Ronaldinho showed Steven Gerrard he was on another level at Wembley in 2007

  • Rob Swan
The day Ronaldinho showed Steven Gerrard he was on another level in front of 90,000 at Wembley

Ronaldinho and Steven Gerrard are both among the best players of their generation.

Gerrard was an inspirational, all-action midfielder who many regard as the greatest player in Liverpool’s history. There’s absolutely no doubt that the Englishman is an all-time Premier League great, too.

But while Gerrard was a special player, Ronaldinho possessed talent that few – if any – footballers have ever showcased throughout the sport’s history.

The Brazilian gave joy to millions, perhaps even billions, of football fans across the globe thanks to his extraordinary ability. 

Capable of producing every trick in the book, and tricks that weren’t even in the metaphorical book before he lit up the professional game, Ronaldinho was a true one-off.

LONDON – SEPTEMBER 05: Ronaldinho of Brazil just misses with this free-kick attempt during the International friendly match between Brazil and Wales at White Hart Lane on September 5, 2006 in London. (Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images)

Winner of the 2005 Ballon d’Or and a two-time FIFA World Player of the Year (in 2004 and ’05), the only pity is that Ronaldinho’s star shone bright for only a relatively brief period of time.

He didn’t have the longevity as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and this is why some football fans feel that he doesn’t quite belong in the GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) conversation.

But regardless of where he sits on the pantheon of all time greats, it’s hard to think of a better showman than Ronaldinho. He always had fans on the edge of their seats and his skills alone were often worth the cost of a ticket.

BEIJING – AUGUST 19: Ronaldinho of Brazil controls the ball during the men’s football semifinal match between Argentina and Brazil at Workers’ Stadium on Day 11 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 19, 2008 in Beijing, China. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Video: Ronaldinho vs Steven Gerrard

There aren’t many of Ronaldinho’s opponents who weren’t humiliated by the South American at one point or another.

Even Gerrard was left skidding all over the pitch when Brazil played England in the first senior game at the rebuilt Wembley Stadium in 2007.

When Ronaldinho received the ball in space midway through the first half, Gerrard must have known he was in big trouble.

The England midfielder ended up flat on his face after trying to stop Ronaldinho from driving towards his team’s penalty area.

The Brazilian, wearing the No. 7 shirt that evening, then produced an audacious no-look pass to Vagner Love before the referee awarded the visitors a free-kick on the edge of the box.

Watch the video here:

What a baller.

Still, Gerrard wasn’t the first top player that Ronaldinho humiliated, nor was he the last.

England and Brazil drew the match 1-1 after Diego’s late equaliser cancelled out John Terry’s opener.

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