Ronaldinho – Football’s flamboyant maestro
Ronaldinho’s is the classic rags-to-riches tale of the outrageously talented boy from the Brazilian back streets who, despite his humble origins, conquers the footballing world. As Jethro Soutar shows, Ronaldinho’s early years were hard, and he had to cope with a family tragedy at a tender age before making his name as the star of local team Gremio, whose youth club he joined when he was just six. Understandably, his decision in 2001 to transfer to Paris St. Germain proved controversial and unpopular locally, with those same Gremio fans who had hero-worshipped him now turning against him.
As it transpired, Ronaldinho’s time in France yielded little success on the pitch and provoked the first accusations of a rather too rampant nightlife off it, accusations that continue to haunt him. Last year he recognised the legitimacy of a son born to a former showgirl in Rio.
Yet, Ronaldinho has always thrived in the yellow shirt of the national team, playing a key role in Brazil´s 2002 World Cup victory. When he switched to Barcelona in 2003 the club was in crisis; but his dazzling and inspiring play quickly transformed their fortunes, and last season he guided the Catalans to the league title with the Champions League the next target.
Ronaldinho’s style of play is spectacular, combining dazzling dribbles with audacious strikes at goal, but as this inspiring and meticulously researched book shows, he always plays with a smile and handles himself with a modesty alien to the arrogance of the modern footballer. It is not surprising that this unique combination of skill, charm and generosity has conquered the hearts of football fans the world over – who will welcome the publication of this definitive biography which will include the full story of Ronaldinho’s world cup appearances.
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