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Ronaldinho joins Brazil soccer legends on Maracana walk of fame

Brazilian former soccer player Ronaldinho Gaucho (C) leaves his footprint at the Maracana Stadium's sidewalk of the fame, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8 January 2018. EPA-EFE/ Antonio Lacerda

Brazilian former soccer player Ronaldinho Gaucho (C) leaves his footprint at the Maracana Stadium’s sidewalk of the fame, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, 8 January 2018. EPA-EFE/ Antonio Lacerda

EFE

Ronaldinho Gaucho, a member of the Brazil squad that won the 2002 World Cup , was honored Tuesday at Rio’s iconic Maracana stadium, where he left his footprints in the walk of fame alongside those of legends such as Pele and Marta.

The 38-year-old former striker said he was “grateful and excited” to be recognized in that way.

“It’s a pleasure to be here, I love Rio de Janeiro and the Maracana is the biggest soccer stadium of all, so receiving this honor here is very special,” he said.

Ronaldinho, who officially retired a year ago, said he continues to have a very active life and added that they are “working out the details” of organizing several farewell parties.

Making his professional debut in 1998 with Gremio, he went on to play for clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain, FC Barcelona and AC Milan.

The Brazilian’s tenure with Barça included LaLiga and Champions League titles and saw him named FIFA World Player of the Year on two occasions.

In the press conference that he granted after the tribute, Ronaldinho said that it was impossible for him to choose the moment he remembers best during his career.

He declined to answer questions about his support for Brazil’s new far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro.

Ronaldinho was also unwilling to comment on the legal problems that prevent him from traveling outside of Brazil.

In October, a court in the southern state of Rio Grande do Sul revoked Ronaldinho’s passport and that of his brother for failing to pay a $2.7 million fine levied after their construction company built in an environmentally protected area.


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