Born Ronaldo de Assis Moreira in Porto Alegre, Brazil on March 21, 1980, Ronaldinho ( or "little Ronaldo", not to be confused with another Brazilian soccer great Ronaldo ) began his career at age 17 with local team Gremio de Porto Alegre.
His natural talent on the field, and the evident joy with which he played, quickly endeared him to Brazilian fans. Later, with six goals leading to a victory in the Copa America in 1999, he was eventually brought to the attention of international coaches.
By 2001, Ronaldinho was signed on with the French team Paris St. Germain (PSG) which later proved to be an early misstep - reportedly blamed on the young player's taste for the Paris nightlife over the rigors of soccer.
However, by the time his contract was up in 2003, a host of other European teams were clamoring for the player. FC Barcelona won out to claim the Brazilian star as he followed in the illustrious footsteps of other great Brazilian "Barca" champs such as Evaristo, Romario, Rivaldo, and Roaldo.
Ronaldinho soon lived up to the reputations of countrymen by helping his new team win 17 consecutive matches in his first season, holding his own as part of an incredible strike force including such greats as Deco, Xavi Hernandez, Samuel Eto'o, Ludovic Giuly and Henrik Larsson who went to win the 2004/05 La Liga title for FC Barcelona.
In addition, Ronaldinho's individual talent has garnered the Brazilian player awards such as the FIFA World Player 2004 and 2005 and the Ballon d'Or 2005.
Now under a $14 million contract with FC Barcelona until June 30, 2010, Ronaldinho is widely considered to be quite possibly the best player in the world .... as he heads into a star appearance at the 2006 FIFA World Cup championship.