real. "We went to Nice to persuade David to move to Barcelona. Negotiations lasted several days. David kept feeding us promises: 'I haven't decided yet. Give me more time to think. "But we're tired of waiting, and we signed Ronaldinho," said Laporta. Joan did not yet know that Plan B would be much better than his original goal. Ronaldinho will be the footballer who will again make Barcelona a team in front of which the whole world will tremble.
Gaucho moved to more than a club when he hit the black bar. In the 2002/2003 season, the Blaugranas finished sixth in La Liga, the Catalans' worst result in 15 years. The Magician will help Barcelona regain its former splendor and significantly replenish its trophy collection - the Champions League, two championships, and two Spanish Super Cups. Not bad. However, when we talk about Ronnie, the many glowing toys do not matter.
When the Brazilian left Barcelona, Kules did not mention trophies but his magic. Although Barcelona lost to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the 1/8 finals of the 2004/05 Champions League, everyone still remembers the impressive goalless attempt Ronnie scored for the Czech Republic. Or the ball through the goal of Atletico. There was magic in every Gaucho feint. Even Billy Wingrove, one of the best football freestylers, envied Ronaldinho: "I'm good with the ball, but looking at it, I understand that I care about it like heaven. It seems that nothing is impossible for Ronnie. And I can't understand how the Brazilian became so cool? "
In 2005, Ronnie will already be playing in gold shoes. Not golden - he has hundreds of them. Nike decided to give the Wizard shoes that would match his magic and developed shoes for the Brazilian, decorated with 24-carat gold. The company used a similar material in 2000 in the manufacture of sneakers for Michael Jordan. His Air was one of the idols of the Brazilian. And Ronnie was delighted when he was also presented with these fabulous shoes. Nike has always been able to count money. That's why gold boots are not a waste of money. They became part of a well-planned advertising campaign for the American brand. On the eve of the 2006 World Cup, Nike promoted the R10, the world's best footballer, winner of the Spanish Championship and the Champions League.
At the same time, another nickname of the Brazilian was born. "In the family, we don't call him Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Digno, or Ronnie. For us, he is the R10 - the only one and unique," says the Magician's brother. On February 14, 2005, Chad Hurley, Steve Chen, and Javed Karim created YouTube. The first video's main character, which crossed the iconic mark in a million views, was Ronnie. There you can see how the Brazilian casually hits the crossbar several times. It is now claimed that this video is fake. But Ronnie denies it. And he can be trusted, because for the Magician several times in a row to get into the crossbar - once to spit.
Of course, one cannot ignore the play presented to the public by the genius actor on November 19, 2005. Ronnie brought Real to his knees that day, and the Santiago Bernabeu praised the Brazilian's impressive performance. After the Magician's second goal, the camera snatched two Blancos fans to Madrid's goal, who applauded the fantastic Brazilian. Many asked where such a reaction came from and why Madrid reacted so much to Ronaldinho's game.
First of all, it should be said that the fans at the Santiago Bernabeu were not blind. On that day, the love for real art prevailed over fidelity to club colors. Surprise from the Catalan leader's performance made fans forget for a while about the disastrous game of Real. Also, despite all the Royal Club Florentino Perez president's statements, fans with this applause hinted to him that there was only one real galactico on the field that day, and he played for the Catalans.
It was not the first time that Real Madrid fans paid tribute to a sworn enemy. On June 26, 1983, a dozen Catalans ran from the center of the field in the League Cup final, beating the blanks in packs, and sewed the goalkeeper into fools. Instead of sending the ball into the empty net, the Barcelona player waited until the defender of the royal club returned and tried to take away his sphere. Then a dozen Barcelona again outscored the defender and only then scored a goal.
After this incredible ball, the Madrid audience burst into applause. This Barcelona player was Diego Maradona. "I will never forget that match. You can count on the fingers of one-hand players who would have experienced something similar during their career. To feel the sympathy of Real fans was something extraordinary and highly emotional. Their applause is priceless for me. I want from the bottom of my heart to thank them for that, "recalls the Brazilian.
In 2005 and 2006, Ronaldinho was undoubtedly the best player in the world. And it seemed that he would dominate world football as much as he wanted. Unfortunately, he lost his motivation, and Ronnie's career took a turn for the worse. It happens so often - when you fly up to the sun, you can burn your wings.
"Of course, we are worried about R10's behavior. We paid a lot of money for Ronaldinho, and we are not very happy to poke our noses into his private life. But he left us no choice." Flamengo President Patricia Amorin said these words in 2011. For a long time now, no one has called Gaucho, the best footballer in the world. The turbulent nightlife multiplied Ronaldinho's physics to zero. He lost or broke his wand in many entertainment venues and became a mediocre player who got into trouble much more often than he did wonders for football.
