Ronaldinho at Barcelona

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Ronaldinho had tasted success with Brazil, lifting the 2002 World Cup

He left PSG to join Barcelona in 2003 for a fee of €30million. His first season with the Spanish giants was plagued by injury but he managed to play enough games in the second half of the campaign to propel Barca to a second place finish.

Ronaldinho Copyright Reto Stauffer and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence 3

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In his second season, he really made his mark. His good form continued and in December 2004 he was named FIFA World Player of the Year. He helped his side win La Liga, finishing four points ahead of the Galácticos of Real Madrid.

Ironically, Ronaldinho was only at Barcelona in the first place because they had failed to sign David Beckham in 2003. Beckham chose to go to Real Madrid to become a Galáctico and Barca went for Ronaldinho.

Fast forward two years and Ronaldinho was better than all the Galácticos and his side had finished above them to win the league. In 2005, he was named as FIFA World Player of the Year for a second time and also became European Footballer of the Year.

The most successful year in Ronaldinho’s club career came in 2006. He helped Barcelona retain La Liga and also won the Champions League in a 2-1 victory over Arsenal. He scored 26 goals in all competitions, making it his most prolific season.

Ronaldinho won 13 major honours including five league titles, one Champions League and one World Cup.

In all he spent five years at the Nou Camp. He scored 70 goals in 145 games and picked up five trophies. In 2008 he headed to Italy for a new challenge after Barcelona went two years without lifting a trophy.

Mixed fortunes at AC Milan

He joined AC Milan for €24million and endeared himself to his new fans when he scored his first goal for the club in a 1-0 victory over rivals, Internazionale. His time with Milan was a mixed experience. He spent a lot of time on the bench and was not always at his brilliant best.

Milan had experienced problems of their own. They were still recovering from the Calciopoli scandal of 2006 in which they had been found guilty of influencing the selection of referees. They were in the process of rebuilding their reputation and their team.

In 2010-11, after two seasons without a trophy with Milan, Ronaldinho helped the side to the Serie A title. He had actually left the club by the time they won the title but he was credited with having played his part.

Back home to Brazil and Flamengo

Ronaldinho went back home to Brazil in January 2011 and joined Flamengo. Within months of joining the club, he had won three trophies: Taça Guanabara, Taça Rio and Campeonato Carioca. He also continued his habit of scoring against his club’s rivals with a hat trick against Santos.

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Football’s Greatest Players