Ronaldinho: Best and most humble

Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho is widely considered the best footballer in the world - and he has the awards and trophies to prove it.

World Footballer of the Year in 2004 and 2005, a World Cup winner with Brazil in 2002 and hot favorite to repeat that success in the June 9 - July 9 finals in Germany later this year, the 26-year-old added a Champions League medal to his collection last week when he played in Barcelona's 2-1 Champions League final victory against Arsenal.

"I think I am a player playing very good football, so I am happy. But I am aware of the fact that I have room for improvement. But in every country there are lots of great players." Ronaldinho, said.

Asked to name three, the soft-spoken striker rattles off names. "I could name more than three: Henry, Zidane, Ronaldo, Adriano, Robinho, Kaka, Shevchenko, Inzaghi...there are lots in every team."

Ronaldinho, who was born Ronaldo de Assis Moreira in Porte Alegre and is commonly known as Ronaldinho Gaucho due to his being from the Rio Grande do Sul state of Brazil, was given the nickname Ronaldinho to distinguish between himself and his compatriot Ronaldo.

He was born into a poor family. His mother sold cosmetics door to door as the salary from Ronaldinho's late father, who was a shipyard worker was not enough to support the family.

Although a lot has changed since then and his family remains the most important thing in his life, he is now firmly focused on the World Cup ahead.

He says he is hoping that the Selecao can repeat their triumph of four years ago, but he is quick to point out that his main aim is not to be the superstar of the World Cup.

"My plan is that it will be the World Cup of the Brazilian team, not me. The important thing is that Brazil wins the tournament for the sixth time. That is my plan. I am not thinking about anything


He admits though that he wants to follow in the footsteps of other great players. "Players like Pele, Diego Maradona and Franz Beckenbauer. I want to win the most trophies possible so that people remember me as a player who did something very important for football."

Ronaldinho, who spends much of his free time involved in charity work for organizations such as the United Nations children's organization, UNICEF, is aware how important the World Cup is to the people of Brazil.

"Football is very important there and the sadness and disappointment when we don't win is out of this world. I remember very well when Brazil lost to France in 1998 there was a lot of sadness.

"For Brazilian football, finishing second is the same as finishing last. The objective is always to end up as champions. I come from a country where football is one of, if not THE most important thing."

Having once scored 23 goals in a match as a 13-year old, Ronaldinho would like to see his son follow in his footsteps. "I would love it if he was a footballer. For a footballer it's great if your son continues in the profession. But I will give him the freedom to do whatever he really wants to do, that's for sure."

(Source: BKP)

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