Brazil and Barcelona legend Ronaldinho has confirmed he has tested positive for COVID-19. 

Ronaldinho, who won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013, posted a video to his Instagram story revealing his diagnosis. 

The 40-year-old said he is asymptomatic and is self-isolating in Belo Horizonte, having arrived in the city on Saturday. 

"I've been here in BH since yesterday, I came to participate in an event," Ronaldinho said on Sunday. 

"I took the test and tested positive for COVID. I'm fine, asymptomatic, but we'll have to leave the event for later. Soon we will be there together. Big hug!" 

It has been a turbulent year for Ronaldinho who, along with his brother Roberto Assis, was jailed in Paraguay in March after entering the country with fake passports. 

The pair were moved to house arrest in a Paraguayan hotel in April after serving 32 days in prison, with their sentences ending in August. 

Former Barcelona and Brazil star Ronaldinho has been released from house arrest in Paraguay after nearly five months.

Ronaldinho and his brother, Roberto Assis, were jailed in March after entering the country with fake passports.

The pair were then moved to house arrest in a Paraguayan hotel in April after serving 32 days in prison.

Ronaldinho, a key part of Brazil's 2002 World Cup-winning squad, and his brother were released from house arrest on Monday.

While Ronaldinho will have to pay a $90,000 fine, his brother was fined $110,000, while travel conditions were imposed on both.

Former Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan forward Ronaldinho won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013, scoring 33 times.

Ronaldinho also won the Ballon d'Or in 2005.

Martin Cardetti said he would choose former Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Ronaldinho over Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

Ronaldinho enjoyed a stellar career with Barca, Brazil, Milan and PSG, winning the 2005 Ballon d'Or, World Cup, Champions League and LaLiga among other honours.

Messi – regarded as arguably the greatest footballer ever – has claimed a record six Ballons d'Or to go with 10 LaLiga crowns, four Champions League medals and more trophies.

But Cardetti, who spent a season playing alongside Ronaldinho at PSG before the Brazilian moved to Barca in 2003, told Crack Deportivo: "As a coach, for my team I would choose Ronaldinho at his best over Messi.

"I shared a year with Ronaldinho and he is a different player, he's touched by God.

"He always had fun; with the ball he was always doing things and he practiced a lot so that he could replicate those things in matches."

On Ronaldinho, Argentinian Cardetti added: "You see him in training, in matches and every move he makes is different from everyone," he added.

"Players like him appear very rarely and they are remembered in football history.

"I'm proud to have been a teammate of that kind of player."

Bruno Fernandes says he has modelled his game around that of Barcelona great Andres Iniesta, while Ronaldinho and Cristiano Ronaldo are his biggest footballing heroes.

The midfielder has impressed since signing for Manchester United from Sporting CP during the January transfer window and is already a favourite among the club's supporters.

Former Brazil star Ronaldinho and his Portugal team-mate Ronaldo were two players the 25-year-old idolised growing up.

It was playmaker Iniesta, though, who Fernandes revealed he has attempted to model his game on the most.

"The one I liked to watch and follow was Iniesta, because Iniesta is a mix between an eight and a 10," Fernandes told United's official website in a question and answer session.

"It is the way I can play better, between eight and 10. It is the guy who always likes to have the ball, take the risks, and I think Iniesta was one of the best in the world. 

"How Iniesta finished his career without the Ballon d'Or, with everything he won, it is difficult for me to understand!"

Of his heroes when he was younger, Fernandes added: "I have a lot of players I like to see. For example, in my first few years, the player I think is the one everyone liked and always will like is Ronaldinho. 

"For me, he is the player with the capacity to take you and put you in front of the TV, and you will stay for hours. For hours! Because he had that energy and happiness. 

"He was happy in everything he did. You enjoy it when you see guys playing like that, so for the first few years Ronaldinho was my favourite player. 

"After this, I have already said that Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the players. As a professional player, he is the best you can follow."

Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (Ronaldinho Gaúcho) became only the second Barcelona player after Diego Maradona to receive a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans at the Santiago Bernabéu. In that season he was to win his second FIFA World Player of the Year award as well as the Ballon d’Or. Ronaldinho had scored two spectacular goals in the game between Barcelona and Real, a derby known for pitting two of the world’s greatest footballing rivals against each other. His heroics in the El Clásico would come a year after Ronaldinho had won the World Cup with Brazil. He was at the top of his game and that put him on top of the world.

There are many, whom, having seen Ronaldinho, declare him the most skillful player to ever play the game, but the midfielder was also effective. That skill, the ability to dribble past players, score goals almost at will, and produce trickery that would make the world sit up and watch, brought with it trophies. Ronaldinho would become versed at taking free kicks and was always dangerous because of his ability to play anywhere in the attacking third of the football field. Ronaldinho was sometimes deployed as a winger, on either side of the midfield, as well as in the more central number-10 role. On occasion, he would also become the striker, which made him fearsome to defend. What was most scary about playing against Ronaldinho was the almost natural way he had of creating danger for opposition defenders. According Netherlands midfield general, Edgar Davids, who played with him at Milan, "For the skills and tricks, Ronaldinho was the best player that I ever played with."

Playing Career

Full name: Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (Ronaldinho Gaúcho)

Date of birth: 21 March 1980 (age 40)

Place of birth: Porto Alegre, Brazil

Height: 1.81m (5ft 11 in)

Playing positions: Attacking midfielder, forward

Club Career

        Years                    Team                             Apps   (Gls)

  • 1998–2001          Grêmio                              52      (21)
  • 2001–2003          Paris Saint-Germain            55     (17)
  • 2003–2008          Barcelona                         145      (70)
  • 2008–2011          Milan                                 76      (20)
  • 2011–2012          Flamengo                          33       (15)
  • 2012–2014          Atlético Mineiro                  48       (16)
  • 2014–2015          Querétaro                          25         (8)
  • 2015                   Fluminense                         7         (0)
  • Total                                                        441    (167)

Club Honours

  • Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Intertoto Cup: 2001
  • Barcelona - La Liga: 2004–05, 2005–06; Supercopa de España: 2005, 2006; UEFA Champions League: 2005–06
  • Milan - Serie A: 2010–11
  • Flamengo - Campeonato Carioca: 2011; Taça Guanabara: 2011; Taça Rio: 2011
  • Atlético Mineiro - Campeonato Mineiro: 2013; Copa Libertadores: 2013; Recopa Sudamericana: 2014

International Career

  • 1999-2013 Brazil 97 (33)

International Honours

  • FIFA U-17 World Championship: 1997
  • Copa América: 1999
  • CONMEBOL Pre-Olympic Tournament: 2000
  • FIFA World Cup: 2002
  • FIFA Confederations Cup: 2005
  • Olympic Bronze Medal: 2008

Individual Honours

  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Ball: 1999
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Golden Shoe: 1999
  • South American Team of the Year: 1999
  • Bola de Prata: 2000, 2011, 2012
  • FIFA World Cup All-Star Team: 2002
  • Ligue 1 Goal of The Year: 2003
  • La Liga Best Foreign Player: 2003–04, 2005–06
  • Trofeo EFE: 2003–04
  • FIFA World Player of the Year: 2004, 2005
  • UEFA Team of the Year: 2004, 2005, 2006
  • World Soccer Magazine World Player of The Year: 2004, 2005
  • UEFA Club Forward of the Year: 2004–05
  • FIFA Confederations Cup Bronze Ball: 2005
  • Ballon d'Or: 2005
  • Onze d'Or: 2005
  • FIFPro World Player of the Year: 2005, 2006
  • FIFPro World XI: 2005, 2006, 2007
  • UEFA Club Footballer of the Year: 2005–06
  • La Liga top assist provider: 2005–06
  • UEFA Champions League top assist provider: 2005–06
  • FIFA Club World Cup Bronze Ball: 2006
  • FIFA World Player of the Year Bronze award: 2006
  • Golden Foot: 2009
  • Sports Illustrated Team of the Decade: 2009
  • Serie A top assist provider: 2009–10
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Team of the Year: 2011, 2012
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Best Fan's Player: 2012
  • Campeonato Brasileiro Série A top assist provider: 2012
  • Bola de Ouro: 2012
  • Copa Libertadores top assist provider: 2012, 2013
  • South American Footballer of the Year: 2013
  • UEFA Ultimate Team of the Year (substitute; published in 2015)
  • FIFA 100
  • Brazilian Football Museum Hall of Fame
  • C. Milan Hall of Fame

Brazil and Barcelona great Ronaldinho maintains his innocence after being arrested for entering Paraguay with a fake passport, adamant the illegality of the document was a complete surprise.

