Ronaldinho: The smile of Football
There are some pleasant faces in this world that leave a long lasting impression on your mind. Some do it with their eyes, some by the way they interact and some with their smiles. If we are talking of smiles, one cannot fail to mention the name of Ronaldinho. Ronaldinho has, without doubt, one of the most enchanting smiles on the planet. He has this evergreen, childlike approach towards the game that has been mesmerizing the crowd since 1998. By the term childlike, I mean energetic, joyful and always in high spirits.
As a kid, Ronaldinho was very much interested in futsal and beach football. He owes more than just a simple thank you to his stint as a futsal player. This experience of life taught him a lot about ball control and different tricks to beat defenders. Consequently, he efficiently incorporated those skills and utilized them as assets in the more organized form of football. During his spell at different clubs, he unfurled the magic of his elegant style of play which instantaneously made him a fan favourite.
Over the years, Ronaldinho has turned into an expert, doing the unthinkable on the pitch and astonishing the crowd through his play. For instance, nobody could have ever thought of using the back to make a pass, which he effectively did. The way he revolutionized the technique of taking free kicks is marvellous. Probably, he was the one who invented the technique of making a pass by not looking in the direction of the target. All the queer things that he did were always appreciated and cherished by the fans.
Ronaldinho was, undoubtedly, the first to change the approach towards the game and provided a new enchanting and modern look to it. Nike’s video of Ronaldinho hitting the ball against the cross bar and juggling it without touching the ground was an instant hit on Youtube. It was with him that Nike began using the tag line “Joga Bonito”, which means “play beautifully”. No else could have been better suited for that tag line than him.
Very few players are as skillful by nature as Ronaldinho. Whenever he takes to the pitch, he is always a bagful of tricks and most of them cannot be replicated. He certainly is one of the coolest players in pressure situations. He is a one of a kind, tricky and natural play maker Be it his assists, speed or large repertoire of crafty moves, it appears as beautiful as if he is writing a poem. All this makes it a joy to watch with the ball at his feet.
Former Portugal midfielder, Rui Costa, has said of him:
He is a rare case of an assist man who can provide the ball from anywhere.
Ronaldinho was one of the few players who represented Brazil in every age group. He was at the centre of embracing the classic Brazilian style of attacking play which he carried wherever he went. No Brazil fan could ever forget his brilliant free kick against England in the quarter final stage of the 2002 World Cup. Ultimately, it turned out to be the match winning goal and in the end Brazil went on to win the World Cup.
In addition to just money or fame or awards, he earned loads of respect and love from all sections of the footballing world. The occasion was an “El Clásico” match between Barcelona and Real Madrid, two of the greatest football rivals, at Santiago Bernabéu. Here, Ronaldinho was very much influential in earning a 3-0 lead over Real Madrid. Now something unnatural, impossible and unexpected happened. The Real Madrid fans stood up in applause for the star from the opposite team. This tells us about the amount of respect he has earned through his game, even from the rival fans.
Ronaldinho is a kind of individual who would push himself to the limits for his passion. His approach towards the game displays an elite level of sincerity towards Football. Be it through his praying before every match he plays or his unique style of play, this two time FIFA World player of the Year rightfully represents the smile of football for me.