With his illustrious career at Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona, AC Milan and his native Brazil, Ronaldinho wrote himself into the history books as one of the game’s greatest ever players.
The ultimate showman, the inimitable Brazil playmaker was the modern football club’s dream: unrivalled flair and a will to win.
Ronaldinho, who officially retired this week, was one of the rarest talents in that you’d pay to watch him and him alone, regardless of which team he was in. So much more than a show pony, the attacking midfielder affected every game he played in with unparalleled dribbling skills, a fierce shot and a range of passing Andrea Pirlo would have been proud of.
He played with the best players (Lionel Messi, Kaka) and under the finest coaches (Carlo Ancelotti, Frank Rijkaard of a generation, and here’s what some people had to say about a man who won it all in style.
“Ronaldinho is total class – a very, very great player.”
“I’d never seen a player like that. It was my early knockings in the Champions League and seeing him play was like, ‘Wow, this player is from a different planet to the rest of us.'”
“Ronaldinho was responsible for the change in Barca. 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. Barca should always be grateful for everything he did.”
“Ronaldinho was more talented than Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. When we didn’t know what to do, he would create chances to score.”
“Ronaldinho is a champion. I hope he continues in this way because he is a great, and you see that he has a great desire to do well.”
“He is one of the greatest players I have ever seen.”
“He is one of the strongest champions of all time.”
“When I was at Barcelona, he was at the height of his career. Absolutely fantastic, the things he could do with the ball, and also the passing game he had was fantastic.”
“He transmits a lot of joy and pleasure playing the game, and he has individual skills that are of such a high level that everybody in the world adores him.”
“Magic feet, but was not just about tricks – he created and scored the goals to match his ability.”
“This is not normal. He’s not normal, he never has been. He lives in the magnetic spectrum.
“What a goal this is. Beyond world-class. Astonishing. Cooler than a bomb disposal expert. That is amazing piece of football finishing by King Ronaldinho.”
“The important thing is to play with champions, and Ronaldinho without doubt is one of them.”
“There was a period in Ronaldinho’s time at Barcelona where he was almost unplayable.
“Effortless, relaxed, always with a smile on his face, he’s a genius with the ball. I love Brazilian football and he is one of the best ever players from that country.”
“No one can compare to Ronaldinho. I remember his plays, his dribbles. I remember him winning every title at the Camp Nou. He made history at Barca, he made history with Brazil, and he’s still making history.”
“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.”
“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.”
Ruud van Nistelrooy
“I just can’t get enough of watching him play – he’s a delight for the eye.”
“For skills and tricks, Ronaldinho was the best player I’ve played with.”
“I played against him when he first came to Europe to play for Paris Saint Germain in 2001 and even then you could tell he would one day become the best player in the world. He has unbelievable skill and so many tricks in his repertoire.”