Ronaldinho and Roberto Assis, the former footballer's brother and agent, were arrested on March 6 shortly after arriving in Asuncion to promote a book and the launch of an online casino.

Local authorities shared an image of what appeared to be a Paraguayan ID card bearing Ronaldinho's name and photo, with the former Ballon d'Or winner and his sibling taken into custody despite prosecutors proposing a different sanction, arguing the pair had been tricked.

The pair protested their innocence but spent 32 days in prison before being released and placed under house arrest in a hotel on April 8.

While the investigation is ongoing, Ronaldinho gave his first interview since the arrest, insisting he had no idea the ID card was fake.

"We were totally surprised to learn that the documents were not legal," Ronaldinho told Paraguayan TV station ABC Color.

"Since then our intention has been to cooperate with justice to clarify the fact, as we did from the beginning. From that moment until today, we have explained everything and facilitated everything that justice asked of us.

"It was a hard blow, I never imagined I would go through a situation like this. All my life I have sought to reach the highest professional level and bring joy to people with my football.

"We hope that they can use and confirm everything we provide as soon as our possible in the case and that we can leave this situation.

"Everything we do is under contracts that are managed by my brother, who is my manager. In this case, we came to participate in the launch of an online casino, as specified in the contract, and for the launch of the book 'Craque da Vida' that was organised with the company in Brazil that has the rights to exploit the book in Paraguay."

Ex-Barca, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan forward Ronaldinho won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013. 

He scored 33 times and was a key part of the 2002 World Cup-winning squad. 

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has branded speculation linking him with moves to Inter and Newell's Old Boys as "fake news".

Reports in Argentina, Spain and Italy in recent days have suggested Inter could launch an audacious bid to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, with Barca said to be keen to speak with the Nerazzurri about striker Lautaro Martinez.

TNT in Messi's homeland even suggested discussions had already begun over a series of transfers that would see Martinez move to Camp Nou and Messi head to Inter along with rising Velez Sarsfield star Thiago Almada.

However, Messi has made it clear there is no truth to the rumours, publishing a screenshot of the claim on his official Instagram page and labelling it "fake news".

He described the report of the Inter deal as "lie 1" and wrote "lie 2" over a further claim that bail for former team-mate Ronaldinho, who is being held in Paraguay over allegedly entering the country with a fake passport, was paid from a Barcelona-based bank account that could have been used by Messi.

Messi added: "What they said in this same publication about Newell's a few weeks ago was also false. At least nobody believes them..."

Messi's future remains unclear as he has the option to unilaterally terminate his Barca contract at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old has been at loggerheads with some of Barca's board this term, adding to speculation he could decide to walk away.

Messi called out first-team technical secretary Eric Abidal for suggesting some players downed tools during Ernesto Valverde's final weeks in charge, while he then accused figures within the club of trying to place the players under undue public scrutiny while they negotiated a voluntary 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

Manchester City are another club to have been linked with the Argentina star, who has always stressed he feels at home at Barca, where he has spent his whole senior career.

World Cup winner Ronaldinho has been moved to house arrest in a Paraguayan hotel after serving 32 days in prison. 

The 40-year-old was arrested last month, along with his brother, Roberto Assis, after authorities alleged he entered the country with a fake passport.

Ronaldinho and his brother said the documents found in their possession were a gift from Brazilian businessman Wilmondes Sousa Liria, who has already been jailed.

After the brothers paid a $1.6million bail fee on Tuesday, the two left the Asuncion jail where they had been kept and entered a hotel, where they will remain while the investigation continues.

"It is very important to reiterate, they cannot leave the country," judge Gustavo Amarilla said at a hearing.

