Before Neymar and Cristiano Ronaldo, the man who took Lionel Messi under his wing, the maestro of skilful football – Ronaldinho Gaúcho.
After bursting onto the scene following that freekick against England in the 2002 World Cup, Ronaldinho paved the way for the emergence of sexy football.
This week, Fenerbahce’s trickster winger Nani revealed his belief that Ronaldinho is the greatest footballer in history – the Portugal international stated that, during his prime at Barcelona, the Brazilian had no equal:
“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.”
Of course there were skilful players before Ronaldinho, but none could compare to the level of influence held by the Brazilian – his talent was used to inspire millions:
5. The FlipFlap/Elastico
When this move was first witnessed, NASA assembled the worlds greatest scientific minds for an emergency summit. Here was a man who could bend the laws of physics… how could we use him!? Not a move for the amateur trickster, as Zlatan illustrates:
4. ‘No Look’ Passing
Ever tried playing football with your eyes shut? The old adage “keep your eye on the ball” was evidently not imposed on Ronaldinho as a child.
3. Patented Freekicks
The original showman. We’ve all seen Ronaldo’s shoulder width pose, but in the early 2000’s Ronaldinho’s 2 giant strides at a right angle to the ball is what every amateur footballer was copying in the pre-match warm-up… before scuffing it into the ground.
2. Hocus Pocus
One of Ronaldinho’s most aesthetic skills, requiring hours of practice on the training ground for one moment of genius on the field.
1. ‘Joga Bonito’
Don’t be alarmed and do not adjust your screen. An absolutely hypnotic piece of skill from Nike’s timeless Joga Bonito campaign. I haven’t checked, but I’m assuming Joga Bonito is the brand name of Nike’s new superglue-adhesive product, demonstrated within this otherwise seemingly impossible clip…