- Ronaldinho became a Barcelona hero during an outstanding five-year spell with the club between 2003 and 2008
- The Brazilian, who turned 43 today, March 21, has been credited for spearheading Barcelona's rise to dominance
- Here is what some of Ronaldinho's peers had to say about the 2005 Ballon d'Or winner
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, affectionately known as Ronaldinho, is widely recognised as one of the greatest footballers of all time.
The legendary Brazilian playmaker was always entertaining and dazzled at Paris Saint-Germain, AC Milan and Barcelona.
However, it was his stint at Camp Nou that made him a global icon, making many fall in love with the sport.
He spent five years at Barca, where he played the best football of his career, shining under Dutch manager Frank Rijkaard, with whom he won 5 trophies, including two La Liga crowns and a Champions League scalp in 2006, per Besoccer.
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Ronaldinho also won the Ballon d'Or and World Cup but his charm is not in his honours list or career statistics. Actually, it is in the pure joy he provoked whenever he had the ball at his feet.
He gave football fans a plethora of unforgettable memories and his mastery with the ball was a cut above the rest.
Currently retired, Ronaldinho is hailed as one of football's most gifted players due to his breathtaking skillset
On the occasion of his 43rd birthday, Sports Brief takes a look at what some of Ronaldinho's peers had to say about the great man.
"Ronaldinho was more talented than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo," Deco said as reported by ESPN. "When we didn't know what to do, he would create chances to score." ...sometimes he did things that I never saw anyone else do. When we’d be winning the game, we’d start to enjoy ourselves and he’d bring it all out.”
“Ronaldinho is the biggest idol in football for me. [ . . . ] In my opinion, I think that Ronaldinho, at that time [between 2003 and 2005], was bigger than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Of course, Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi make a lot of goals, but what Ronaldinho used to do was unbelievable. He used to be amazing on the field, and also scored a lot of goals. As his fan, I think he stopped [playing at the top level] a little early. If he continued to play [like earlier in his career] he would certainly be three, four, five times in a row the best player in the world. He was two times [the best player in the world], and then I don’t know what happened, but if he wanted to continue that way, he would certainly be five times in a row the best in the world.”
“There are not many players who can offer goal scoring passes like he can. He is just marvellous. He is a rare case of an assist man who can provide the ball from anywhere.”
“Ronaldinho was virtually unstoppable at his best, as a forward or a playmaker.”
“The best player in history? Ronaldinho. Because when he was at his best nobody could compare. He always had a smile on his face as well. He had skill, scored fantastic goals and put magic into the game.”
“Ronaldinho is the man that makes the difference between a team that plays well and another that is really memorable. He alone can decide one game.”
Ruud van Nistelrooy:
“Ronaldinho is total class – a very, very great player. He is quick, powerful, and has extraordinary technical qualities. He is a dribbler but is also a player who can make the play for his teammates. He’s not really a No.10, a true organizer. He’s more a second attacker who can score goals and has the vision to make them.”
“I learned a lot from Ronaldinho and Robinho. Football is a tactical game and you sometimes have to be serious. But they taught me to always do it with a smile and have fun. I spent hours watching their clips on youtube.”
“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barça. It was a bad time and the change that came about with his arrival was amazing. In the first year, he didn’t win anything but people fell in love with him. Then the trophies started coming and he made all those people happy. Barça should always be grateful for everything he did.”
“For years we didn't win anything at Barcelona, then Ronaldinho arrived. He's the most important player in our history."
Ronaldinho thrills fans in Guinea
Meanwhile, football fans in Guinea were thrilled by the magical feet of Brazil legend, Ronaldinho, following his visit to the West African country.
The former Barcelona star had been in Conakry for a charity event to raise funds for the Grassroot African Youth Cup tournament.
Ronaldinho met high-profile personalities in Guinea, including former player, Pascal Feidouno and diminutive musician, Grande P.
Ronaldinho's son joins Barcelona
Sports Brief also reported on the son of Brazil's legendary Ronaldinho, Joao Mendes de Asis Moreira, joining his father's former club.
The yount talent inked a deal to join the Barcelona under-19 team as he began his career outside his South American homeland.
Before moving to Spain to join the Catalan giants after being scouted, 17-year-old Mendes played for the Brazilian outfit, Cruzeiro.