The legendary Brazilian joined the Catalans in 2003 and as they say, the rest is history. He brought Joy back to the hearts of the Camp Nou fans
On this day, twelve years ago, Barcelona signed a star that went on to change the entire history of the club with his unmatched piece of magic.
He was signed during a period of pains and weeping from Barcelona fans, a period when Barcelona were labelled ‘boring’ to watch, a period when people make fun of you just because you are a supporter of a ‘losing team’ – Barca, a period when football looked like it was not just made for Barca but Ronaldinho changed all these.
Due to the crisis in the club in 2003 which saw Barca finish 6th in La Liga and crash out in the first round of the Copa del Rey, the club staged a presidential elections of which Joan Laporta would win. The new president had ideas to bring Barca back among football’s elite and was in pursuit of Manchester United wonder David Beckham.
David Beckham was Barcelona’s main target but fortunately for Barca, he was signed by Real Madrid. This move made the board to look at other directions and BOOM! Ronaldinho – a Brazilian wonder was signed from PSG.
July 21, 2003 was the glorious day the starlet joined Barca and from that moment, situations changed at the club. Barcelona, with a player called Dinho were gradually gaining that lost magic wand. Ronnie’s style of play touched the hearts of all Barca fans both young and old.
The manner at which Ronaldinho lightens up the pitch in almost every game brought smiles back to the faces of Cules. The Camp Nou began to fill up once again, just to watch a Barca with Ronaldinho.
His debut goal for Barca [against Sevilla] was the start of everything. He collected the ball from the goalkeeper in his own half of the pitch, beat all his markers and fired a thunderous shot from 30 yards out that rocketed into the back of the net. That goal left all fans at the Camp Nou speechless.
He ended his first season with 22 goals in 45 matches and Barcelona qualified for the Champions League, finishing second (due to Ronaldinho’s injury during the first half of the season that saw Barca slump to 12th).
The 2004-2005 season, Ronaldinho’s helped Barca win their first trophy in six years as the Catalans won the Liga title but Barcelona were still in transition. However, Ronaldinho was awarded the FIFA World Player of the Year award.
The next season was perhaps, an unforgettable one. It was the best Ronaldinho ever! Like watching a god play football. The Brazilian helped Barca win their first Uefa Champions League trophy since 1992 and was awarded the tournament’s best player by UEFA. Barcelona also won the Liga title for the second consecutive season and Ronaldinho was awarded his second FIFA World Player of the Year and was also presented the Ballon d’Or for being the best player across all Europe.
On 19 November, 2005, Ronaldinho put in a dazzling display that saw him score twice in Barcelona’s 0-3 away win over Real Madrid, his god-like performance led to a standing ovation from the home fans at the Bernabeu. An unthinkable achievement.
Ronaldinho rewrote the history of FC Barcelona, making them the best football club in the world. He brought millions of fans to Barcelona. He gave the club a magnificent global image. He brought Happiness back to Barca.
During his 5 years at Barcelona, Ronaldinho played a total of 207 games registering 130 wins, 43 draws, 34 losses and notching up an astonishing 94 goals & 62 assists.
Ronaldinho – one of the greatest footballer to ever live on earth. An everyday Magician. A Legend!