Ronaldinho Gaucho

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Ronaldinho Lets the Ball Do the Talking

Barcelona's players woke up to a downpour yesterday morning, proving that the rain in Spain does not fall only on the plain. The night before, the European champions sent out a message that, despite taking qualification for the next phase to the wire, they are alive and well in the Champions League.

Barcelona, moreover, may be about to prosper. Samuel Eto'o and Lionel Messi are yet to return from injury, while Ronaldinho is in such form that Eidur Gudjohnsen left the Nou Camp saying: "One of these days he will make the ball talk."

Even by Ronaldinho's standards his was an exceptional performance, capped by a goal that had his colleagues talking animatedly about an hour after the final whistle. Seeing that Werder Bremen's players were going to jump in the wall at a free-kick, Ronaldinho struck the ball under them and Barcelona had their breakthrough in the 13th minute.

"It is fantastic how clever the guy is," Gudjohnsen said of Ronaldinho. "He seems ready for every situation and the bigger the game, the more he can handle it. He saw that they were going to jump. What he said in the dressing room afterwards was the two really big guys in the wall wouldn't jump so he put it under the smaller ones. He's a great player and I guess that makes him psychic. When you play with him and see what he does with a ball, nothing surprises me any more. One of these days, he will make the ball talk."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was equally enthusiastic about the Brazilian: "He knew exactly what he was doing. It was all pre-meditated although I have never seen him try it before, in training or matches. He thought what the wall would do and he pulled it off. It's amazing, but that's what you get from the best player in the world."

Stabilized by their victory over Werder, or 'tranquil' as manager Frank Rijkaard put it, Barcelona can now relax and consider the next step in the defence of their title.

Gudjohnsen, however, was not about to call his new club favorites, especially as he knows how that remark would go down at his old club.

"I am sure that Chelsea anticipated us going through," Gudjohnsen said. "I don't know who are favorites at this point. We are just glad to get through and we will worry about that when we see the draw."

"Before the game, the manager just said to enjoy it. What happens, happens but he said to imagine the people who dream of playing in front of 100,000 fans and to experience a fantastic night like this. For me, playing for Barcelona has been everything I dreamed of and more. You can understand why every footballer in the world dreams of playing for Barcelona. Everything about the club, the stadium, the fans, the build-up - and the best player in the world."

One subject that went unsaid was the occasional defensive lapse and whoever draws Barcelona in the last 16 will hold onto the hope that if Diego and Miroslav Klose can work openings in the Nou Camp, so can they.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Ronaldinho escapes with 1-game ban

Barcelona star Ronaldinho on Tuesday received a one-match suspension from the Spanish league's competition commission for the red card he received after kicking out at an opponent in Saturday's win over Getafe.

Barca had appealed against the sending off at the Nou Camp which saw the Brazilian, who netted the only goal in the second minute, given his marching orders by referee Perez Burrull for aiming a kick Getafe defender David Belenguer, despite barely making any contact.

The commission, under chairman Alfredo Florez, found there had been provocation.

A two-game ban could have severely dented Barca's title hopes as they are level on points at the top with Real Madrid with only two games remaining.

Ronaldinho will sit out the game in two weeks time against Espanyol and then return to face relegated Gimnastic Tarragona for a match which could earn the Catalan club their third straight title success

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Milan in pole position for Ronaldinho

Milan chief officer Adriano Galliani has publicly stressed that the Rossoneri are in "pole position" to sign Ronaldinho if Barcelona decide to sell the brilliant Brazilian.

The Serie A side, in Champions League action against Celtic on Tuesday night, have made their intentions clear regarding the former Paris Saint Germain forward.

Although Barca are looking to extend Ronaldinho's contract, the recent spat with Samuel Eto'o has led to some observers claiming Barca could cash in on the 26-year-old.

"Ronaldinho knows in a really good way of our interest," stated Galliani.

"Even if I don't believe a rich club like Barcelona could make him free to leave.

"If they should do this, we would be in pole position.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Ronaldinho stars in Barca win

Brazilian playmaker Ronaldinho scored one goal and set up two others today as Spanish powerhouse Barcelona beat Mexico’s Club America 4-0 to book a spot in the final of the Club World Cup.
Ronaldinho gave the European champions a 3-0 lead in the 65th minute when he fired a right-foot blast into the top corner after Club America goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa made a superb save off a Ludovic Giuly shot.
“We are very glad to have played at this level,” said Ronaldinho. ”We enjoyed ourselves very much. It may have seemed easy but it wasn’t.” The 10-17 December Club World Cup features the top club teams from soccer’s six continental confederations. Barcelona will face South American champions Internacional of Brazil in Sunday’s final.
Playing in a steady rain at Nissan Stadium, site of the 2002 World Cup final, Barcelona took control of the match early.
Ronaldinho made a nifty back-heel pass to Andres Iniesta and the Spanish midfielder fed Eidur Gudjohnsen, who rifled home on 11 minutes.
Rafael Marquez doubled the lead for Barcelona in the 30th minute, heading in a Deco corner kick from close range.
Club America’s best chance came in the 23rd minute on a free kick from Salvador Cabanas, but Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes made a superb diving save to block the low drive.
Midfielder Chauhtemoc Blanco came on after the break for the Mexican side and created some chances but Ronaldinho’s goal settled the matter.
Ronaldinho was provider once again when he set up Deco, who scored from the top of the area in the 85th minute to make it 4-0.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Ronaldinho halfway to dreamland

Ronaldinho fulfilled a childhood dream, and brought the Nou Camp crowd to their feet, by wrapping up Barcelona's 4-0 win over Villarreal with a spectacular overhead kick.

Lurking in the Villarreal area three minutes from time, the Brazilian controlled a lofted pass from Xavi with his chest, swivelled round with his back to goal and then fired a stunning bicycle kick over the head of goalkeeper Mariano Barbosa and high into the net.

"I didn't really think too much about it because it just happened on the spur of the moment," said Ronaldinho, who had scored Barcelona's opening goal from the penalty spot.

"When I controlled the ball it stood up just right and everything else worked out perfectly. Since I was a young boy I've dreamed of scoring a goal like that. I'm never going to forget this goal. Now I have to try for my other dream goal which is to score from the halfway line."

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ronaldinho One Goal From Madrid Record

To date Ronaldinho has bagged three goals at the Santiago Bernabéu; a goal per game on average. The first dates back two years ago to the 2004/05, his free kick ending a 4-2 Merengue win, but giving the Catalans a goal aggregate edge after they won 3-0 at Camp Nou.