Former Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Milan forward Ronaldinho won 97 caps for Brazil between 1999 and 2013. 

He scored 33 times and was a key part of the 2002 World Cup-winning squad. 

Barcelona star Lionel Messi is the best player of all-time while Ronaldinho belongs among the greats, according to Xavi.

Messi is a record six-time Ballon d'Or winner and is considered among the modern-day greats, alongside Cristiano Ronaldo.

His former team-mate, Xavi, has no doubt the Argentina international is the greatest player ever.

"Ronaldinho is at the level of the best. Ronaldinho is at the level of the best, perhaps what he lacked was constancy," the Al-Sadd coach told Globo Esporte.

"Perhaps he lacked constancy in being at his peak. For me, only Messi is above Ronaldinho because of the constancy of the last few years."

Xavi added: "Messi is the best in history, but Ronaldinho is with the best. The rest follow.

"He [Ronaldinho] is with the best – with Ronaldo 'Fenomeno', with Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, that group."

Messi had scored 24 goals in 31 games this season before the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In a rush to venerate Pele, the relaunched New York Cosmos announced in 2013 they would be retiring the team's number 10 shirt.

The only trouble with such a tribute was that in 1977 they had already retired the jersey, so the bootlicking gesture fell rather flat.

When it comes to Brazil, for whom Pele also wore number 10, there has never been a question of standing down that number.

Rather than ceremonially wave goodbye to such an historic emblem, the 10 emblazoned across the back of yellow and green speaks of supreme South American cachet.

Ronaldinho, who turns 40 on Saturday, wore those colours and often that number with distinction across an international career that spanned almost 15 years.

Here is an attempt to rank Brazil's greatest number 10 heroes.

1. Pele

When it comes to iconic figures in Brazil, you start at Pele and work down. Pele before Ronaldo, Pele before Ayrton Senna, Pele before even Rio's Christ the Redeemer statue. A three-time World Cup winner, Pele scored over 1,000 goals across his career - a haul that to this day sparks fiery debate. There is often the argument that a player cannot be bigger than his club, yet in the case of Pele and Santos that theory can be debunked. John Lennon once claimed The Beatles were bigger than Jesus, but Pele was bigger still than The Beatles. He joined the Cosmos in the twilight of his career and was feted in the United States, where football previously held little sway.

2. Zico

Alex Ferguson once described Wayne Rooney as "the white Pele", but that description better suits Zico, talisman of the Brazil team that flirted with greatness but fell agonisingly short. The Rio-born attacking midfielder is held in reverence by those that remember him weaving his magic for the Selecao and particularly Flamengo at club level, for whom he scored over 400 goals. A free-kick master, Zico also had successful spells at Udinese and Kashima Antlers and featured consistently highly in a string of polls assessing the best players of the 21st century. He deserved a World Cup triumph but never got one.

3. Rivaldo

Rivaldo forever tainted his legacy with shameful play-acting against Turkey at the 2002 World Cup. To "do a Rivaldo" ought to mean accomplishing a spectacular piece of skill, yet to a certain generation it will always mean flinging oneself down and feigning injury. Still, what a player he was. Better with Barcelona than with his national team, it might be argued, after five dazzling years at Camp Nou. Rivaldo was outshone by Ronaldo during Brazil's 2002 World Cup triumph, and he had perhaps just hit the downward slope of his career at that point. But watch his 2001 hat-trick for Barcelona against Valencia that earned his team a Champions League place and be wowed, and 35 goals from 74 Brazil caps isn't half bad.

4. Ronaldinho

Happy birthday fella. Back in the days when his quick feet were a passport to wealth and glory, and long before his passport was a passport to prison yard kickabouts, Ronaldinho was a whirligig of a footballer, a player for whom slow-mo replays might have been designed. His trickery could be deceptive on the eye, but they knew at Paris Saint-Germain and they knew at Barcelona that a genius lurked in their midst. He shone at the 2002 World Cup – number 11 back then to Rivaldo's number 10 – and was twice a FIFA World Player of the Year. He loved partying, maybe a little too much, but Ronaldinho was never one for restraint, on or off the pitch.

