Ronaldinho - the ever-smiling Brazilian genius

Playing in a star-studded Brazilian team that featured the likes of Ronaldo and Rivaldo - Ronaldinho scored 33 goals.

Ronaldinho (left) and Carlos Gamarra of Paraguay vie for the ball during a South American qualifying round match.   -  AFP

One of the top players of his generation, Ronaldinho (Ronaldo de Assis Moreira) played as an attacking midfielder and as part of the frontline for Brazil and the many clubs he represented. Nimble footed, technical brilliance and with quick reflexes, Ronaldinho was, to say the least, a dazzler on the pitch.

Ronaldinho’s professional career spanned 15 years (1998 to 2013) and was a winner of 97 caps for Brazil. Playing in a star-studded Brazilian team that featured Ronaldo, Rivaldo, Cafu, Roberto Carlos, Kaka, among others - Ronaldinho scored 33 goals.

One of the best goals of his career came against England in the quarterfinal of the 2002 World Cup against England. Taking a free-kick from beyond 40 yards, Ronaldinho curled the ball into the top-left corner, leaving legendary England goalkeeper David Seaman stranded in disbelief.

 

Ronaldinho won numerous individual and team awards over the course of his career. The biggest of the lot was winning the 2002 World Cup for Brazil. But, winning 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Boot and Golden Ball and being named the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005 were massive achievements, too!

Ronaldinho was part of a Brazil team that won the 2008 Olympics bronze medal. Despite being fairly young (30 then), he didn’t make it to Brazil’s 2010 squad. He was also left out of the 2014 World Cup hosted by Brazil. His last national appearance came in an international friendly against Chile in April 2013.