The other two were in last year’s memorable brace; both strikes coming with a similar rip-roaring move up the left flank and well-placed shot. With replays of the move and the sporting reaction of applauding Merengues, Ronaldinho earned immortality with Barça fans.

The three goals mean that Ronaldinho is now tied with Zaldúa, Rivaldo and Asensi although all these players played more than R10: Rivaldo played five – and many argue that an unfairly disallowed goal should have given ‘Rivo’ the lead –Zaldúa played six and Asensi nine.

Behind the four leading lights come Bustillo, Eto'o, Cruyff, Kluivert and Luis Enrique, all with two apiece. Could it be that Ronaldinho will be able to carve his name in the history books on Sunday? Although not recently setting fields alight, could it be the right stage for Dinho to prove his critics wrong and notch up his 65th goal since arriving in Barcelona? We shall see.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Ronaldinho heads award nominees

Chief among them is Ronaldinho, winner of the last two awards and one of the key figures as FC Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League in May. He is joined by club-mates Deco, Samuel Eto'o and Lilian Thuram, although the defender is selected largely on the basis on his performances for France at the FIFA World Cup when he was still a Juventus player.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Barcelona's Messi matching Beckham, Ronaldinho global appeal

Barcelona whiz Lionel Messi is emerging as a global brand to challenge teammate Ronaldinho and Real Madrid star David Beckham.

McDonalds, X-Box, Mastercard, Adidas, Garbarino, Pepsi and Gatorade are just some of the big, global companies to have signed endorsement deals with the teenager - mainly to promote their products in Argentina.

However, Messi's father, Jorge, is also sifting through lucrative offers from Japan, where Lionel's profile is continuing to sky-rocket thanks to Barcelona's popularity in the Far East.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Ronaldinho defends Eto'o for walking out on Cup victory

Ronaldinho has defended his Barcelona team mate Samuel Eto'o for his decision not to celebrate Sunday's victory in the Spanish Super Cup after being replaced by new signing Eidur Gudjohnsen at halftime.

The Cameroon international, top scorer in the Spanish league last season with 26 goals, left the Nou Camp before the end of Barcelona's 3-0 victory and did not pick up his winner's medal.

"What happened is understandable because he's the sort of player that wants to be on the pitch all the time and if he isn't he's unhappy," Ronaldinho told reporters on Monday.

"It's better that he's like that than if he didn't mind not playing and we all hope that he continues to retain the same hunger to play.

"Anyway these things are best sorted out in the dressing room."

Barca coach Frank Rijkaard had also played down the incident in his post-match news conference on Sunday.

"It is true he left early," he said. "After a match emotions are running high and it is better to sleep on it and talk about it the following day."

The Spanish and European champions picked up where they left off last season with a scintillating display against King's Cup winners Espanyol. A neat header from Xavi and two well crafted goals from Deco allowed them to ease their way to a 4-0 aggregate win over their city rivals.

"Barca played well and there were some moments of spectacular football," said Rijkaard. "But it was only one game and we have to keep working hard. I'm very pleased that Barca made such a good impression, though."

Barca will have a chance to add a second trophy to their collection when they play UEFA Cup winners Sevilla for the European Super Cup in Monaco on Friday.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Dunga selects Ronaldinho and Kaka for friendly against Argentina

The Brazilian Football Federation (CBF) released on Thursday the list of players who will participate in two friendly matches that Brazils national team will play in the UK on September 3, against Argentina, and on September 5, against Wales.

In relation to the team that tied 1-1 yesterday in a match against Norway in Oslo, head coach Dunga included three new names: Milan's midfielder Kaka, Barcelona's midfielder Ronaldinho and striker Rafael Sobis.

Kaka, Sobis and Ronaldinho will replace three other players from the national team: Wagner, who plays for Brazil's Cruzeiro; Brazil's Vasco da Gamas midfielder Morais; and Jonatas, who has recently left Brazil's Flamengo to play for Spains Espanyol. Wagner, Morais and Jonatas were second-choice players in the national team and did not play yesterday.

The choice for Sobis was an acknowledgement for his role in yesterday's Internacional winning of the Libertadores Cup title. The striker scored twice in the first match of the finals against Sao Paulo.

Ronaldinho Gaucho and Kaka took part in World Cup 2006, when the team was still under the command of Carlos Alberto Parreira. But Dunga did not include in the list some veterans of Parreira's team, such as Ronaldo, Carlos Roberto, Cafu, Didi and Juninho.

Following the friendly matches in the UK, Brazil will also play against Kuwait, on October 7, but CBF has not released the list of players for that match yet.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Ronaldinho ready for France threat

By his own admission, Brazilian genius Ronaldinho has not been at his spellbinding best in the tournament so far. Even coach Carlos Alberto Parreira has been obliged to come out in defence of his star No.10, stating plainly that the Barcelona star should not be expected to perform footballing miracles every time he steps onto the pitch.

But the man himself is in reflective mood, and the two-time FIFA World Player of the Year knows that the time has come for him to live up to his billing. "Without a doubt, I haven’t shown people what I’m capable of, and that motivates me even more. Tomorrow (Saturday) is another crucial match, and I want to do as well as I can to help Brazil."

Ronaldinho is looking forward to the big-game atmosphere, and in front of an audience of millions around the world, the make-or-break encounter with Les Bleus could well provide the stage he needs to unleash his breathtaking talent. "I’m approaching this game like it was the Final itself, and I'm raring to go. Every World Cup game gives you real motivation, but this one even more. Every footballer would love to play in this type of game."

When asked about his year-long goal drought for the Seleção, the Brazilians' creative fulcrum is phlegmatic. "Scoring isn’t the most important thing. I’m happy to lay on passes which create chances for the strikers," he said. "I’m just hoping to carry on the perfect season I’ve had with Barça for the national team as well," he added.

Of course, all of the talk coming from the Brazil camp is that the game against France is just another match, that revenge for the fateful Final of 1998 does not come into the equation. However, just like Ronaldinho, another player well aware of the significance of Saturday’s contest is flying full-back Roberto Carlos, even allowing for hyperbole. "Right now, this is the most important game of my life," declared the Real Madrid defender.

Ze Roberto, too, could not hide his excitement at the prospect of facing Zidane, Henry et al. "We all know the magnitude of this match. The game when we lost the title, when France beat us, that’s all behind us now. We’ve got the chance to face them again, and that is a chance that you don’t always get. We can’t wait to play this game."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Ronaldinho goes mobile

He's the FIFA World Player of the Year, the European Player of the Year, winner of countless domestic titles including the latest Champions League and is about to embark on Brazil's defence of the World Cup. In short Ronaldinho can do no wrong in the world of football, but will his golden touch transfer to mobile?

