Many call him a magician while some just label him as the best player of all time because of his trickery, skills and dribble. Ronaldinho Gaucho is one player that everybody loves to watch.
Ronaldinho burst onto the international scene as a teenager at the 1997 FIFA Under-17 World Cup. He also led his country to World Cup glory in 2002 where he scored an unbelievable freekick against England that led to David Seaman’s retirement.
The Brazilian legend has played with so many football greats like Ronaldo de Lima, Rivaldo, Andrea Pirlo, David Beckham, Samuel Eto’o just to mention a few.
Ronaldinho was twice voted World Player of the Year and has enjoyed a stellar career playing for the likes of Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan.
Returning to Brazil in 2011, Ronaldinho played for Flamengo and Atlético Mineiro before he enjoyed a short spell at Querétaro in Mexico. Again returning to play for Fluminense in July last year, Ronaldinho became a free agent after a series of poor performances and has since been the centre of constant speculation about where his next club may be.
Here are 7 facts you didn’t know about Ronaldinho
#1. He scored 23 goals in a match
Ronaldinho’s talent wasn’t exactly hard to spot. At the tender age of 13 he knocked 23 goals past a side in his local youth league which resulted in his first brush with the media.
The Brazilian was later selected for the Gremio youth squad before he starred for Brazil in the Under-17 World Cup. While he never achieved the same feats in his professional career, he can certainly be proud of his efforts as he went on to score multiple hat-tricks for both club and country.
#2 His Nike commercial was the first Youtube video to reach 1 million views
We’ve all seen it. The 2005 Nike advert which saw Ronaldinho try on a new pair of boots before smashing the crossbar four times without letting the ball touch the ground.
The advertisement was described by Nike as the video which “broke the internet”, and it was later confirmed as the first video to reach 1 million views on Youtube. While there was much speculation regarding the authenticity of the video, we can call agree that Ronaldinho’s juggling skills were second to none.
Now more than 10 years old, Nike celebrated the anniversary of the video by releasing a remastered version of the video along with a limited edition line of “Golden Touch” boots.
3 Ronaldinho REALLY loves his cars
It is not unusual for rich athletes to drive fancy cars, but Ronaldinho’s collection of luxurious rides takes it to the next level. Among the cars in his collection are an Audi Q7, a Porsche, a Hummer 2 and a $1.3 million Bugatti Veyron, the latter being one of the fastest cars on the planet with a top speed of 253 miles per hour, a W16 engine and 1001 horsepower
With a net worth of $90 million, we wonder if Ronaldinho will continue to add to his collection as part of his birthday celebrations.
#4 Ronaldinho was applauded by Real Madrid fans at the Bernabeu
In what is a normally an extremely hostile atmosphere, Ronaldinho became the first Barcelona player since Diego Maradona to be applauded at the Bernabeu after he tore Real Madrid apart during the Clasico in 2005.
Ronaldinho was in dazzling form on the day and absolutely destroyed the Galacticos defence. As a sign of respect to Ronaldinho, Real Madrid fans stood up and applauded the Brazilian after he ran through the Madrid defence to score his second goal and put Barcelona 3-0 up.
In what was a truly unique event, the show of respect by Madrid fans truly demonstrated the talent Ronaldinho possessed at his peak.
#5 Ronaldinho rejected a move to Leicester City
There have been plenty of rumours about Ronaldinho joining the English Premier League over the years, with one particular rumour claiming the player was “on the brink” of joining Manchester United in 2003 before he was persuaded by the then Barcelona president to head to the Camp Nou.
More recently, however, it was claimed by Mundo Deportivo that Ronaldinho rejected a move to Leicester City in January 2016 in the hope he would receive a more lucrative offer from China. With the Foxes sitting top of the Premier League table and looking more likely than ever to win the league, we wonder if Ronaldinho regrets this decision that could have got him a winner’s medal.
#6 Ronaldinho lost a six-figure Coca Cola Sponsorship after he drank Pepsi during a press conference
In what was a truly comical tale of events, Ronaldinho lost a lucrative $750,000 sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola after he was pictured with rival beverage Pepsi at a press conference.
While the deal was initially intended to run through the 2014 World Cup, it was cancelled less than a year after it was signed due to a breach of contract. While it is most likely the star forward was only pictured with the drink as Pepsi were the sponsor of his then club Atletico Mineiro, Coca-Cola wasn’t happy and ended the contract shortly after.
#7 Ronaldinho launched his own brand of club themed condoms
With the likes of David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo and many other footballers endorsing their own branded products, Ronaldinho decided he too would try his hand at the entrepreneurship game by releasing his own brand of club themed condoms.
Named S. ex Free, the box featured the badge of his former club Atletico Mineiro, along with a picture of the main man himself and his signature. Carrying the slogan, “Eu sou Galo”, the phrase means “I am Galo” with Galo being a nickname for the Brazilian club.
Funnily enough, Galo also translates to r ooster, which also translates to, well, you know…