Ronaldo de Assis Moreira aka Ronaldinho is one of the most loved footballers out there and if you ask us, that in itself has to be a great achievement for the athlete.
Making a name for himself in his debut at the 1997 FIFA Under-17 World Cup as that kid who dazzled the entire tournament with his drilling skills and tricks, Ronaldinho went on to lead his nation to victory and eternal glory in the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
The 2005 Ballon d'Or holder has also had numerous club-level championships and individuals honours especially during his years of prime and optimal performance with Barcelona FC, during which he helped the club bag back to back La Liga and Supercopa de Espana trophies in 2005 and 2006 while also winning the UEFA Champions League in 2006.
These statistics and numbers are well-documented, so here are five more facts about the Brazilian legend that are little-known:1. Second Barcelona Player To Be Cheered By Real Madrid Fans
The rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid is older than time itself. People of Barcelona don't like Los Blancos and Real fans hate Lionel Messi's face. To put things in perspective, consider the example of Luis Figo who made the grave mistake of moving from Barca to Madrid and got a pig's head thrown at him during an El Clasico encounter in 2000.
But all that hate melted away, albeit for a day, when in 2005, Ronaldinho put on a show at the Bernabeu as he scored two of the three goals for his side as Barca won 3-0. His amazing ball control and two great runs with the ball earned him a nod from the Real Madrid fans and Ronaldinho became only the second Barcelona player to get a standing ovation from them after Diego Maradona in 1983.2. Lost His Coca-Cola Sponsorship For Drinking Pepsi At A Press Conference
During his prime, the Brazilian signed a multi-year six-figure deal with the beverage giant Coca-Cola as the company's sporting brand ambassador. Like any other product based deal, an obvious clause about not consuming a different brand's product from the same genre, in public was included.
But the athlete was seen drinking Pepsi at one of the press conferences and the decision-makers at Coca-Cola were not happy, thereby taking away the lucrative contract from the star for breach of contract.3. Scored 23 Goals In A Single Game
He was given the nickname 'Ronaldinho' because of the fact that he was often the youngest and smallest player of the team that he used to play for. But why did these teams select such a small kid as a part of their squads? Here's why:
As a 13-year-old, he went on to score a total of 23 goals in a local youth league catching the attention of the team selectors ahead of the Under-17 World Cup. Brazil even won the FIFA Under 17 World Championship in 1997.4. His 2005 Nike Ad Was The First Video To Cross 1 Million Views On YouTube
Even if you are not a dedicated football fan, chances are that you have already seen this Nike commercial from 2005. After all, this was probably the very first video that went 'viral' on the net as it crossed the one million mark on YouTube becoming the first video ever to do so.
The advert shows Ronaldinho lacing up his new Nike kicks before putting up an amazing display of accuracy and dribbling skills as he shoots the ball at the crossbar four consecutive times without dropping it even once. Sure it seems that the video is doctored (it has to be, right?) but it did break the internet back then.5. Ran His Own Line Of Condoms
Known for trying his best to create awareness about safe *** and HIV/AIDS and how to avoid the disease, Ronaldinho also ran his own line of condoms by the name of '*** Free'.
The range carried the slogan 'EU SOU GALO', which means 'I am Galo'; Galo is the name of the football club Atletico Mineiro for which the Brazilian used to place at the time of the product's launch.
Galo, when translated to English, also means a rooster which is also known as 'you know what'.