That's certainly the hope of Meantime Mobile Creations, who has partnered with Goal Mobile to create a range of branded games and content.

The first title to be released, Ronaldinho Total Control, will be a one-button casual game based around the buck-toothed one's ball juggling abilities – you must maintain a rhythm of button presses to keep the ball bouncing off different parts of the star's body.

Combination moves and special items (like a mobile merchandising contract?) boost your score and could earn you a place in the Meantime Arena hall of fame if you like that sort of thing.

Scheduled for global release during the World Cup, we've already added its name to the list of our squad of soccer wannabes and should be putting it through its paces soon.

What's that? You don't really rate Ronaldinho? No bother, the partnership between Meantime and Goal mobile promises to create a veritable production line of mobile games based on other soccer and sports personalities.

Monday, June 05, 2006

World Cup fever hits Brazil

Brazil is engulfed in World Cup mania with optimism sky high that Ronaldinho and company can bring home a record sixth title.

The country is dripping in green and yellow.

Roads, buildings, shop windows, and even beaches have all been decked out in the national colours that will set pulses racing in stadia across Germany starting from Friday.

Wherever you are pictures of the players look down from advertising hoardings.

The bustling Sahara shopping district is awash with Brazil paraphernalia as businesses seek to tap in on the wave of anticipation.

Banners, garlands, footballs, shirts and seemingly every conceivable accessory are there for fans to snap up. Loudspeakers offer “unbeatable prices”.

“We can't complain,” said one shopkeeper, Jorge.

“First we've had the carnival, then the Rolling Stones concert, and now the World Cup – sales have been good up to now.

“Sirens, flags and football shirts are selling like hotcakes.”

Green and yellow fever has struck each district of Rio, with tiny banners covering entire streets while on the pavements are written slogans like Rumo ao Hexa (we're heading towards a sixth title).

Ronaldinho's smiling face is omnipresent – the Barcelona ace watching from supermarket vans, from your mobile phone, from fashion catalogues or cartoon strips.

Ronaldo appears in a beer advert where he kicks a ball saying: “the battle for a sixth star (to put on the Brazil shirt, there is one for every World Cup victory) has begun”.

Inevitably Brazil's rivalry with Argentina surfaces from time to time.

One soft drinks advert has Argentine legend Diego Maradona singing the national anthem kitted out in the Brazil colours alongside Ronaldinho and Kaka. The ad finishes with Maradona waking up in a sweat, the nightmare over.

The World Cup has sparked a boom in sales of televisions, with shops easing the pain of payment with seductive credit arrangements.

One offers anyone who buys a giant screen TV a second set for 50 cents if Brazil win.

In the first quarter of the year 60,000 plasma screens were sold – that's 2,000 more than changed hands in the whole of last year.

Restaurants and bars are getting in on the act – dishing up pizzas in the colours of the Brazil national flag, or German or any other country on request.

Football fever has touched fashion too. In Sao Paulo designer Almir Slama has transformed the team's shirts into a line of chic dresses.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ronaldinho says he's 100-per-cent fit again

Ronaldinho says he's recovered from the gruelling European season and is fully prepared to help Brazil defend its World Cup title.

"I'm fine now," Ronaldinho said yesterday.

"We had enough time to rest and practise. I already feel 100 per cent."

The two-time world player of the year said last week he'd arrived for Brazil's training camp "feeling a bit tired" after helping FC Barcelona win the Spanish title and the Champions League.

"Everything [I was feeling] when we got here is gone now," Ronaldinho said.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Brazil stars raring to go

Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Cafu were among six players who underwent a light session on Thursday at Brazil's training camp for the World Cup.

Along with Edmilson, Juninho and Emerson, they worked out in the gym while the other 17 players practiced in the 5,000-seat arena built for the Brazilian squad in the lakeside resort town of Weggis in central Switzerland.

The six players later joined the rest of the group on the field for physical drills.

All Brazilian players went through a series of physical examinations earlier in the week with Brazilian doctors stating that each player would undergo specific training depending on test results.

Ronaldo, who had various injuries at the start of the year, practiced separately in the team's first training session on Wednesday. He ran by himself for 40 minutes while the other players underwent a series of physical drills.

Ronaldinho had earlier said he arrived for Brazil's pre-World Cup preparation feeling a bit tired after a long season with FC Barcelona. Along with Edmilson, he helped Barcelona win the Spanish title and the Champions League.

Cafu, a 35-year-old veteran of the past three World Cup finals, played only sparingly for AC Milan this season after recovering from arthroscopic surgery on his left knee in February.

Brazil will spend two weeks in the small city of Weggis preparing to defend its World Cup title.

Brazil will play two friendlies in Switzerland - against FC Lucerne on May 30 in Basel and against New Zealand in Geneva on June 4 - before playing its opener in Germany against Croatia on June 13.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

'We never panicked'

Ronaldinho says Barcelona never doubted despite taking over 75 minutes to break down ten-man Arsenal to win the Champions League on Wednesday.

The Brazilian was subdued as the Liga champions struggled to overcome a resilient Arsenal side, who led for much of the game despite losing keeper Jens Lehmann after just 18 minutes to a red card.

But the Barça number ten insists the side - who scored more goals in the tournament than any other - remained confident they could breach the Gunners' defence.

"We didn't panic," said Ronaldinho, who saw Samuel Eto'o level Sol Campbell's first-half goal with just fourteen minutes left, before Juliano Belletti snatched the trophy with nine minutes remaining.

"We knew that at one moment or another, we would score. We never lost our belief. We were playing well, and we had an extra man. There was only one problem: find that final ball and finish it off. We just had to keep possession and we knew the goal would come."

The world and European footballer of the year added the only trophy that was missing from his already overburdened mantlepiece after claiming a second successive Liga title this season and winning the 2002 World Cup with his country.

But despite having won everything in the game aged just 26, Ronaldinho insisted he remains determined to continue winning trophies.

"It's another title, and that always gives you more motivation to work and improve," he said. "I want to carry on like this. Having said that, you have to enjoy it while you can, so I'm going to relax and enjoy the moment."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Ronaldinho Named a Lenovo Worldwide Brand Ambassador; Technology Company Partners with FC Barcelona to Kick off a New Wave of Brand Promotion

Lenovo Group Limited today announced a cooperation with FC Barcelona and its superstar, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, otherwise known as Ronaldinho Gaucho. Ronaldinho will be a Lenovo Worldwide Brand Ambassador. Ronaldinho, the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Player of the Year for two years running, currently plays for Barcelona and the Brazilian national team and is expected to play a key role in Brazil's defense of its World Cup title when the tournament begins on June 9, 2006.

Ronaldinho will be featured in worldwide marketing campaigns and promotional activities for the recently announced Lenovo-branded notebook and desktop PCs powered by Intel.

"Through innovation and excellence in customer service, Lenovo is building a global brand that we believe customers will recognize and trust," said Deepak Advani, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Lenovo. "FC Barcelona and Ronaldinho bring world-class play and teamwork to the field, and they are always trying to improve their game. These traits resonate well with us at Lenovo -- we believe Ronaldinho represents our culture of innovation and our pursuit of excellence."

Marc Ingla, vice president of FC Barcelona, said, "We are delighted to have Lenovo as our partner and have Ronaldinho promote Lenovo and the FC Barcelona brand together globally. I believe the excitement of football combined with cutting-edge technology will bring more happiness and enjoyment to people in the world."

Strengthening the ties between technology and sports, Lenovo earlier this year completed its first-ever sponsorship of the Olympic Games. With more than 6,000 systems in place supporting the Torino 2006 Olympic Winter Games, Lenovo's flawless debut demonstrated that the world's third-largest PC company is ready to compete on the world's largest stages and serve the world's most demanding customers with high quality products and reliable customer services.

"I am glad to be a Lenovo Worldwide Brand Ambassador," said Ronaldinho. "From keeping in touch with friends and family when I am in training, to designing my exercise routines, to keeping an eye on Barcelona's standings, technology and products provided by Lenovo have added value to my life as an athlete."

Ronaldinho first made his mark in the worldwide football arena in 1997, as the top scorer for the winning Brazil team at the "Under-17 World Championships." In 1999 he led his team to victory at the America's Cup. In 2005 he took the European Footballer of the Year and the FIFPro World Player of the Year awards. His unique football skills have won Ronaldinho numerous professional accolades and have endeared him to fans around the world.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Work still to be done, insists Ronaldinho

Barcelona still have plenty of work to do against AC Milan to reach the final of this year's Champions League, Ronaldinho has insisted.

Barca's Brazilian superstar inspired the Catalan club to a 1-0 first-leg win over their prestigious counterparts last night, a result that has given them a huge advantage ahead of the return leg on home soil at the Nou Camp.

But the world's best player, who brilliantly set up Ludovic Giuly with a deft chip to claim the only goal in the 57th minute, has urged his team-mates to avoid complacency, insisting the tie is far from over.

'We have survived the first 90 minutes,' he said. 'I am very happy because this win means a lot to us. To be able to beat Milan on their own pitch is a very good result and this can only motivate us for the second leg.'

But he added: 'We still have 90 minutes left to play and we must not forget it. We have done our job in Milan and now we must continue to be humble and work in a serious manner in order to do well and win titles.'

And Ronaldinho's warning for his team-mates is fully justified, according to Milan's Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf, who is adamant that his team can overturn the deficit and progress to the final.

'It is a bad result for us,' Seedorf admitted. 'But we must look ahead for there are still 90 minutes left to play and anything can happen.

'We will analyse this game and be prepared to battle in order to reach our second consecutive final. One thing is certain, Barcelona will suffer next week.'

Monday, April 17, 2006

AC MILAN-BARCELONA: Rested Ronaldinho Ready For Milan

"There's nothing like the Champions League," has become AC Milan's motto as Carlo Ancelotti's side gear up for a Champions League semi-final first leg clash against Barcelona Tuesday in Milan.

Even though Milan already have six European titles under their belt, the Devils feel only a seventh crown will help ease the pain of losing last year's final to Liverpool despite leading 3-0 at one stage. Barca, meanwhile, have only won the tournament once, back in 1992, but coach Frank Rijkaard is determined to convert the Catalan giants into European heavyweights.

"At the moment, Milan have more experience than us," said Rijkaard. "But maybe now is the time to change things, so that in a few years people will say that Barcelona is the team with most experience."

On Sunday Rijkaard flew out to Milan with his squad in good heart, after Friday's 1-0 win over Villarreal had practically ensured another Spanish "Liga" title. The only bad news from the Villarreal match was the calf strain suffered by veteran striker Henrik Larsson, who will be out for at least a week.

Rijkaard's other injury absentees are midfield general Xavi Hernandez and teenage sensation Lionel Messi. Portugal midfielder Deco will miss Tuesday's first leg after being handed a one-match suspension by UEFA.

The good news for Rijkaard is the return to fitness of midfielder Thiago Motta and of reserve striker Santi Ezquerro. FIFA World Player Ronaldinho has been rested for Barca's last two matches, against Racing Santander and Villareal. Understandably, the Brazilian is really fired up now for Tuesday's clash.

"I feel wonderfully physically," said Ronaldinho before boarding the plane. "This rest has done me a lot of good, and I can hardly wait for the ball to start rolling on Tuesday night."

Milan still have an outside chance of taking the Italian title after last Friday's defeat of city rivals Inter Milan means they are now just five points adrift of Serie A leaders Juventus, who could only draw at the weekend.

But the 46-year-old Ancelotti, who led Milan to the Champions League in 2003, is concentrating at the moment on Barcelona. "I don't make plans, not on paper nor in my mind. And the players are thinking about the semi-final with Barcelona, which, by itself, is quite a big thought," he said.

Milan are almost certain to be without striker Filippo Inzaghi as the in-form veteran has been plagued by tonsillitis and fever. Ukraine star Andriy Shevchenko and the young Alberto Gilardino are likely to start up front while veteran captain Paolo Maldini should start in defence.

Not surprisingly, the Giuseppe Meazza is a sell-out with Milan set to cash in an unofficial record sum of 3.3 million euros (3.9 million dollars). Between 4,000 and 5,000 Spanish fans are expected in Milan, a lower number than those who followed Bayern Munich and Olympic Lyon in the two preceding rounds.

The second semi-final between Arsenal and Villarreal takes place Wednesday
By Alberto Cagliano, dpa

With JogaTV, Nike Pushes Soccer Videos to U.S. Fans

Nike recently rolled out an "Internet TV" channel called JogaTV for U.S.-based soccer fans.