To save Ronaldinho from herself, Patricia pulled up heavy artillery and called his older brother to the carpet. Unfortunately, it didn't help much. Then the management of Flamengo created a special telephone line for fans. Torsida had to call her and inform the club about the Magician's night marches. The situation turned out to be much more catastrophic than Patricia and Co. had suggested. The line was cut off from constant calls. Flamengo had to put five people on their phones. At first, they did not believe what they were told, but the reality was often even more horrific.
Ronnie's problems with the regime began before he moved to Barcelona. His nightlife caused a black cat to run between the Brazilian and then-PSG coach Luis Fernandez. "He could not train for a whole week and then come on Friday, and on Saturday we played a match. We understood that it was Ronaldinho, and he often lost what everyone else would have put out the door a long time ago. But it could not go on forever, and even then, I assumed that his career would not belong.
"Unfortunately, I wasn't wrong," said Jerome Leroy, a former Brazilian partner. Luis Fernandez claimed that Ronnie lacked "hygiene in life." The coach often punished the Brazilian by sitting on a bench. One day, after a Christmas break, R10 returned to the club five days late, and the footballer excused himself: "I have a toothache. I don't trust Parisian doctors, so I had to stay in Brazil while my fellow dentist cured me. "
Love for alcohol, parties, women, and alcohol spread to Gaucho in all his clubs. And in the national team, he did not resemble a Puritan. In 2007, Ronnie escaped from the paparazzi's lens by hiding in the trunk of a car. Brazilian journalists sniffed out a large-scale party that lasted from Thursday evening to Friday noon. Several top prostitutes of the Brazilian national team ordered 40 condoms for it. Then - more. When Ronnie played for Milan, he booked a hotel for a three-day party. The fact that the party took place on the eve of the derby did not stop the Wizard.
The party cost the Brazilian 75,000 euros and defeats in the match against Inter. When the Rossoneri fans met the Wizard at night a few days later, they wanted more than just autographs. The fans of Milan asked the Brazilian to go home as soon as possible. In July 2014, Ronnie left the locker room of Atletico Mineiro and said goodbye to colleagues as he did every day: "Goodbye guys!" He will not see his partners again. Gaucho had a few days off, but he decided to continue the festivals and went ashore when the vacation was over. On July 28, 2014, Atletico Mineiro broke off contact with Ronaldinho. On September 5, Roberto's brother transferred the 2005 Golden Ball winner to modest Mexican Queretaro.
"Dad is always with me"
"It's for you, Manolo," Ronnie celebrates a goal against Betis, using the corner flag as a microphone. He points to the commentary booth. Behind the glass sits Manel Wich, the legendary voice of Camp Nou. Ronnie calls him his friend. The commentator was going through hard times as fans ruthlessly criticized Manel. A few hours before the match with Betis, Vich accurately described to the Brazilian how he would score a goal: "You will score in the second half of the match, at the gate near the north stand." At night, the Brazilian will visit for the first time a man who created an incredible atmosphere at the Camp Nou every match. The Magician came to thank Vic.
Ronnie was not only a magician on the football field, the king of nightlife, and a friend of the old commentator. He took care of Leo Messi when he made his first steps in adult football. The boy from Porto Alegre, despite a difficult childhood, managed to achieve incredible success. He learned to play football almost as fast as walking. The first defender to try to stop Ronnie's rapid passage to the goal was his dog. Unfortunately, the father could not enjoy his son's triumph. "At first, I didn't feel sad; it came later. It wasn't until a few years later that I realized he would never come back. But I want you to know that every time the ball is in my feet, I feel like Dad next to me, "Ronaldinho says with tears in his eyes.
The man who laughs
Although Ronnie did not officially hang his shoes on January 16, 2018, his career ended much earlier. "He did not conquer the peaks he could with such a unique gift from God," it is difficult to disagree with Jerome Leroy's words. However, Ronnie does not regret anything; he just enjoys life. A smile never leaves his mouth. He always gave joy to the fans and helped them to distract from the hard days.
And for these emotions, fans adored the Brazilian no less than for the fantastic goals and feints. He was constantly smiling. Ronnie did not hide his teeth a la Bugs Bunny, not to mention the current Hollywood smile. The Brazilian commented on his tooth straightening operation, which cost him 50,000 euros: "I'm a cute monster who has now become a little more beautiful."
It isn't easy to find a footballer whose career could be briefly described by the title of one of Victor Hugo's immortal novels. Ronaldinho laughed in the tunnel that led to the field; on the lawn; when celebrating a goal, embracing partners; when he greeted the audience and when he played; when thanking opponents after the match; and when he shook hands with the fans. He laughed even when he made a child's mistake. The Brazilian also smiled sarcastically at rivals who could do nothing with him, and in despair, threw him on the lawn. Ronaldinho laughed with a pleading look on his face, trying to persuade the judge not to show him a red card.