5. Jair

If that name sounds familiar, it might be because Brazil's president Jair Bolsonaro was named after this star of a long-bygone Brazilian era. Jair, an outstanding inside-forward of the day, had not only the number 10 on the back of his shirt in the 1950 World Cup title decider, but the weight of a nation's expectations too. The tournament format was unusual that year, but it came down to a round-robin finale between hosts Brazil and South American rivals Uruguay, who defied all expectation to snatch a 2-1 win. Jair reputedly said: "I'll take that loss to my grave." He scored bundles of goals for the likes of Vasco da Gama, Flamengo, Palmeiras and Santos, and died aged 84 in 2005.

6. Neymar

Neymar stands every chance of climbing this list. The Paris Saint-Germain and former Barcelona forward has over 100 caps and 61 goals for his country, and the 28-year-old perhaps suffers from comparisons to the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Greatness beckons and is within touching distance.

7. Rivelino

Diego Maradona once described Rivelino as "one of the best ever", and the Brazilian's influence on Argentina's greatest player has always been clear. A left-footed attacking midfielder, Rivelino had magnetic close control and found routes to slalom through defences that looked impassible. He is widely credited with perfecting, if not inventing, the 'flip flap' motion designed to wrong-foot and leave defenders standing, Rivelino's mastery of that technique a clear influence of future Brazil greats including Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. He was Brazil's number 11 at the 1970 World Cup – Pele being the 10 – but then had the shirt every samba star would want for the '74 and '78 finals.

8. Marta

Sorry, who's this guy? If the name is unfamiliar, then now is enlightenment time. Marta finished ahead of Mia Hamm in a 2016 Guardian poll of experts to judge the greatest female footballer of all time. A sumptuously gifted forward, she has scored a record 17 World Cup goals and been voted FIFA's best female player six times. Her dribbling is a delight, her finishing nerveless.

9. Kaka

Last seen playing five-a-side as a publicity stunt in London, Kaka's star shone brightest in his Milan years, with a six-year San Siro spell from 2003 to 2009 seeing the attacking midfielder dazzle in Serie A and the Champions League. Four years at Real Madrid followed and he had spells towards the end of his playing life with Sao Paulo, also turning out for Orlando City in MLS. The deeply religious player won 92 caps for Brazil, scoring 29 times, and was a World Cup winner in 2002, albeit playing just 25 minutes against Costa Rica. That was in the infancy of his Brazil career, and despite his blossoming in later years, being far more involved in the 2006 and 2010 tournaments, it was his lone World Cup triumph.

10. Rai

Not the Italian public broadcaster but the former Paris Saint-Germain star, who pipped the likes of Leonardo and Juninho to make this list. Rai was a fine player who nevertheless would have been forgiven for having mixed emotions when Brazil won the 1994 World Cup. He began the tournament as captain but handed the armband over to Dunga midway through after being dropped. He was benched for the final and stayed there, with Dunga the man who lifted the trophy. In a Guardian interview in 2008, Rai reflected: "It wasn't my best moment, but the win was beautiful – Brazil's first for 24 years. It was very important for us as a people."

The past 10 years has seen a number of extraordinary footballers hang up their boots.

In fact, so many have ended their playing careers between the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2020 that you could quite feasibly create an entire league of teams and have them compete for the crown of the greatest ever. Now there's an idea, Mr Infantino...

While we wait for FIFA to cotton onto that concept, we'll have to make do with a single XI - plus a manager - of those who have stepped away from football this decade

Have a look to see who made the cut for a most difficult selection...

 

GOALKEEPER: EDWIN VAN DER SAR

A winner of eight league titles with Manchester United and Ajax, twice a Champions League winner and the second-most-capped Netherlands international ever, Van der Sar called time on his career in 2016. He is now Ajax's CEO.

DEFENDER: JAVIER ZANETTI

A candidate for the greatest right-back in history, Zanetti ended his 22-year career in 2014 after winning 16 trophies with Inter, including the treble of 2009-10, and 143 Argentina caps. Practically a one-club man, he is a vice-president with the Nerazzurri today.

