Barcelona striker Brazilian Ronaldinho, twice chosen FIFA’s Player of the Year, has achieved a goal matched only by the great Pelé – he’s now a comic book hero in Brazil.
Ronaldinho returned to his hometown of Porto Alegre in southern Brazil on Wednesday, December 28, for the debut of "Ronaldinho Gaúcho," a toothy, boyish character possessing the soccer wizardry of his namesake.
The character was developed by Maurício de Souza, a very well known artist in Brazil, who draws Monica and Her Gang, a top-selling comic book series.
Souza had already created many years ago "Pelezinho," or little Pelé, based on Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better know as Pelé, the legendary Santos soccer star.
"We got the idea (for Ronaldinho Gaúcho) when we were watching a game on television. Then we went to the stadium to see his razzle-dazzle play," Souza told the Rio daily O Globo.
Ronaldinho, on holiday in Brazil, said he was honored by the comic book and joked that he hoped the character would be from Grêmio, the local club where Ronaldinho started his professional career.
Ronaldinho was voted FIFA’s Player of the Year in 2005 and 2004. He is a starter on the Brazilian national team that will seek a sixth World Cup title in Germany next year.
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