Ronaldo de Assis Moreira aka Ronaldinho Gaucho, as he is popularly known; provided a spectacle for futsal fans in India as he scored five for his Goa 5s team against a hapless Bengaluru. Captained by Paul Scholes, Bengaluru suffered their first defeat of the tournament after sharing the spoils in the opening game against Kolkata.
Premier Futsal’s Chennai leg was coming to an end on Sunday, and the Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium was once again packed with a horde of fans eager to cheer on their beloved stars as Ronaldinho’s magic was on display in the first game of the night.
The game started at a good pace as the crowd were soon up on their feet as Ronaldinho beat the keeper with style after a defensive mixup. It came as no surprise that the man who once received a standing ovation at the Santiago Bernabeu in Barcelona colours, sent the Manchester United fans there to cheer Paul Scholes into chants of ‘Dinho, Dinho’.
The lead didn’t last long though, as Scholes’ side scored two shortly, but not before Ronaldinho had an effort just skim past the post.
However, Ronaldinho served a quick fire double whammy as he rounded up his hattrick in no time. And then started the real Ronaldinho show – stopovers and no-look passes, and keep-it-ups that would have made Sean Garnier proud. And that was all that the crowd needed to go berserk.
Soon a fourth followed for the Brazilian magician, who finally looked on song after a niggle subdued him in their loss against Kolkata. With the keeper off the line, he subtly lobbed it over the last defender. Shortly, Scholes’ Bengaluru conceded a fifth and then a sixth, seemingly clueless on how to handle Ronaldinho’s growing influence in the game.
With minutes left to go, came the trademark elastico – yes, there was only one name on the crowd’s lips as the former Barcelona was not just sizzling, but also enjoying himself thoroughly, allaying all fears that he is past it.
And then the fairytale wrote itself, as Ronaldinho scored his fifth, before jumping past the advertising hoardings to get on the cheerleaders’ podium and break into a celebration and a jingle.
And with that, the master took his bow to the Chennai crowd. After full time, despite having lost 2-7, the Bengaluru players came to him requesting selfies, that speaks volumes of his influence.