The video application is part of the company's new global social networking effort, undertaken last month with Google as a partner.

JogaTV will deliver soccer footage and related content to people who install a downloadable application. Features include new "Joga Bonito" (beautiful play) TV spots from Nike, a rap video featuring U.S. soccer player Clint Dempsey, viral videos featuring Brazilian stars Ronaldinho and Ronaldo, a weekly blog, and a countdown to the U.S. team's first game in Germany at the start of the World Cup tourney.

JogaTV will automatically download new content each week, notifying end users when it's available.

The application, which launched quietly three weeks ago, was implemented by desktop rich media enabler Maven Systems. Wieden+Kennedy handled some of the design work.

Nike is promoting the channel through outreach to blogs and discussion forums, as well as via its and properties.

Nike has become well known for its branded experiences. It recently shot and hosted an online-only music video featuring R&B recording artist Rihanna, and created a Web site for London marathon enthusiasts that mashed up Google Maps with community features.

Like those efforts, JogaTV has a niche target demo in mind.

"It's very focused," said Samantha Stone, director of product marketing for Maven. "It's specific to soccer, and it's very specific to young fans. We see an increasing trend in this new form of long form advertising. As internet video and television become mass-adopted communication vehicles, we'll see more companies doing more long-form advertising."

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ronaldinho to miss Barcelona-Santander game for leg injury

Ronaldinho will be out of FC Barcelona's Spanish league game with Racing Santander because of abruised right leg, the club said Saturday.

The Brazilian forward sustained the injury during Wednesday's 2-0 win over Benfica. Ronaldinho scored the first goal to help the team gain a place in the Champions League semifinals.

Ronaldinho has netted 15 of Barcelona's 70 league goals this season.

Barcelona's 19-man squad for Sunday's visit to lowly Santander was also without forward Lionel Messi, who has recently recovered from a right thigh injury, and defender Oleguer Presas, who has been rested.

Barcelona is virtually certain to retain its league title. It lies 11 points clear with seven games remaining. Enditem

Friday, April 07, 2006

Rooney tipped to outgun Ronaldinho

Wayne Rooney will challenge Ronaldinho to be the player of the tournament at this summer's World Cup, according to Sir Bobby Charlton.

Barcelona's brilliant Brazilian is the current FIFA world player of the year and has today been shortlisted for another award, the Laureus world sportsman of the year.

Charlton said: "Every World Cup produces a great star. In my time I have seen Pelé, Cruyff, Maradona and Ronaldo, and this summer it could be Ronaldinho, though I have a sneaking feeling that Wayne Rooney will give him a real battle for it.

"It depends how well England do in the tournament, but Wayne is a player who thrives on pressure. The bigger the game, the better Wayne plays.

"Wayne and Ronaldinho both have amazing skill and control, but the Brazilian has a bit more experience than Wayne at the moment, but don't forget Wayne is just 20 while Ronaldinho is 26. I would be prepared to bet that Wayne Rooney at 26 will be an even more effective player than Ronaldinho."

In other Laureus awards, Liverpool have been shortlisted in the team of the year category, world marathon champion Paula Radcliffe in the sportswoman, Scotland's tennis sensation Andy Murray in the newcomer category and golfer Colin Montgomerie in the comeback category.

Laureus world sportsman shortlist: Fernando Alonso (Formula One), Lance Armstrong (cycling), Roger Federer (tennis), Ronaldinho (football), Valentino Rossi (MotoGP), Tiger Woods (golf).

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ronaldinho craves Henry at Barca

The French striker has been repeatedly linked with a move to Barcelona following his apparent reluctance to commit to a new deal at Arsenal.

It seems increasingly likely that Henry will only stay if the Arsenal secure Champions League football next season.

Barcelona have been consistently linked with Henry and World Player of the Year Ronaldinho has described the Henry as the 'perfect' signing for the Catalans.

"It would be good for a player of such quality to come, it would be perfect, although I don't know what is going to happen," he stated.

Real Madrid have also been linked with Henry and Ronaldinho's compatriot Robinho, who plays for Real, believes the French forward would be an asset to any team.

"With the quality that he has, he is a player that could play in the best team in the world. It would help us if he came," he said.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ronaldinho and tiffs with brothers help Messi bed in

Lionel Messi has Ronaldinho and some rough competition from his brothers to thank for a seamless move into big time soccer.

The teenaged Argentina forward was taken under his wing by Ronaldinho as soon as he broke into Barcelona's first team squad, gaining from the confidence shown in him by the great Brazilian.

He also learnt from an early age that he did not like losing in fierce kickabouts with brothers Matias and Maxi in which he did not always come out on top.

By the time Messi played at Chelsea in the Champions League last month, he was hardened enough to shrug off the foul by defender Asier del Horno and the controversy surrounding his own reaction and the Spaniard's red card to go on and help Barcelona win 2-1.

"I remember at Stamford Bridge all the guys were coming up to me at halftime in the dressing room really worried about me, but I was able to say, 'don't worry, no problem, I'm fine, let's just get on with beating them'," Messi said.

"Ever since I was a kid I've hated to lose. If I played with my brothers Matias and Maxi we'd always end up fighting about something. If I lost they'd tease me and punch me until I cried," he said in an interview in Champions Magazine.

"It's the kind of thing that happens among brothers in a family but they taught me to hate losing," he added in the issue of the magazine being published this week.

"Something deep in my character allows me to take the hits and get on with trying to win," said Messi, who played little part in the second leg of the last-16 tie against Chelsea after pulling a muscle early in the game at the Nou Camp. A 1-1 draw gave Barcelona the tie 3-2 on aggregate.

"I've always had this ability to get up and get on with it. Long ago I made up my mind that the fact that people try to kick you and foul you comes with the territory if you play the way I do," the 18-year-old said.


"Usually the attacks are not malicious. But if they are malicious, you do have to protest a bit. At the start of a match when you are not properly warmed up it hurts a bit more. But by the time the game is in full flow, you're concentrating so deeply on winning, most times you barely notice what has happened."

Messi has been compared with Diego Maradona, even by Argentina's 1986 World Cup-winning captain himself, and said he was moved to tears when he received a phone call from him after helping his country win the World Youth Cup in the Netherlands last year.

"I want to avoid comparisons because for me there has never been anyone quite like him," Messi said.

Messi plays alongside another brilliant player in Ronaldinho who forgot about the traditional rivalry between Brazilians and Argentines to befriend Messi.

"Ronnie was massively important for me," Messi said. "I was so young when I started to come into Barcelona's dressing room, but he made a point of being first to step up to me and look after me.

