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Ronaldinho: 5 Best Seasons In His Career

If you ask a soccer fan how highly they rate Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, there’s a good chance they won’t know who you’re talking about. If you tell them the player is also known as Ronaldinho, their face will probably light up; Brazil is well-known for its outstanding soccer players, and Ronaldinho was one of the very best we’ve ever seen. 

Always smiling and always superb value for money, Ronaldinho could do things with a soccer ball that most players can only dream about. The former two-time FIFA player of the Year winner played soccer like he was on the beach, relaxed, having fun, and making the game look beautiful. 

You’ll not find anyone with a bad word to say against the World Cup winner; an attacking midfielder who scored audacious goals, Ronaldinho rarely tackled, rarely tracked back, but made up for it with sheer attacking brilliance.

Ronaldinho would evolve into one of the most fantastic number 10s of all time and became one of the most popular players of his generation. 

In a career littered with trophies and personal accolades, it’s tough to pick out five of the best seasons in Ronaldinho’s career; he rarely had a bad year and scored goals wherever he played.

We’re going to give it a shot, though, and with spells at Barcelona and AC Milan and for the Brazilian national team to choose from, it’s going to be a lot of fun looking back at his career. 

Here are Ronaldinho’s 5 best seasons in his career.

5. 2004/2005 Season

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Despite Brazil being one of the most successful international teams of all time, surprisingly, the country has only ever won two Confederations Cups. The second, in 2005, was in no small part due to the incredible form Ronaldinho found himself in during the 2005 season. 

The Brazilian superstar had already shown himself to be a world-class player on the domestic stage but kept his form and helped Brazil to dominate during that year’s Confederations Cup, held in Germany.

By the end of the tournament, Ronaldinho would be the joint top-scorer and also the joint-highest scorer in the competition’s history. 

Brazil had a challenging route to the final, beating host nation Germany 3-2 in the semi-final, in which Ronaldinho scored, and the final would be against their arch-rivals, Argentina.

A resounding 4-1 victory would follow, with the mercurial Ronaldinho being awarded the Man of the Match award for his contribution to the team’s success.

4. 2003/2004 Season

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Ronaldinho would spend five incredible seasons at Barcelona, who he joined in 2003 for €30 million. It was a close call, though, as Manchester United had been keen to sign the Paris Saint Germain player for some time.

Luckily for Barcelona fans, Ronaldinho was unveiled and would have unprecedented success while at the Catalan club. 

The club’s poor start to the season was made even worse by an injury to Ronaldinho. By the second half of the season, a fit again and rejuvenated Ronaldinho would almost single-handedly push the team forwards.

Incredibly, the team finished the season in second place in La Liga, with their talismanic Brazilian scoring 15 goals. 

The rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona has always been insane, though it had been seven years since Barcelona had beaten Real Madrid at the Bernabeu.

A Rinaldinho-led Barca finally broke their duck and defeated Real on their own turf, with Xavi, the future Barcelona star, citing that win as the game that made Barcelona believe they could finally achieve dominance. 

3. 2009/2010 Season

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After five years at Barcelona, Ronaldinho looked jaded and lost, so his move to Italy to play for the Milanese giants, AC Milan, was seen as a chance to resurrect his flagging career. Two seasons later, it looked like the Brazilian had made the right choice. 

After a fairly poor debut season, Ronaldinho recaptured his form and enthusiasm for the game and would be the best player at Milan during the 2009-2010 season.

Despite his slow start, Ronaldinho would finish as the club’s assist leader and show his incredible skills in the Champions League. 

2. 2001/2002 Season

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One of the crowning glories of Ronaldinho’s career has to be the 2002 World Cup finals held in South Korea and Japan. The 2002 tournament was Ronaldinho’s first World Cup, and he ensured it was one he, and the Brazilian fans, would never forget. 

Appearing in five games, although it’s likely it would have been six had he not received a red card in the quarter-final against England, Ronaldinho scored twice and set up three more goals for his teammates.

And what teammates they were; As well as Ronaldinho playing as part of a front three, he was also joined by legendary Brazilian forwards Ronaldo and Rivaldo.

It’s arguably one of the greatest forward line-ups of all time, and it showed, as Brazil dominated games from start to finish.

Brazil really came to life during the quarter-final against England, where Ronaldinho’s creative brilliance set up the equalizing goal for Rivaldo. At 1-1, the game was on a knife edge, with both teams terrified of losing. 

In the 50th minute, Ronaldinho took matters into his own hands; seeing England’s goalkeeper David Seaman off his line, Ronaldinho took a 40-yard free-kick and punted the ball high over the England number one, scoring arguably the goal of the tournament.

Many fans and pundits assumed it was a fluke, but the Brazilian aimed for that part of the goal when no teammates were nearby. 

Brazil went on to win the game, although just seven minutes after his wonder goal, Ronaldinho was sent off for what seemed an innocuous challenge.

Forced to miss the semi-final against Turkey, Ronaldinho had to hope and pray his country could make it to the final without him. They did, beating Turkey 1-0, and the stage was set for a final showdown with Germany. 

The final would belong to Brazil’s greatest-ever striker, Ronaldo. After the 1998 World Cup, where he had been forced to play in the final after having a nervous breakdown, Ronaldo turned up at the 2002 tournament like a man possessed and would finish the tournament with eight goals. 

Two goals in the final sealed the victory for Brazil, and Ronaldinho and Brazil had the trophy every Brazilian covets more than any other.

Winning the trophy in his first tournament was incredible, but making it Brazil’s fifth World Cup was record-breaking stuff. Only Germany, Brazil’s opponents in the 2002 final, are close, having won the World Cup four times. 

1. 2005/2006 Season

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The 2005-2006 seasons were arguably Ronaldinho’s best ever as a professional player. As well as winning multiple individual awards, including the 2005 European Footballer of the Year award and the FIFA World Player of the Year award for the second consecutive year, it was also a record-breaking year with Barcelona. 

The club won the Supercopa de Espana and La Liga in both 2005 and 2006, and also historically won the 2005-06 Champions League for the first time.

Ronaldinho’s form was incredible during this period of his career, and the accolades kept rolling in, culminating in the Brazilian winning the Ballon d’Or for the first and only time in his career. 

Ronaldinho is one of only three players to have ever been applauded off the field by Real Madrid fans, alongside the legendary Diego Maradona and, later, Xavi. Ronaldinho’s goals were vital for the club in the Champions League, helping them overcome teams such as AC Milan, Benfica, and in the final, Arsenal.

His career-best 26 goals, including seven in the Champions League and 17 in La Liga, alongside his dozens of assists, made Ronaldinho the most crucial player in the team. He was, at times, unstoppable and able to create, score, and wreak havoc amongst defenses. 

Ronaldinho’s consistency made it impossible for him not to be voted the UEFA Club Footballer of the Year, adding even more silverware to his season’s haul. It’s hard even to imagine a better season, personally and professionally. 

Ronaldinho helped his team win everything, beating some of the best teams in Europe and doing it with an exciting style that made the 2005-2006 Barcelona team one of the greatest sides in soccer history.

I listed the best seasons of some other all-time greats in these articles: