10 Great Moments from Ronaldinho's Paris Saint-Germain Career

Andrew Gibney@@gibney_aFeatured ColumnistMarch 21, 2015

10 Great Moments from Ronaldinho's Paris Saint-Germain Career

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    FRANCOIS MORI/Associated Press

    Saturday, March 21 signals the 35th birthday of Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho. Thirteen years ago, the smiling playmaker was playing for Paris Saint-Germain against Didier Drogba's EA Guingamp side.

    PSG was Ronaldinho's first European club, and the two seasons spent in Paris were a huge success for the Brazilian. The only silverware he had to show for his time in France was an Intertoto Cup, but it didn't stop him securing a move to FC Barcelona.

    To celebrate the genius that is Ronaldinho, here are his 10 greatest moments for Paris Saint-Germain.

1. Makes His PSG Debut Against AJ Auxerre

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    Due to an issue with his transfer from Gremio to PSG, Ronaldinho missed the season opener against Lille.

    PSG were made to wait for a departure letter from the Brazilian FA before he could play. FIFA ordered the CBF to release the letter immediately and that allowed the French Football Federation to temporarily register Ronaldinho as a PSG player.

    Playing against AJ Auxerre at the Stade Abbe Deschamps, the Brazilian would make his debut for PSG from the bench.

    His new club were 1-0 up through Mauricio Pochettino when he made his entrance, coming on for Jose Aloisio with 30 minutes to go.

    PSG were denied their first win of the season when Djibril Cisse scored a late equaliser in the 82nd minute.

2. Ronaldinho Plays His 1st Game at the Parc Des Princes

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    In Week 3 of his first season, Ronaldinho made his home debut at the Parc des Princes against FC Sochaux.

    After making his club debut from the bench against Auxerre, the Brazilian was picked by Luiz Fernandez to play from the start in their home opener.

    The home side struggled to get things going, but they would get their first win of the season when Jose Aloisio scored a 90th-minute winner to give the home fans something to cheer about.

3. 1st Goal for PSG Against Lyon

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    It wasn’t until Week 10 of the season that the Brazilian scored his very first goal for PSG.

    Lyon were on their way to winning the first of seven league titles, and with 21 minutes to go, they were set for another three points at the Parc des Princes.

    Ronaldinho came on for Cristobal, and he would play a massive part in the final score. Just 10 minutes after coming on, PSG won a penalty, and the talismanic forward stepped up and tucked the spot-kick past Gregory Coupet.

4. 1st PSG Goal from Open Play

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    Scoring from the penalty spot is one thing, but it can’t beat the feeling of scoring from open play. For Ronaldinho, he would have to wait for just over three months before he would experience that feeling.

    With PSG losing 1-0 at Nantes, Ronaldinho came on at half-time with his team down to 10 men, and he helped the Parisians turn the game around. Bartholomew Ogbeche equalised on the 57th minute and it was left to the Brazilian to seal the comeback.

    His opportunity was set up by Gabriel Heinze, finding him from the left, and Ronaldinho tucked the right-foot shot past Mickael Landreau.

5. 1st Double Against Troyes

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    After Michael Svensson shocked the Parc des Princes by putting Troyes 1-0 up, they needed someone to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and orchestrate the comeback.

    Enter Ronaldinho, stage left. The Brazilian’s 57th-minute corner picked out the head of Jose Aloisio to equalise and he didn’t stop there.

    Aloisio turned provider and slide the ball to Ronaldinho to slip past the Troyes defence before rounding the ball past Stephane Cassard and finding the back of the net.

    For the second, PSG hit on the break, with Ronaldinho picking the ball up on the halfway line and going all the way. He beat two defenders before stabbing the ball past Cassard.

    Not only did he inspire PSG to victory, but it was his first brace in French football.

6. Historic Double Strike Against Marseille

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    You cannot claim to be a PSG legend without scoring in Le Classique against Olympique de Marseille.

    Ronaldinho would go one better—in 2002, he scored a double, helping the club to a famous 3-0 win in the Parc des Princes.

    There was an element of luck to the opening goal. Ronaldinho curled in a free-kick from the right, it looked to be mishit and came in low, but somehow it missed everyone and ended up finding the far corner.

    After the half-hour mark, Ogbeche was brought down by Vedran Runje and Ronaldinho stepped up to take the spot-kick.

    The Brazilian sent the Serbian goalkeeper the wrong way to give PSG a first-half 2-0 lead. Martin Cardetti sealed the 3-0 win with a goal in the 81st minute, but the game was all about Ronaldinho.

7. Goal of the Season Against Guingamp

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    Playing against future Chelsea legends Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda, PSG ultimately lost the game 3-2 away at EA Guingamp, but the Stade Roudourou saw something special that day.

    After just 20 minutes, Ronaldinho scored the goal of the season—and it was poetry in motion.

    The Brazilian beat one opponent before playing a slick one-two to beat another. He then lifted the ball beautifully over a third before dropping his shoulder, showing right but going left, to finish by majestically lifting the ball over future PSG 'keeper Ronan Le Crom.

    Words can't do it justice.

8. Coupe De France Double Against Bordeaux

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    It wasn't just in the league where the Brazilian magician impressed, he also set the Coupe de France alight during his second season.

    Playing in the Parc des Princes, Ronaldinho singlehandedly put Bordeaux to the sword, and he finished them off in style. He put PSG 1-0 up in the first half, but it was his majestic lob in the second, finishing from the edge of the box, that sealed their passage to the competition's final.

    Ronaldinho started in the final, but second-half goals from Djibril Cisse and Jean-Alain Boumsong helped Auxerre win 2-1.

9. Last Goal for Paris Saint-Germain

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    With four games still to play at the end of the 2002/03 season, Ronaldinho scored his last-ever goal for PSG.

    Monaco's Shabani Nonda gave the away side the lead before half-time, but Fabrice Fiorese equalised in the 58th minute, leaving it to the Brazilian to steal the victory.

    With 76 minutes on the clock, referee Stephane Bre adjudged that Patrice Evra had pushed Alioune Toure in the box and pointed to the spot.

    Ronaldinho went to his right, Flavio Roma went the right way, but the penalty came off the inside of the post, leaving the 'keeper with no chance and giving PSG all three points.

10. Final Appearance for Paris Saint-Germain

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    His arrival was marked with fanfare, joy and excitement, but sadly his departure was something of an anti-climax. In the second-last game of the season, at home to Rennes, Ronaldinho faced the PSG fans for the very last time.

    The Brazilian had fallen out with Luiz Fernandez, accused of spending too much time enjoying the Parisian nightlife, rather than concentrating on his football.

    He came off the bench with 36 minutes to go but couldn't help the game from ending as a drab 0-0 draw.

    It was a sad way to end his time in Paris. Ligue 1 would never see the likes of him again, perhaps the last-ever superstar of the pre-Qatar Sports Investment era.

    He played 55 games for Les Rogues et Bleu and scored 17 goals. He was a breath of fresh air and soon the wider world would see him sparkle at Barcelona.

    However, for those two seasons, he was Ligue 1's secret, and it was a joy to watch him play.

    Joyeux Anniversaire, Ronaldinho

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