"I try to copy little things Ronaldinho does but more fundamentally I just try to play for the joy of it. Playing football has always meant joy for me and that's why I do it. Of course, it's easier when you're winning."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

This IIM grad may be the next Ronaldinho

For those young lads in Gujarat dreaming of becoming the world’s next Ronaldinho or Zidane, there is a young man from Vadodara working hard to clear their paths to goal.

Twenty-six-year-old, Satyajit Sadanand, who is set to graduate from IIM-Lucknow next month, turned down a Rs 9-lakh lateral placement offer in January from global investment bank JP Morgan Chase. He is instead planning to join a European football club to gain experience in the modern techniques of coaching and professional club management to fulfil his goal of making football a viable career in India.

He says football is his first love. He gets a kick out of it, literally.

“It is a misconception that football isn’t popular in India,” says Sadanand. “The problem is there is no future in football for young players here.”

Friday, February 24, 2006

Ronaldinho sparks Barça recovery

"Sometimes you see beautiful people with no brains," Chelsea FC manager José Mourinho mused when questioned about the state of the Stamford Bridge pitch prior to kick-off against FC Barcelona. "And sometimes you have ugly people who are intelligent, like scientists. Our pitch is a bit like that." They proved prophetic words as substance triumphed over style for much of last night's last 16 first leg before the most stylish of them all, Ronaldinho, inspired a thrilling finale.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Ronaldinho inspires Barca to victory

Ronaldinho was in inspirational form as he returned to lead Barcelona to a 5-1 home victory over an unfortunate Real Betis in the Primera Liga on Saturday.

The leaders now have 55 points and remain seven clear of second-placed Real Madrid who recorded their sixth consecutive league win by sweeping aside lowly Alaves 3-0 at the Bernabeu.

Barca’s Brazilian playmaker, who was suspended for the league defeats against Atletico Madrid and Valencia, played a part in Henrik Larsson’s opener and triggered Melli’s own goal.

Ronaldinho then went on two score two himself from free kicks but it was not all plain sailing for the home side which had keeper Victor Valdes to thank for a number of crucial saves.

Joaquin pulled a goal back for Betis on the hour but Lionel Messi came off the bench to make it five with six minutes left.

Javier Saviola scored the only goal as Sevilla beat visitors Celta Vigo 1-0 to climb above them to fifth on 41 points, two ahead of the Galicians.

Villarreal cruised to a 4-0 home win over Espanyol to move up a spot to seventh with 38 points.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Ronaldinho prepares for World Cup

Ronaldinho practices at night and early in the morning on a beach near Barcelona to improve his physical condition ahead of the World Cup, his personal trainer told local media.

Joaquim Valdimar Goncalves Garcia told the Folha de S Paulo newspaper that Ronaldinho spends hours jogging and playing footvolley in order to get in shape.

"It's hard for Ronaldinho to leave home without being recognised," Garcia said. "So we have to opt for hours in which the beach is empty."

He said Ronaldinho's training sessions take place at the Castelldefels beach, some 25 km from Barcelona.

Ronaldinho's secret workout routine surprised even Brazil's physical trainer, Moracy Santana.

"We don't know about things like this unless the player tells us," Santana told the Folha de S Paulo. "And he never said anything."

The 25-year-old FC Barcelona midfielder won his second straight FIFA World Player of the Year award in December. He helped Barcelona win the Spanish league title in 2005 for the first time in six years.

Brazil leads FIFA's world rankings and is favoured to win its record sixth World Cup title. (AP)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Ronaldinho sees red, Barca out

Ronaldinho was red carded for Barcelona as the Catalan club were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Real Zaragoza.

The Brazilian playmaker was dismissed after 39 minutes for lashing out at Ruben Cani in the second leg of their Spanish Cup quarter-final meeting. Barcelona were trying to overturn a 4-2 deficit and, despite winning 2-1 on the night, lost 5-4 on aggregate.

Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard, however, remained positive despite the loss which cost them a semi-final clash with Real Madrid. The Dutchman saw a plus point from not having to play a tough semi-final against Real just before meeting Chelsea in the last 16 of the Champions League.

Barca play the first leg against Chelsea on Feb 22, while the Cup semi-finals are due to be played on Feb 8 and Feb 15. “Now we’ll have more time to prepare really well for the Chelsea game,” he added.

Rijkaard refused to be drawn into criticising the referee who harshly showed Ronaldinho a straight red card in the 39th minute for a tackle on Cani. He said: “If we had scored two more goals no one would have talked about the referee. We can’t complain because it is far too easy to do that.”

The other semi-final pitches Espanyol against Deportivo Coruna, who ran out 2-1 aggregate winners over Valencia on Wednesday.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Ronaldinho gonged again

Barcelona striker and world player of the year Ronaldinho has received another accolade, being voted into UEFA's team of the year.

He joins Liverpool's Steven Gerrard and Luis Garcia and Andriy Schevchenko, Cafu and Paolo Maldini from AC Milan in the team, while Chelsea's Jose Mourinho was voted as coach.

The Blues' Petr Cech and John Terry also made the squad, along with Ronaldinho's teammates Carles Puyol and Samuel Eto'o and Pavel Nedved from Juventus.

The team was voted for by 1.5 million users of

"The voting recognised both the two best teams in Europe last season ... Liverpool and Milan, as well as the two clubs that have shone in their domestic leagues in the past 12 months, Chelsea and Barcelona," David Farrelly, editor-in-chief on UEFA's website, told Reuters.

It is the third successive year Mourinho has been named as coach, while it is also the third time Nedved has been included.

Petr Cech (Chelsea), Cafu (AC Milan), John Terry (Chelsea), Carles Puyol (Barcelona), Paolo Maldini (AC Milan), Luis Garcia (Liverpool), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Ronaldinho (Barcelona), Pavel Nedved (Juventus), Samuel Eto'o (Barcelona), Andriy Shevchenko (AC Milan)

Coach: Jose Mourinho (Chelsea)

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Ronaldinho Airs Samba Warning

Brazil magician Ronaldinho has reminded his teammates that they are not unbeatable and should ignore all the observers ready to anoint them as World Cup 2006 champions in January.

"We don't have to pay attention to everything that is being said about us," said the Barcelona ace. "We don't have to listen to all the people that are saying that we are the candidates for winning the cup."

"If we believe in all that is being said, we could have the problem of not having a good performance and all our plans could get broken."

