There was a time not too long ago when Ronaldinho was considered an international cultural treasure. Every step over move and shoulder feint was fawned over like the brush stroke of a master painter.
"God gives gifts to everyone. Some can write, some can dance. He gave me the skill to play football and I am making the most of it," the long-haired Brazilian soccer star said during that charmed era, likely with his signature snaggle-toothed grin.
While the peak years of his footballing career were as impressive as anything we've seen, his reign was cut short by a penchant for partying. From a distance, it seemed that the mischievous grin of his was as present in the nightclubs of Barcelona and Brazil as it was at the Camp Nou.
Having first departed Barca for Italy and then returned to his homeland, the former back-to-back FIFA World Player Of The Year in 2004 and 2005 looked like his old self during a Brasileirao Serie A match when his Flamengo team took on Avai.
Ronaldinho scored both of Flamengo's goals in the 3-2 loss, including a stunning, bending strike from a corner kick.
Ronnie struck the ball with such malice and it bent toward the goal at such a venomous angle that the keeper had to attempt to punch it clear just past the near post. The Avai goalkeeper flailed at the net-seeking missile with his gloved fists but managed only to punch the ball emphatically into the back of his own goal.
This remarkable shot is just the latest highlight in Ronaldinho's late-career renaissance, which includes a recall to the Brazilian national team earlier this summer.
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