Thursday, December 29, 2011


Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (born 21 March 1980 in Porto Alegre), commonly known as Ronaldinho or Ronaldinho Gaúcho, is a Brazilian footballer who plays for Flamengo and the Brazilian national team as an attacking midfielder or forward. He is a two-time winner of the FIFA World Player of the Year, awarded to the best player over the year. He won the award in both 2004 and 2005.

"Ronaldinho," the diminutive and term of endearment for "Ronaldo," is accompanied in Brazilian usage by the nickname "Gaúcho," in order to distinguish him from fellow footballer and countryman Ronaldo, who was known as "Ronaldinho" in Brazil beforehand. Ronaldo simply went by his first name upon his move to Europe, thereby allowing Ronaldinho to drop the "Gaúcho" and go by the name Ronaldinho abroad.

Prior to his move to Flamengo, he played for Paris Saint-Germain F.C., FC Barcelona and A.C. Milan. With the Spanish club, he won his first Champions League in 2006 and the Ballon d'Or in 2005. He became a Spanish citizen in January 2007.

He was also named in the FIFA 100, a list of the greatest footballers compiled by fellow countryman Pelé, and in the FIFPro World XI consecutively from 2004–2007.

Ronaldinho was born in the city of Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul. His mother, Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos (daughter of Enviro Assis), is a former salesperson who studied to become a nurse. His father, João de Assis Moreira, was a shipyard worker and footballer for local club Esporte Clube Cruzeiro (not to be confused with Cruzeiro). He suffered a fatal heart attack in the family swimming pool when Ronaldinho was eight. After Ronaldinho's older brother, Roberto, signed with Grêmio, the family moved to a home in the more affluent Guarujá section of Porto Alegre, which was a gift from Grêmio to convince Roberto to stay at the club. Roberto's career was ultimately cut short by injury.

Ronaldinho's football skills began to blossom at the of age 8, and he was first given the nickname Ronaldinho because he was often the youngest and the smallest player in youth club matches. He developed an interest in futsal and beach football, which later expanded to organized football. His first brush with the media came at the age of thirteen, when he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team. Ronaldinho was identified as a rising star at the 1997 U-17 World Championship in Egypt, in which he scored two goals on penalty kicks.

Today, Roberto acts as Ronaldinho's manager, while his sister Deisi works as his press coordinator. Ronaldinho became a father for the first time on 25 February 2005, after Brazilian dancer Janaína Mendes gave birth to their son, who was named João after Ronaldinho's late father.

Ronaldinho's 2005 Nike advertisement, where he is given a new pair of boots and then proceeds to juggle a football and repeatedly volley it against the crossbar of a goal and recover it without the ball touching the ground, went viral on YouTube, becoming the site's first video to reach one million views.

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