Brazil begin World Cup play in Group F with Australia, Crotia and Japan, with a potential land mine round of 16 match-up against the second place team from Group E (Czech Republic, Ghana, Italy, United States).

Friday, December 30, 2005

Ronaldinho shoots into comic book

WORLD footballer of the year Ronaldinho has become the second Brazil star to be immortalised on the pages of a comic book.

The smiling assassin, who won his second FIFA player of the year award earlier this month, was in Rio yesterday to help launch Ronaldinho Gaucho, a character blessed with the silky skills of the real-life superstar.

Brazil legend Pele is the only other footballer to have been given such superstar status in a comic called Pelezinho, or little Pele.

Ronaldinho's character is drawn with the same bucktoothed grin the player flashes every time he scores, and looks every brushstroke the same, with flowing black locks held back in a characteristic Alice band.

The character even wears a golden "R" pendant around his neck, just like the real thing.

The comic was developed by Mauricio de Souza, a renowned local artist who draws Monica And Her Gang, a top-selling comic book series in Brazil, and who also created the Pele comics.

"We got the idea (for Ronaldinho Gaucho) when we were watching a game on television. Then we went to the stadium to see his razzle-dazzle play," de Souza said.

Ronaldinho said he was honoured by the comic.

Australia will have the chance to play against the comic book hero when Ronaldinho dons the Brazil strip for his side's Group F fixture against the Socceroos on June 18 in Munich, Germany.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Kaká and Ronaldinho Nominated

The French newspaper, "L’Equipe", published yesterday their eleven players for the season 2005. There are notably two Brazilians, Kaká (Milan AC) and Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona).

Here are the eleven players chosen by the journalists of the newspaper:

Coupet (Lyon, France), Sagnol (Bayern München, Germany), Terry (Chelsea, England), Carragher (Liverpool, England), Maldini (Milan AC, Italy), Kaká (Milan AC, Italie), Lampard (Chelsea, England), Gerrard (Liverpool, England), Ronaldinho (FC Barcelona, Spain), Chevchenko (Milan AC, Italy) and Eto’o (FC Barcelona, Spain).

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Ronaldinho congratulates T&T

Brazilian FIFA World "Player of the Year" Ronaldinho met up with FIFA Vice President Jack Warner in Zurich this week and in a brief appearance with top FIFA officials. Ronaldinho extended words of congratulations to Trinidad and Tobago on their qualification for the Germany 2006 World Cup as the smallest nation to ever reach that stage.

"Ronaldinho is by far a role model for everyone who loves the game of football and what a privilege it was to hear him say well done and good luck Trinidad (and Tobago) when I spoke to him after the (FIFA Gala Awards) ceremony," Warner told TTFF Media.

"He may not know too much about how Trinidad and Tobago plays but the fact that he is aware of us qualifying for a World Cup shows that people are taking note of it."Â

The CONCACAF President said he also expressed his regrets to the player on the late cancellation of a proposed friendly international against Brazil in March but is maintaining his hopes that T&T will have further opportunities for such big occasions.

"I'm the happiest man on earth - I play for a great team, I have lots of friends, people appreciate the way I play, they appreciate my club and I want to continue to give happiness," added the Barcelona star who scored a hat trick to help Brazil's Olympic team to a 7-0 win over T&T's Olympic team in a friendly encounter back in January, 2000.

Since the draw in Leipzig Warner said he had been getting congrats from persons in all corners.

 "I tell you that it has been truly amazing to see what qualifying for this World Cup has done for the country in terms of the recognition it is now getting," he said.

"Everywhere I go and my other officials from home who were at the draw, can tell you that all kinds of people have been saying how happy they are to see Trinidad and Tobago in the World Cup. They all want to know more about the country, they want to come to the country to see the people, the beaches the place on a whole, to experience the music and the culture.

And I have told them that we have all intentions of giving them a full taste of what we have to offer both on and off the playing field when we go to Germany in June."

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Ronaldinho wins FIFA Player of the Year

Ronaldinho won the poll of national team coaches and captains with 960 points, easily outdistancing Lampard, who had 306 points. Eto'o, who plays alongside Ronaldinho at Barcelona, was third with 190.

"It's a huge joy to be able to keep up this high level of performance the last years and I hope to be able to come back here over and over again," Ronaldinho said.

Ronaldinho became the third player to win the award twice since its inception in 1991. Ronaldo of Brazil and Zinedine Zidane of France have taken the prize three times.

Brazilians have won the award seven of the 15 times it has been given. On Monday, FIFA honored Brazil as the best team for the fourth year in a row.

In May, Ronaldinho led Barcelona to its first Spanish league title in six years, and his 10 goals this season have helped the team return to the top of the standings. He has 34 league goals in 82 games since his arrival from Paris Saint-Germain in 2003, and another 13 in 19 games against European competition. Ronaldinho also spearheaded Brazil's Confederations Cup title, capped by a victory over Argentina in the final.

Lampard also finished second to Ronaldinho last month for the European Player of the Year award. The attacking midfielder for Chelsea played in every game of last year's Premier League-winning season - the Blues' first in 50 years.

Eto'o is the reigning African Player of the Year and leads the Spanish league with 15 goals.

"I find it positive to be seated here next to great players, who are part of the dream of thousands and thousands of Africans," Eto'o said. "Just a few years ago, I was kicking a ball in a street in Cameroon."

Prinz finished with 513 points while Marta had 429 and Boxx 235.

"Awards never are a bore," said Prinz, who has 90 goals in 143 international games for Germany.

Mia Hamm, who retired from professional soccer last year, finished runner-up to Prinz in 2003 and 2004 after winning the award the two previous years.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Ronaldinho tips Lions for fina

Barcelona's little Brazilian will be hoping to lead the charge for Brazil to claim their sixth crown, but says he expects Sven Goran Eriksson's side to be strong contenders for football's biggest prize.

"I respect all sides, but I think England will make the final in 2006," Ronaldinho has said.

"They are very strong and have a very good trainer, and I don't agree that they have inferior technique.

"I like Rooney, too. He is very promising and I think things will get better for him."

It was against The Three Lions that Ronaldinho made his mark on the world stage by scoring a sensational free-kick in the 2002 quarter final.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Ronaldinho to miss game against

Champions League favourites Barcelona will be missing Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto'o when they take on Udinese in their final group game on Wednesday.

The Udinese team was full of enthusiasm in their final training session before the match.

They know that a win or a draw will seal their spot in the last 16 in their first ever season in Europe's premier club competition.

