11 times Ronaldinho's brilliance made us all go weak at the knees


9. Overhead ovation (2006)

Most players would have just stooped to head Xavi's dinked cross. The ball was probably a little low to impart any great power, but hit the target and who knows, right?

Ronaldinho is not most players. Even a decade later, you can almost hear his brain rifling through possible solutions to this particular spatial challenge. The one he settled on was, of course, perfect.

10. Battle of the generations (2011)

He may not have pulled up trees during a stint at Milan, but Ronaldinho returned to Brazil with his star power undiminished. Not all of the headlines were positive (Flamengo coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo memorably felt compelled to install a CCTV system at a training camp to prevent the playmaker sneaking girls in), but there were more than enough gala displays to endear the veteran to Fla supporters and neutrals alike.

In 2011, he played a starring role in a topsy-turvy thriller against a Santos side inspired by young upstart Neymar. Ronaldinho's hat-trick sealed a 5-4 victory for Flamengo, but with the younger man's Puskás Award-winning goal snatching most of the plaudits, it felt like a baton was being passed from one great entertainer to another.

11. Turning to the bottle (2013)

Ronaldinho never was one to shy away from the bottle (sorry), but this goal for Atlético Mineiro in 2013 took things to another level. With play stopped, he wandered over for a sip of Rogério Ceni's water. But instead of returning to his position, he peeled into space behind the unsuspecting São Paulo back four, received a long throw-in and squared for Jô to score.

"It wasn't planned at all," he claimed after the match, but many – including most São Paulo fans, who kicked up quite a fuss – had their doubts. You can take the footballer off the street, but you can't take the street out of the footballer.

Read the full interview with Ronaldinho in the March 2017 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. A South American special, we also chat to Manchester City defender Pablo Zabaleta about learning English while watching Coronation Street, learn that West Bromwich Albion powerhouse Salomon Rondon doesn’t actually like heading, reminisce with former Real Madrid forward Robinho and meet up with Bayern Munich enforcer Arturo Vidal. Plus, we find out why Oscar swapped Chelsea for China, look back on the early days of Diego Maradona’s career at Argentinos Juniors, hear some remarkable tales from football’s own Forrest Gump, aka Nelson Vivas, and find out how Chapecoense go about healing a club and local community following November’s plane tragedy in Colombia. Order it now, and then subscribe here!