FC Barcelona legend Ronaldinho suffered an incredible fall from grace, and the reason for his quick downfall has been speculated by many. Is this the real reason for the Brazilian fell out of love with the beautiful game?
The 2002 FIFA World Cup winner will forever be remembered as one of football’s greatest entertainers, but it was his short-lived prime that confused many of his fans.
Ronaldinho was crowned the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, but just a year later, the Brazilian was not the player he once was, despite having age on his side.
Being the world’s biggest superstar at the time, pressure was on Ronaldinho to perform at the 2006 FIFA World Cup with Brazil, but in Guillem Balague’s biography titled Messi, the Spanish journalist speculated it was the Selecao’s failure at the tournament that led to the former Barca star’s rapid decline.
“They (Brazil) annihilated Ghana in the last 16 but did not correct the imbalances that prevented them from beating France in the quarter-finals,” he wrote.
“It was a huge disappointment in a country in which coming second is regarded as a failure.
“And that is where Ronaldinho’s love of the game died. The pressure had been excessive. He appeared to lose his enthusiasm for a sport he had enjoyed playing for personal enjoyment.
“Friends who really loved Ronaldinho saw him sad and depressed from that summer onwards.”
The 2006/07 season the Brazilian produced excellent performances on the field for the Catalan club, but it was believed that his attitude had become complacent.
The 2007/08 campaign was a season of massive disappointment, as Ronaldinho mysteriously disappeared from Barca’s side.
He was sold to AC Milan when Pep Guardiola took charge in 2008, but despite his sorry ending to his Barca career – he will always be held in the highest regard by the club’s faithful fans.
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