Ronaldinho is the most popular footballer to grace the game. Finding someone who doesn’t like the Brazilian would be like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
But why does every fan feel the need to have such an attachment to the Barcelona man? Why does every fan feel the need to take 10 minutes out their day to read a letter he’d write to an 8-year-old Ronaldinho?
We wouldn’t take this length of time out of our day for anyone else. But, for Ronnie, we would; we’d turn to football nostalgia, share and comment on social media because he wrote short and cheesy lines such as…
“Play as he told you to play.
Play with the ball.”
We lap it up. It makes it even more peculiar when looking at English fans. We don’t care the magician scored *that* free-kick in 2002; we make it an iconic symbol. For once, England actually had a decent team in that period, and could have done something in South Korea. Yet, we go as far as to make his free-kick part of our history, as if he did us a favour.
You’ve then got Chelsea fans. How many times did the Barca man knock them out the Champions League with the No. 10’s brilliance? He pretty much single-handedly did it twice, and all in the space of 10 seconds in each game. Yet, there’s an appreciation and respect for the attacking-midfielder at Stamford Bridge, that you wouldn’t see had that been the likes of a Cristiano Ronaldo doing the same.
Ronaldinho on the toughest opponent: "In Europe it was Chelsea. We played against them every year in the CL – it was always fierce.” pic.twitter.com/KyvUjY7wvF
— ️ (@AddictedToCFC) January 31, 2017
Of course, we all love the former Barca man because of his genius as a player. The saying of ‘a player’s ability to make something out of nothing’, could not be more apt for the attacking-midfielder. *That* game in 2005 at the Santiago Bernabéu where Barcelona turned Real Madrid over 3-0 says that more than anything.
An intensity when moving forward which can not be replicated. Sure, when Lionel Messi attacks, it’s with skill and guile, but when Ronaldinho did it, there was more pace, more strength and just as much skill. You also know you’re a popular figure when you get applauded by Real Madrid fans as a Barcelona player…
So why do we all like him so much? Yes, his brilliance is personified not just by that game in the Spanish capital, but also by his back-to-back winning of of FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005. But, there’s certainly been better goalscorers than him. The Brazilian doesn’t even compare to the likes of Lionel Messi, as he’s only once achieved over 20 goals in a league season in his playing career.
The answer is obvious why we all love him. He’s not a robot. He’s not just a cliche marketing machine, who will get in his underwear, and post on his Instagram to get over a million likes at the drop of the hat. He was just like any of us. Loved a party, loved a laugh, entertaining in interviews; just down to earth and genuine.
You only need to look at his former PSG teammate, Jerome Leroy, to see this genuine/average Joe side to Ronaldinho. The Brazilian who couldn’t be kept from having a good time…
“Ronaldinho didn’t train any day of the week and would just turn up on a Friday for the game on Saturday”
“I think he was trying to follow in the steps of Romario, who would also go out every night, but he didn’t have the same success.”
“Every morning he’d come in with sunglasses. He’d get changed and he’s go straight to the massage bed to sleep.”
Yes, it’s infuriating that a player with such a gift would be hungover four days out of seven. Of course, the opportunity to play football every day, yet turn your nose up to it because you want to meet girls and have fun seems shallow and an attitude of taking things for granted. But this character is why we love him, this natural footballing ability, coupled with a human side just like all of us in our 9-to-5; a Brazilian always smiling and dancing. Ronaldinho – forever irreplaceable.
Of course you won’t forget Ronaldinho played for Barca, but we guarantee you would have forgot these chaps played for the Spanish giants…