If one had to show an example to the kids, kids who aspire to be footballers. An example of a well-known and talented football player who had it all but lost it. Whose would it be?
Ronaldo de Assis Moreira aka Ronaldinho would be the first name that would come to mind. As seasoned fans of the game, we are familiar with the amount of time (season/s) it could take for a person to rise and fall equally.
A player for whom, I had personally scraped together my stipend,so that I could buy a shirt with his name on it (the fake one). A player that I remember postponing my own final exams in college to watch, someone who had never ceased to amaze me, a player I wanted to play like; turned out to be a footballer that had given rise to a sort of repulse. One, which was purely based on how a person could throw away everything, he had.
He himself was the reason behind his own fall. His rapid decline rightfully started from the 2007 season and so on to about the time he left AC Milan. It seemed like he had hit a wall. A wall of a kind that a runner hits when he/she recognizes that, a few more steps and it’s over. Motivation was lost and the drive to be the best was no more. A string of lack luster performances followed by his night out escapades in Barcelona played a huge role in his demise. He was a party animal; let’s get that straight. Multiple speculations exist, but I will leave others to demystify it.
Besides, the sight in the below picture did not help either. I got a bulge but I am not playing. He can’t have that. Not at that level.
But all said and done, do I take off the amount of years and the many moments of just breathtaking performances, he had provided. Especially, between 2004 – 2006 while he was in Barcelona. I can’t. It would be erroneous of me to do so. It would be easier to spend countless hours reminiscing about all those magnificent moves, passes and goals that he had been a part of.
Out of them, the two, I can specifically remember.
One, while at PSG playing against Marseille, that one moment of brilliance where he gets past two players with two touches on the ball.
The other, in the Classico of 2005, away at Santiago Bernabéu.
One cannot forget that.
The performance, the art, the cleverness displayed by the Brazilian magician. Absolutely brilliant. Absolutely majestic. To a point that even the fans at the Bernabeu rose in agreement to give a round of applause to the Brazilian, the like of which had never been seen before. If you need to be reminded, here is the highlight of the game.
I, for one, surely know that if there is one thing that makes me happy, that one thing that keeps me involved and excites me about the sport, it would be: watching a player use his talent to get through the opposition. Only Messi is the one as far as I know, who does it in a level that was similar to that of Ronaldinho’s. Addionally, why do I still enjoy watching him? Not because he is remarkably skillful or just a pleasure to watch, but would be due to his ability to smile while he plays. Good or bad game, this lad smiles. Got to give credit to him for that. Gives you an idea of how much he enjoys playing the sport, as this is what football stands for.
To me personally, Ronaldinho has proven himself. He rose from the streets of Rio, made his way through to playing for one of the best clubs in the world, fell back into a humiliating milieu and is presently recovering from that. His current performances for Flamengo and recent inclusions in the national team can justify that
Regardless of what the critics say, the chances are quite low of us watching another player like him in the near future – Period.
Take a bow Ronaldinho, take a bow. You have been a true entertainer.
PS: For those who do not like Ronaldinho, this article by Rod Beilfuss would be relevant.