The Brazil fable is presently behind bars for allegedly using a false passport to enter Paraguay. Down the years, Ronaldinho has liked some unbelievable birthday bashes, including his 26th – when he celebrated until 6am – and his 32nd, which continued five days and cost tens of thousands of quid.
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This year was a tamer affair. But to celebrate his milestone birthday, we’ve taken a look back at his favorite all-time Champions League XI. Picking the team back in 2015, the happy trickster couldn’t resist a strong Brazilian flavor. Check out who makes the cut, and who doesn’t, below – with only one of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi named.
QUITE perhaps the greatest goalkeeper of all-time, Buffon is still going – back at Juventus at the age of 42. Buffon has made 117 Champions League arrivals, keeping 47 clean sheets in his impressive career. Very never won the tournament as Juventus’ quest for a first crown since 1995-96 continues.
Ronaldinho’s former Brazil team-mate, Roma and AC Milan legend Cafu get the nod at right-back. He played 54 times in Europe’s elite rivalry across six periods in Italy and won the title in 2006-07.
CB – John Terry
JT played 109 times in 13 seasons in the Champions League – eventually winning the title in 2010-11. The legend of England also knows Ronaldinho, having scored a late goal to cancel the superb strike of the Brazilian during the draw of the last 16 games of 2005 at Stamford Bridge.
CB – Paolo Maldini
REALLY the best mid-center to ever have laced a pair of boots, Maldini was the famous defender who “never tackled”. Maldini played in EIGHT Champions League (and European Cup) finals – winning five – including rebounding after losing the Istanbul Miracle in 2005 to defeating the same Liverpool team two years later.
LB – Roberto Carlos
Adding to the Samba vibe is left-footed, free-kick god Roberto Carlos. The Brazilian played 103 times in the Champions League with Real Madrid and Fenerbahce, charming twice with the LaLiga hulks.
CM – Frank Lampard
THE second of three Chelsea players on the list, Lampard differentiates between Xavi and Andres Iniesta – the former teammates of the Brazilian in Barcelona – in the team. Lampard, now the boss of Chelsea, played 105 times in the Champions League, winning the 2010-11 trophy to start.
CAM – Kaka
Tormentor Kaka of Brazil took the XI before the likes of Zinedine Zidane. The attacking midfielder was at its peak in the mid-00s, during his stay at AC Milan and Real Madrid – but only won only one title, the triumph 2006-07.
CM – Claude Makelele
BEFORE N’Golo Kante arrived, Makelele was the man who made CDM sexy again – with the position still known as “The Makelele Role” to this day. During his time at Chelsea and Real Madrid, the Frenchman played 84 times in the Champions League, winning the crown in 2001-02.
RW – Lionel Messi
Ronaldinho helped Messi with his very first professional goal – and the pair have been ripping things up in Spain for years. A man who needs no introduction, Messi has played 141 Champions League games to date, winning four titles in 16 seasons.
ST – Ronaldo
The “original” Brazilian Ronaldo made the team in place of Cristiano. Ronaldo has played 40 times in the Champions League with Real Madrid and Barcelona, scoring 14 times but never winning the trophy. I spent many years with Inter Milan, then in the Europa League.
LW – Thierry Henry
Arsenal legend Henry finishes the XI. The Gunners hero has played 73 times in the Champions League, scoring 35 times – but never won the trophy with Arsenal, before finally winning towards the end of his career in Barcelona.
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