He was born as Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, on 21 March 1980, in the city of Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. His mother Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos worked as a salesperson while his father, João de Assis Moreira, was a shipyard worker who also played football for a local club. He inherited his father’s passion for football and started playing organized football as a small child. Unfortunately, his father whom he idolized died of a heart attack when Ronaldinho was eight. He became an active participant in local youth club matches and acquired the nickname ‘Ronaldinho’ during this time. He first came into limelight when he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team when he was 13. In 1997, he was selected for Brazil’s Under-17 national team and helped his squad win the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Egypt.
A player regarded for his technique, tricks, overhead kicks, and dribbling, he was a member of Brazil’s 2002 World Cup winning team. Playing in his very first World Cup, in 2002, he scored the game-winning score in a quarter-final victory over England. Along with Ronaldo and Rivaldo, he was a part of the attacking trio that made the Brazilian team one of the most formidable ones in international football. Born as the son of a small-time footballer, Ronaldinho developed an early interest in the game and started playing in the youth club matches by the time he was eight. He first caught the media’s attention when as a 13 year old he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team. Identified as a rising star, he made his senior side debut during the 1998 Copa Libertadores and eventually signed a five-year contract with French side Paris Saint-Germain in 2001. He was a member of the Brazilian squad in the World Cup 2002 and played an active role in helping his team clinch the championship. He later on joined the FC Barcelona of the Spanish league and achieved great success over the next few years, winning back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year awards in 2004 and 2005.