Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, born March 21st, 1980 in Porto Alegre, Brazil, has risen to become one of soccer’s greatest players. The 5′11″, 177-lb “Ronaldinho” began wowing spectators back in 1999 with his amazing mastery at the forward position. He began his amateur soccer career by following the path of his father Joao. Here he honed his talents by playing beach and indoor (”futbal”) soccer.

Ronaldinho’s mother Miguelina had to raise her son afer Joao died when Ronaldinho was only eight years old; she was helped by his brother and sisters. Ronaldinho earned his first cap It was with Gremio’s senior team coached by Celso Roth that Ronaldinho won his first cap in 1999. Then in 2001, Arsenal FC got Ronaldinho in their sights, but he couldn’t obtain a work permit and so no deal was struck. But Paris Saint-Germain FC got him signed to a five-year contract. But, an unhappy Ronaldinho returned to Barcelona in 2004 after playing for Paris under allegations that he put more time into the nightlife than he did into soccer practice.

Major success came to Ronaldinho at the Copa America held in Paraguay where he mesmerized audiences playing alongside teammates Ronald and Rivaldo scoring Brazil’s fifth goal in a 7-0 wipeout of Venezuela. Now known as the “wonder goal,” in 2002 during the FIFA World Cup in Japan, Ronaldinho scored the game-winning goal through an amazing 30-yard free kick that surprised the English’s unaware goalkeeper, David Seaman. His team would win this quarterfinal and go on to win the World Cup where Ronaldinho achieved soccer greatness by being named to the all-tournament team.

Winning almost every possible award in soccer, Ronaldinho’s prizes include the FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005, and the UEFA’s Champion League Award in 2006 in Barcelona-that year scoring seven goals in just twelve matches. In 2008, Sport Illustrated magazine put Ronaldinho in the top fifth wealthiest athletes at $37.5 million that included earnings, bonuses, endorsements, and appearances. Only Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, David Beckham, and Kimi Raikkonen beat him in earnings-quite the achievement for the twenty-eight year old.

During his 200th match in the summer of 2008, Ronaldinho dismayed his fans and spectators of soccer by going down with a right leg injury–an injury that got him sitting the bench for the rest of the season. Then to complicate matters, Ronaldinho and his club got into an argument over his decision to play in the Bejing Olympic games. Nevertheless, Ronaldinho eventually got a deal with the Italian Club AC Milan and went on to play in the Olympics alongside his countrymen.

Manchester City offered Ronaldinho a contract for over $25 million to play for them at a time when he was getting paid $21 million in Barcelona; however, he turned down this offer but instead when with AC Milan on a three-year deal. However, he gave up his #10 because it had been retired for Italian AC Milan player Clarence Seedorf. He replaced it with #80 for the year of his birth. Milan quickly saw the wisdom of their new player selection when Ronaldinho scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory over Internazionale in September of 2008.

Against Sporting Braga in the November 2008 UEFA Cup, Ronaldinho got Milan inot a 2-2 draw after they had fallen behind 2-0 when he scored a match-winner in the 93rd minute. His brother Roberto has been quite the force as Ronaldinho’s brother Roberto has acted as his brother’s agent and already brought him more endorsements for him that are booked up through 2014. Ronaldinho seems in better spirits these days in Milan, Italy.

Ronaldinho became a father in 2005 when his son Joao was born. The boy is named after his grandfather and his mother is Brazilian dancer Janaina Mendes. But, when it comes to soccer, where will he ultimately end up? Only Ronaldinho and Roberto know. But with his immense global popularity, it seems Ronaldinho would be a great fit on any team. Maybe some are already thinking, “what about the United States?