Ronaldinho was back in a Barcelona shirt on Tuesday and showed off some glimpses of the old magic in a Legends friendly game against rivals Real Madrid in Israel.
The Brazilian was part of a star-studded Barcelona line-up that included some high-profile former players such as Deco, Rivaldo, Gaizka Mendieta, Javier Saviola, and Ronald De Boer.
Ronaldinho caught the eye from the off in the warm-up as he nonchalantly juggled the ball and practised some of his old tricks.
The 41-year-old also came close to a brilliant opening goal but saw a powerful shot across goal smash against the woodwork and fly away to safety.
However, Ronaldinho did make sure his got his name on the scoresheet with an emphatic penalty to give Barcelona the lead in the match.
Real Madrid hit back to take a 2-1 lead in the game but that certainly didn’t stop Ronaldinho showing off some of his famous flair.
Jofre Mateu made it 2-2 to Barcelona with a tidy strike but Real Madrid ran out 3-2 winner when Ruben de la Red struck the winner for Los Blancos.
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Ronaldinho Talks Lionel Messi
Ronaldinho spoke about Lionel Messi in the build-up to the game and admitted he had loved seeing his former teammate win the Copa America even if the victory did come against Brazil.
The forward told reporters, “I was sad that the Selecao lost, but happy for Messi. It was a storm of emotions, that’s how it is when a friend like Messi faces Brazil.”
The Brazilian also admitted he was happy to catch up with some of his old teammates and face old rivals such as Iker Casillas, Luis Figo, and Roberto Carlos, as reported by the club’s official website.
He explained, “I’m very happy to meet old team-mates and get to enjoy another Clásico like this … I have very fond memories of these games and they are the kind of thing that stick in the minds of supporters of both teams.”
Clasicos Set For 2021-22
Ronaldinho and his teammates will undoubtedly be interested onlookers when the two Clasicos roll around in the new La Liga season. The first match between the two rivals is set for October 24 at the Camp Nou. Barcelona is then due to head to Real Madrid for the return fixture on 20 March 2022.
Ronald Koeman’s side have work to do to improve their record against Los Blancos. The Catalan giants failed to win either game against Real Madrid last season, going down 2-1 in the capital and losing 3-1 at the Camp Nou.
Yet both clubs are undergoing plenty of changes ahead of the new season. Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has been replaced by Carlo Ancelotti, while captain Sergio Ramos has left for Paris Saint-Germain.
Meanwhile, Barcelona has waved goodbye to several fringe players and is expected to offload more stars to cut the club’s wage bill. Antoine Griezmann has been heavily linked with an exit and reportedly could be sold to fund Lionel Messi’s new contract.