Udinese will also be missing a star striker with Iaquinta, who scored a hat trick against Panthinaikos, has been ruled out with a bruised foot.

The home team will be boosted by the return of captain Valerio Bertotto and French defender Vincent Candela.

Group leaders Barcelona are already through with 13 points, Udinese have seven, and Panathinaikos and Werder Bremen have four points each.

If Werder Bremen beat Panathinaikos in the other game in Group C, they would only progress if Barcelona beat Udinese.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Villarreal vs Barcelona

Barcelona are one of the most in form teams in Europe, and if not, then the best team in Europe at the moment. Any team that has had to put up with the nightmare of facing them has failed miserably, including arch rivals Real Madrid who lost 3-0 to them a few weeks ago. In their entire season, Barcelona have managed to score 2 or more goals in all but two games, and in the whole of November, or their last 6 matches rather, they scored an aggregate 23 goals whilst conceding just 3. With world class talent they truly are looking like odds on favorites for all their competitions. The only injury problems Barceonla are having at the moment is in the midfield where both van Bommel and Xavi are missing. But with talent like Iniesta and Garcia, the midfield should serve fine, since the defence is looking fully fit, and top scorer Etoo and World player of the year, Ronaldinho have each other to supply their side of the scoresheet

Friday, December 02, 2005

Ronaldinho setting for another top gong?

Barcelona forward Ronaldinho is in line for another top accolade after soccer's world ruling body nominated the Brazilian among the contenders for the world player of the year.

Voted the Ballon d'Or (Golden Ball) - Europe's player of the year - in midweek, the 25-year-old silky smooth Ronaldinho is already Fifa's player of the year (2004).
However whether he can again hold of the likes of Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Barcelona team-mate Samuel Eto'o of Cameroon remains to be seen.

According to a Fifa statement on Wednesday, the votes have already been counted, and all three above players are in contention for Fifa's prize, the 15th edition of which will be announced on at the Zurich Opera house on December 19th.

Unlike the Ballon d'Or winner, who is nominated by 52 journalists - one each from Uefa's association countries - the Fifa award is chosen by the coaches and captains of national teams worldwide from a list made up by Fifa.

Women's soccer will also be honoured. Birgit Prinz, the winner in 2004, is again in contention.

Fifa's player of the year award has only been held for the past 14 years while the Ballon d'Or - considered by many on the continent as the bona fide footballer's prize - has run since 1956.

Ronaldinho joined the greats of world football on Monday when he won the prize with 225 points, 77 ahead of Lampard.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Red hot Ronaldinho

Ronaldinho should have had his fill of tributes by now but he must have allowed himself a wry celebration on Monday night. The inspiration of the enthrallingly exotic Barcelona side mounted the podium in a city where he once sat on the bench. The Brazilian was back in Paris to be enthroned as the 2005 European Footballer of the Year, the 50th winner of the Ballon d'Or. When he actually played in France, it was sometimes hard for him to come by a kind word, let alone an honour.

As Ronaldinho was being feted at a venue close to the Place de la Concorde he might just have thought back to a time when what he needed most was an injury to Romain Rocchi. The defensive midfielder, who now aims to fend off relegation for Ajaccio, was one of the players intermittently preferred to Ronaldinho in the Paris Saint-Germain line-up. The man now acclaimed by a continent was quite often denied the approval of his coach only two or three years ago.

A conciliatory Luis Fernandez, perhaps with tongue in cheek, now suggests that he was protecting a fragile talent by rationing his appearances. In fact he was annoyed and exasperated by Ronaldinho, who danced away from regulations as smoothly as he swerves past defenders. This was the sort of star who was forever rumoured to have dropped sleep from his schedule so that he could go direct from Parisian night spot to training ground. Gossip was no doubt on speaking terms with the truth.

It is certainly a matter of record that Ronaldinho returned days late from a trip to Rio. He was also snapped cursing Fernandez when he was substituted in a match with Nantes. Even in that period, though, the cameras could dote on him as well, especially when he scored in a 3-0 win at Marseille a goal that he recreated at an even grander venue 10 days ago. Breaking from his own half in the Bernabéu, he flowed past Iván Helguera and Sergio Ramos before planting a shot into the far corner of the net. A similar goal from him nudged Barcelona's margin of triumph to 3-0 and ripped acclaim out of the throats of the Real Madrid fans.

Nothing is beyond him now and he has even taken to making a stylish correction of any fleeting error. Ronaldinho did see a penalty saved on Sunday, but that failure merely set the stage for the one that was awarded later. The goalkeeper's reaction can only have amounted to a flicker of the eye as the ball was whipped high to his right in a 4-1 win over Racing Santander.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

Ronaldinho scores 50th Barcelona goal

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, known to soccer fans as Ronaldinho, scored his 50th goal for Barcelona on Sunday, just one day before he is due to travel to Paris to receive the Golden Ball award.

The Brazilian, who was motivated by his confirmation as this year's Golden Ball winner, an award to the best player in the European soccer league, converted a penalty against Racing Santander after his first attempt on a penalty was denied by goalkeeper Aouate in the third minute.

In the second half, Ronaldinho again got to a penalty and made it with a skillful dribble that beat Racing's Pinillos on the leftside of the goal area.

Ronaldinho will appear on the cover of the next edition of France Football, the magazine which delivers the Golden Ball award. Enditem

Biography Ronaldinho Gaucho de Assis Moreira

Name:Ronaldinho Gaucho de Assis Moreira

Ronaldinho Gaúcho de Assis Moreira (born 21th March , 1980) is a Brazilian football player, at present regarded as one of the world's top players. Ronaldinho started his professional career at Brazil's Grêmio, and played there from 1997 to 2001. He played for the Brazilian national team for the first time in 1997, and became a national sensation after scoring an anthological goal against Venezuela at a Copa América match. In 2001 Ronaldinho Gaúcho came to play in Europe, at Paris Saint-Germain. The manager of PSG thought that Ronaldinho was too focused on the Paris nightlife than on his football. Although he left shortly after this, he would regardless have left soon after, as PSG could not compete with the offers being thrown at Ronaldinho by many of the best clubs in the world. FC Barcelona snapped him up for ? 27 million , winning a bidding war against Manchester United. Ronaldinho justified their purchase, however, leading the team to a second-place finish in the Spanish first division during the 03/04 season. Together with Samuel Eto'o, Henrik Larsson and Ludovic Giuly he comprises part of an awseome strike force which has led the Catalans to the top of the Spanish league with a large gap down to second place.