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Messi vs Ronaldo: Analysing where Ronaldinho fits in the equation

Fewer trophies. Not consistent enough. Yet he had a unique skill of his own. Analyzing Ronaldinho's era in Barcelona!

Last updated: 27.04.2019
Messi vs Ronaldo: Analysing where Ronaldinho fits in the equation | Sports Social Blog

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After Ronaldo (Brazilian) changed the perception of an orthodox number 9 position, Ronaldinho just went out there and changed the complete perception of what a footballer could do with the ball. He brought the tricks and flicks of Futsal to a full-sized football field for an astonishing full 90 minutes. It wasn't just about the tricks but he matched it all up with his breathtaking finish and pinpoint assists. One of the most astonishing strikes in the history of the game was that against Chelsea in 2004 in which the only moving part on the whole pitch was his foot. Everything else was on a standstill. And boom, the ball is in the back of the net. Not every defender dared to come close to him because of his quick feet and pure class.

In his years at Barcelona, he was an epitome of consistency coupled with genius. Even rival fans also couldn't help but applaud his magic with the ball. Santiago Bernabeu was one such ground where even Madrid fans applauded the genius that is Ronaldinho Gaúcho. Many people claim that he was a waste of talent. It is quite scary if you just look at his trophy cabinet and you can find the World Cup, Copa America, Copa Libertadores, and the Champions League. It also includes various league titles over the years. From his behavior, it was obvious that he just didn't like Football, he enjoyed life and wanted others to enjoy it too. But if you ask him about a thing that he regrets in his life? He claims that he has been grateful for what he has got but still regrets that he couldn't play more with Messi. But actually, we should be rather grateful because, in this modern era of corrupt, greed and negativity, football can still and even could be played with a smile on your face. There is no greater legacy than this.


Here we take a look at his time at Barcelona of what is termed by many as the best years of his career:

Barcelona's forgotten nightmare: It was the time when Lionel Messi was still a promising youngster at La Masia. Just before Ronaldinho's signing in the start of the 2003-04 season, Barcelona were having a season to forget. Midway into the 2002-03 season, Van Gaal was shown the door after a string of below-par performances which saw them just three points off the relegation places. They had more losses than wins in the league. They also lost to Juventus in the quarter-final of the Champions League.

The Transfer paradox: In this period of crisis, Lapota took over as top executive of the club. But he failed to lure David Beckham to Camp Nou and Beckham joined their fierce rivals instead. And as a result of that, an enthusiastic Brazilian midfielder was selected as the perfect man for the job. But having seen their star midfielder leave that summer, Manchester United were on the hunt of their own. Ronaldinho almost signed for United before a deal was presented to him and he was offered to become the ‘next R’ in the series of Brazilians including Ronaldo, Rivaldo and Romario and he loved that. In a story filled with drama, Barcelona was able to sign perhaps the most important signing for the club even better than Johan Cruyff in 1977. And what followed was that he was able to change the negative spiral revolving around the club.

The beginning of an age: Because of a scheduling dispute in the lead-up to the international break, his Blaugrana debut against Sevilla started at just five past midnight on September 2003. 80,000 came in to watch their new Brazilian signing in action in the league. And no one was left disappointed because at just around 1:30 he picked the ball inside his own half and skipped past two players and unleash a 30-yard drive which saw its way into the back of the net. Although Barcelona just managed to get a draw out of it, he bought back faith among the fans again. After a sluggish start under Frank Rijkaard in the 2003-04 season, a turn of form saw them go unbeaten from mid-January till May. They managed to finish second in the league and he was certainly putting smiles back on the faithful. He ended the season with 15 goals and 11 assists to his name.

  1. Utter dominance in the next two seasons: In the very next season 2004-05, he oversaw Barcelona clinching the League title in some fashion. On 1 May 2005, Ronaldinho made a pinpointed assist for Messi. It was as if passing of the torch to his protégé. In the following year, Barcelona managed to claim that much-coveted double by winning both the UEFA Champions League and the League title. He was named as the FIFA Player of the year in both 2004 and 2005. He also won the Ballon d'Or in 2005. On 19 November 2005, he scored two of the three goals at Santiago Bernabeu and the rival fans were forced to give a standing ovation to the Brazilian midfielder. He ended up with a career-best stats of 26 goals, pulling the club out of a debt-ridden, trophy-less state to its current era.

It's hard to believe that it was the toothy-grinned wizard that was behind all this! Sometimes it's not just about statistics, they hide more than they show in this regard.

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