The reason why Ronaldinho’s first goal for Barcelona is so unusual

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Ronaldinho scored 94 goals in 207 appearances for Barcelona and many of them were absolutely magnificent.

His overhead kick against Villarreal, his toe-poked finish against Chelsea and his solo goal against Real Madrid at the Bernabeu will be remembered by Barça fans for many years to come.

And so will his first ever goal for the Catalan giants, scored against Sevilla at the Camp Nou back on 3 September 2003.

You’ve probably seen the footage numerous times over the years.

Victor Valdes throws the ball out to Ronaldinho on the left-hand side of the pitch and the Brazilian maestro runs 50 yards, beating two Sevilla players in the process, before unleashing a ferocious strike in off the underside of the crossbar from outside the box.

It’s one of the earliest goals - possibly *the* earliest goal - where footage recorded by a spectator in the stands is available to watch on YouTube.

There's something very unusual about Ronaldinho's goal

But there’s something about Ronaldinho’s first goal for Barça which very few people will be aware of.

The match didn’t kick-off until 12:05am on a Wednesday morning.

This means Ronaldinho’s 58th-minute goal was scored around 1:30am in the morning.

A ridiculous time to be playing football, we can all agree.

Despite the stupidly late kick-off time, over 80,000 turned up at the Camp Nou to watch the match.

The reason the match kicked off at 12:05am

But what was the reason behind the game being played after midnight?

Well, according to The Sun, Barcelona urgently needed to rearrange their La Liga fixture against Sevilla because the international break was looming and Ronaldinho was required to fly to Brazil for a game against Ecuador.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta wanted the game played on Tuesday but Sevilla insisted it should take place on Wednesday.

Knowing they’d be without Ronaldinho unless they agreed, Barça managed to negotiate for the game to kick off as early on the Wednesday as possible.

Laporta, in a bid to ensure Barcelona’s fans were kept entertaining and awake into the early hours, kept the club’s museum open until midnight and supplied the supporters with 100,000 KitKats, 40,000 Gazpachos, 30,000 Actimels, 25,000 bags of Doritos and three tenors.

Despite Laporta’s best efforts, Barcelona failed to win the match. However, Ronaldinho’s unforgettable opener cancelled out Jose Antonio Reyes’s 10th-minute penalty and the home fans went home happy.

Ronaldinho: 'That's my favourite time of day'

“The most memorable match was the first one,” Ronaldinho later told FourFourTwo. “It started at 0.01am. There was some fight with the federation and we had to play Sevilla in a full Camp Nou at that time on a weekday.

“It was the first and only time that I played at that time. But it was no problem – that’s my favourite time of day...”

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La Liga
Spain Football
Andres Iniesta

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