The downfall of Ronaldinho’s reign

Ronaldinho’s talent was unique, but he didn’t have the career everyone expected him to have professional football.

He was aware that football was his big love, but decided that it wasn’t everything in life and his reign on the top lasted for two or three years.

When former Barcelona president Joan Laporta signed him from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003, Ronaldinho’s reputation preceded him.

His coach at PSGLuis Fernandez, revealed in his memoirs that the player lacked tactical discipline and was very fond of partying.

“Women were brought into the room during team gatherings,” he recalled.

His lifestyle didn’t prevent him from becoming the best in the world during his spell at Barcelona.

Both parties needed each other, as the Blaugrana were in the midst of rebuilding after years of struggles.

His smile and artistry inspired the Camp Nou and his debut was a wonderful metaphor of his time at the club, involving his two passions: football and night.

That game against Sevilla went on until the next day’s early hours and Ronaldinho showcased his talent in front of an excited crowd.

In his early years at the Catalan side his lifestyle was not an issue, but once they won the Champions League in 2006 his decline begun.

Videos of him partying and dancing until the morning became viral and Barcelona used gastroenteritis as an excuse to cover his absences from training.

One day, however, they stopped doing so and Pep Guardiola made the decision to offload the player, with Lionel Messi being anointed as his successor.

Ronaldinho was regarded as a bad influence in the dressing room for the young Argentine and the Catalan coach wouldn’t take any of this when he took over the first team in 2008.

His departure from Barcelona was the turning point for Ronaldinho, who never sought money ahead of entertainment.

He organised parties that lasted for days, but deep inside he knew that something was going wrong.

Ronaldinho couldn’t rediscover his form neither in Italy nor back in his home country.

One night, in a Milan disco, a group of fans took him out of the premises and forced him to go home.

That event, days before a derby with Inter, was the last straw for the Rossoneri.

Years later, Barcelona named him as an ambassador, but the day he had to be at the Camp Nou for his first act he stayed to play football on the beach in Castelldefels.

Then came his public support for the far-right Brazil president Jair Bolsonaro and his problems with Brazilian justice, who fined him for illegal deeds.

The former player declared himself insolvent and it was reported that he only had just under six euros left in his bank account.

He avoided prison once, but this time he has not succeeded as he and his brother are in custody in Paraguay for using a false passport to enter the country.

According to the country’s law, the Brazilian has to be tried in less than six months.

His lawyer says that he is in this situation basically because “he is stupid”, but it is hard to believe that an adjective like that could be used to define a football genius like him.

MARCA

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