Ronaldinho achieved something back in November 2005 that remains remarkable to this very day: he received a standing ovation at the Bernabeu from the Real Madrid supporters, despite playing for the old enemy, Barcelona.
The Brazilian, who was at the peak of his powers at this point, put on a masterclass on a cold night in Madrid, completing his memorable performance with two superb goals.
Ronaldinho’s second effort was outstanding and it earned him a rare show of admiration from the Los Blancos faithful.
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However, it turns out that Ronaldinho dropped a huge bombshell on his Barcelona teammates in the days leading up to the Clasico.
Andres Iniesta has described in his newly-released autobiography - per the Mirror - how he received a phone call from the South American at 3am one morning, explaining how he’d decided to join Barça’s fiercest rivals.
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Iniesta's brilliant story about Ronaldinho
"A few days before the Clasico against Real Madrid, 'Dinho' called me at home at night,” Iniesta starts. "I answered and he told me: 'Andres, I know it's 3am, but I have to confess something. In June I will be leaving Barca.
“My brother has an agreement with Real Madrid. It's an incredible amount that I can't refuse. You're young, you can understand... But please do not tell anyone in the locker room or the club, do not betray me, I trust you more than anyone. Andres good night.'
"He didn't give me time to say anything. The next day, we were in training camp and I felt an awkward atmosphere around me. The whole team was silent and they were all greeting Ronaldinho like never...
"When the day of the Clasico came [November 19, 2005], in the locker rooms of Santiago Bernabeu 'Dinho' told us: 'Guys, today is a very important game, they are strong, but these days I discovered that we were like a family. I called each of you during the night and I told you that I was leaving in June, but none of you spoke.
“After that I realised that we were ready to suffer in silence rather than betray each other. I'll stay here for a long time... Now let's go into the field and give a lesson to these players of Real Madrid!"
Barcelona were far too good for Real Madrid
And that’s precisely what Ronaldinho and co. did.
Real Madrid, despite having home advantage, couldn’t live with Frank Rijkaard’s team.
Astounded with Ronaldinho’s mercurial performance but angered by their own team’s failure to live with Barcelona, the Real Madrid supporters also reacted by waving the white handkerchiefs.
Vanderlei Luxemburgo lasted a couple of more weeks before he was sacked and replaced by Juan Ramón López Caro, who himself was replaced by Fabio Capello the following summer.
Did Iniesta’s story about Ronaldinho give you chills? Have your say by leaving a comment below.
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