DEFENDER: FABIO CANNAVARO

The last defender to win the Ballon d'Or, earned by leading Italy to the 2006 World Cup with some of the finest defensive performances ever seen in tournament football, Cannavaro was also twice a LaLiga champion with Real Madrid. He is Guangzhou Evergrande head coach these days.

DEFENDER: CARLES PUYOL

Centre-back supreme for the best Spain and Barcelona teams of all time, Puyol won 20 major honours for club and country, including the 2010 World Cup, where he scored the semi-final winner. He retired at the end of 2013-14, for once without lifting a trophy with Barca.

DEFENDER: ROBERTO CARLOS

Four LaLiga titles and three Champions Leagues with Real Madrid, plus the 2002 World Cup and two Copas America with Brazil, but *that* free-kick back in 1997 is probably enough on its own to get him into this team. Roberto Carlos retired with Delhi Dynamos in 2015.

MIDFIELDER: CLAUDE MAKELELE

So good, they named a position after him, even though hardly any midfielders now play as he did. Makelele was the master of defensive midfield, a league champion with Real Madrid and Chelsea and a Champions League winner. He now has a youth coach and mentoring role at Stamford Bridge.

MIDFIELDER: XAVI

Perhaps the best ever central midfield metronome, Xavi passed his way to 25 major honours with Barcelona, plus one World Cup and two European Championships in 133 Spain appearances. He also won four trophies with Al Sadd, where he retired to become head coach this year.

MIDFIELDER: RYAN GIGGS

Arguably Manchester United's finest ever player, Wales boss Giggs amassed 963 appearances for the club. He won 25 trophies, including 13 top-flight titles - more than every club in England, except United, Liverpool and Arsenal. He retired in 2014, at the age of 40.

FORWARD: RONALDINHO

Barcelona's brilliant Brazilian led their revival from 2003 to 2008, winning two LaLiga titles, the Champions League and a standing ovation from Real Madrid fans in the Clasico. A Serie A title with AC Milan followed, as did the Copa Libertadores with Atletico Mineiro in 2013.

FORWARD: RIVALDO

The 1999 Ballon d'Or winner and FIFA World Player of the Year, Rivaldo was a star for Barcelona from 1997 to 2002 but was still playing in 2015 in his homeland, 24 years on from his professional debut. He also won the 2002 World Cup with Brazil, alongside Ronaldinho and...

FORWARD: RONALDO

'O Fenomeno' completed Brazil's magical trident of 2002. Ronaldo won trophies with Cruzeiro, PSV, Barcelona, Inter, Real Madrid and Corinthians, where he retired in 2011. Without his injuries, he would likely be thought of as history's greatest number nine. Some think he is anyway.

MANAGER: ALEX FERGUSON

Manchester United rather went off a cliff after Ferguson retired in 2013, having won league title number 13 to add to 25 other major honours for the Red Devils and Aberdeen. The famous hairdryer still blows from time to time from the stands during United matches.

Lionel Messi can certainly be considered the best player of his era but Brazil great and former Barcelona team-mate Ronaldinho does not think he is the greatest of all time.

Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or earlier this month, taking him ahead of long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo.

While the Juventus star has shown signs of decline over the past year or so at 34, Messi – two years his junior – continues to sparkle in LaLiga with Barca.

Despite missing a chunk of the early-season action through injury, Messi already leads the scoring charts in Spain's top flight with 12 goals from just nine starts – Karim Benzema has 11 from 14.

The Argentina star's form has been particularly impressive over the past six weeks, netting 13 times in 10 games for club and country, most recently hitting a hat-trick in Barca's 5-2 triumph over Real Mallorca.

But Ronaldinho, who spent the best part of four years as Messi's team-mate, is uneasy about suggestions the forward is the greatest to ever play the sport.

Speaking at a charity event in Mexico, Ronaldinho said: "I'm glad for Messi because he's a friend, aside from the fact he's been a leader of Barcelona.

"I don't like comparisons because it's hard to identify who is the best in history. There's Diego Maradona, Pele, Ronaldo.

"I can't say that Messi is the best ever, but he is the best in his time."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.