Ronaldinho: I am glad the crowd at the Santiago Bernabeu chose to give me the standing ovation
As part of the Premier Futsal League, Brazilian football icon Ronaldinho is in India as the marquee player for the Goa 5s futsal team. Ronaldinho has won almost everything there is in the world of football including the FIFA World Player of the Year, FIFA World Cup with Brazil in 2002, the Copa America, La Liga, Serie A and UEFA Champions League.
Ronaldinho took part in an interaction with the media and had a lot to discuss about his career after starring in his second game in the league. Here are a few excerpts:
On how he was feeling…
I am feeling well despite the huge time difference. We had to fly in from Guatemala. There is almost 14 hours between here and there, so it is a huge difference, but I am feeling good now and have liked the affection received so far.
He once scored 23 goals in a game of Futsal when he was young, his thoughts about that.
Yes, when I was a kid, I did score all 23 goals and it was fun but the other team was not that good.
On being able to tour India
I haven’t had much time to go around but want to come back maybe another time without all the media attention to go around. I mainly came here to promote the game of futsal and have to rest, manage my appointments, get ready for the match and get adjusted to the time zone.
His thoughts when he was first contacted for the project
I received the invitation very happily because first of all my roots are in futsal and I know the potential India possesses. Plus, I get to meet all my friends such as Luis Figo, Falcao, Michel Salgado, as well as the other legends who are here. So it's a great pleasure for me to be here and try and to make the sport of futsal big.
On the Indian players at the tournament
A lot of potential here and the players can learn from the legends, not just the football players, but also the big players of futsal.
Is a lack of a strong central striker hurting Brazil's chances internationally?
Brazil has always had and will have great talents. This generation hasn't been able to fit themselves yet and have been a little unlucky. After Ronaldo, we had Adriano, who was an amazing striker. I am certain there will be more strikers coming through. Currently, the situation that Brazil is having is also affecting the national team.
The goal against England and David Seaman at the 2002 FIFA World Cup
We watched a lot of videos before, we also studied England before the match. Some of the players who played with Seaman also said that he always stays a few steps ahead. I saw the opportunity in that moment and luckily the ball went in.
Is Lionel Messi being the elder brother to Neymar much like how he was to Messi back then
I can't say, but I do believe that Messi is paying all the attention and trying to help Neymar, the senior player always has to try and do that for his teammates. That is one of the reasons why Neymar has adapted so well.
On the standing ovation at the Santiago Bernabeu
At that moment, in the Santiago Bernabeu, because of the adrenaline and emotion, I actually didn't know how deep it was. As the years passed, I came to know how deep that gesture was, for people in the Santiago Bernabeu to clap for a Barcelona player. I am glad that of all the people, they chose to give it to me.
Messi, then and now
Messi, as a person is still the same but as a player, he is getting better every day.
Reflection on his journey from humble beginnings to global icon
As a kid, I always had a goal, first to play football professionally, and then to make the Brazil national team. As my moment was developing, I started seeing my idols, great players, that motivated me more and I knew I could get there as well.
I always had a lot of fun playing and I thank God that I am living the life I dreamt of.
On receiving so much support here in India, so far away from home
It is a huge honour for me, a great feeling that any human can have. I cannot even think how being so far from home, I can receive so much love and affection, This gets me motivated to come back for more.