Ballon d’Or: 2005 – Ronaldinho inspires a generation

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Every generation of football fan has that one player who made the game look like the easiest and funnest thing in the world.

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Today’s youth have had the pleasure of watching Lionel Messi ruin defences all over the planet with incredible simplicity, but before him, Barcelona had another world beater laying claim to the much coveted GOAT tag.

Ronaldinho was already a World Cup winner by the time he joined the Catalan giants in 2003. He had announced himself to the world in South Korea by royally mugging off England goalkeeper David Seaman with a long and looping free kick before being sent off in that same quarter final clash.

His first season went well, scoring 21 goals in all competitions, though trophy glory evaded Barça as they fell short in La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Cup.

He was named the FIFA World Player of the Year for 2004, showing he was at the peak of his powers before he retained the title a year later alongside his only Ballon d’Or. He was fully deserving of France Football’s prize too, finishing comfortably ahead of closest competitors Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard.

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