Ronaldinho Gaucho

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."


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