Ronaldo do Assis Moreira, more commonly known as Ronaldinho, retired from football on Tuesday.
The announcement was made by his brother in an interview with Brazilian media O Globo. The former Barcelona legend has not played a professional game since leaving Fluminense back in 2015.
The Brazilian made his European debut with the French side, Paris Saint Germain, back in 2001. But he truly burst onto the world stage when he joined Barcelona in 2003. During his time at Barcelona, he captured the world’s imagination with his style of play. The flashy moves and the way he played endeared him to football supporters worldwide.
During his time at Barcelona, he led the team to a league title in ’04-’05 and ’05-’06’. He was instrumental in the Catalan side winning the Champions League in the ’05-’06 season against Arsenal. He was also part of the 2002 World Cup-winning Brazil side.
While the Brazilian wowed fans with his joyous style of play and infectious smile, his life outside of football frustrated coaches during his time at Barcelona. His fitness was an issue during the latter part of his time at Barcelona and with the team struggling following the Champions League title-winning season, he became a focal point of fan frustration. It ultimately played a factor in Pep Guardiola shipping him out to AC Milan prior to the start of the 2008-09 season.
Following his stint in Italy, he returned to Brazil to play with the likes of Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro, and Fluminense. In between, he also played for Mexican side, Queretaro. He also returned to Barcelona where he was declared an official ambassador for the club.
He arguably marked a before-and-after for Barcelona. The way he played reminded everyone that football is supposed to be fun and, when things were going well, no one had more fun than Ronaldinho. No one will forget his game at the Santiago Bernabeu against Real Madrid where he scored a brace and led Barcelona to a 3-0 win. His performance was so sublime, that it prompted the Madrid faithful to give him a standing ovation.
Ronaldinho did it all. He won a league title, a Champions League, a World Cup, and a Ballon d’Or. It’s a shame we only had a few years to enjoy peak-Ronaldinho but whenever he played, those games were must-see.
To Ronaldinho we say, “Muito obrigado!”