Ronaldinho: Entertainer on and off the field

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It hardly shows anymore, hat Ronaldinho was a footballer once. The Brazilian superstar looks and acts like a rapper.

The man who caused a furore on the football field with his indestructible smile and bizarre ideas is now making a name for himself in a new art form. With big sunglasses, an inverted baseball cap and a heavy chain around his neck, we see him dancing on YouTube between girls in bikinis, or sitting at the poker table with a glass of gin in front of him.

NO LOOK PASSES

Ronaldino played for Barcelona from 2003 to 2008, was voted world footballer of the year in 2004 and 2005 and won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002. Akka’s and no look passes were his trademark. The images of a Champions League match between Barcelona and Weder Bremen are amusing, in which he manages to pass the ball under the wall with a free kick.

As a Barcelona artist, Ronaldinho commanded respect all over Spain, even Madrid. It must have hurt the Madrilenians that Barcelona won 3-0 at Bernabeu on that memorable day in 2015. After a first solo from Messi, Ronaldinho has passed his opponents twice at lightning speed from the left wing. After the third goal, Iker Casillas is shaking his head in his golden shirt. And then something very unexpected happens: The Madrid fans applaud the super attacker of their biggest rival. A bit perfunctory perhaps, but it really happens.

NIGHTLIFE

Already during his career, Ronaldinho enjoys the good life. In Paris for example, during his time with PSG, he is a frequent guest in the nightlife. Sometimes he misses a training because of a late night out.

In Spain, his preference for barbecuing earns him the nickname El Gordinho: the fat one. After he shows up drunk at a training session, he is allowed to leave for AC Milan. Pep Guardiola does not believe that the Brazilian has a good influence on his other star player Messi.

Ronaldinho also causes trouble in Italy, for example by being caught in a nightclub the night before the game against arch-rival Inter.

JAIL

In 2011, Ronaldinho returns to Brazil, where he finds himself in trouble again when it appears that he is married to two women. In 2020, he and his brother, Roberto Assis, end up in a Paraguayan prison, because they are in possession of false passports.

Only after 171 days in prison is he allowed to go outside again, a severe ordeal, although the prison regime is ultimately not too onerous. For a payment of 1.6 million euros, Ronaldinho and his brother spent a large part of their detention in a four-star hotel in Asuncion.

According to the Paraguayan justice, Ronaldinho and his brother used the passports to launder money, but that accusation is ultimately not substantiated. Still, they are be fined 180 thousand euros for the false passports.

Four months after their release from prison, Ronaldinho’s mother dies of Covid. His famous smile disappears from his face. He processes the grief and celebrates the memory of his mother in a videoclip, Eterna, in which the well-known Brazilian musicians MC Lele JP, Massaru and MC Hariel work together on Ronaldinho’s own record label: Tropa de Bruxo. That means the Wizard’s Group, a reference to one of Ronaldinho’s nicknames. With the record label he tries to give unknown Brazilian talent a boost.

We see Ronaldinho in the clip looking sadly into the camera, grieving under a white hoody, and burning candles with his head bowed. He hugs his brother comfortingly. We see how his mother hands him the golden ball, in 2005 in Camp Nou and gets a kiss on her head. “They called me the wizard, but if I had magical powers, nothing would have happened to you and you would still be by my side. I will hold you in my heart forever.”

Ronaldinho may no longer be a footballer, he is still an artist. As a football player he radiated joy and cheerfulness and disregard for conventions. He still does the same as a record executive and rap artist these days.

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