20 years ago today, Ronaldinho scored one of the most magical goals in World Cup history against England.
A footballer capable of doing unthinkable things at any given moment, Ronaldinho did just that when his free-kick dipped over the head of David Seaman from an improbable range.
It’s a timeless goal and an iconic moment, despite it being a memory that might still hurt for the Three Lions fans who were up bright and early in the UK to watch it live.
Whether or not Ronaldinho actually meant to launch the ball into the top bins the way he did on this day in 2002 is an argument for another day. But intentional or not, nothing can detract from how superb a moment it was.
The rising star in a stacked side that featured the likes of Rivaldo, Roberto Carlos, Gilberto Silva and Cafu, Ronaldinho’s goal – which you can watch on Reddit – was the eventual winner as Brazil emerged 2-1 victors in the quarter-final, despite Michael Owen putting England ahead after 23 minutes.
It serves as a reminder as to just how talented Ronaldinho really was when at full pomp. Nobody could get near the guy. Literally. He didn’t even need to see out the rest of the game after he had bagged the free-kick, getting sent off seven minutes after scoring.
David Seaman, then 38, was absolutely helpless as he was caught under the looping effort. Desperately pedalling backwards, the now veteran stopper in the Autumn of his career could do nothing to correct his positioning, as the ball flew over his head and into the net.
Since then, both Seaman and Ronaldinho have rekindled their one on one rivalry on a number of occasions at annual charity football matches, resulting in a friendly battle of wits over the years.
It’s made for some heart-warmingly humorous moments, with Ronaldinho famously trying to recreate the free-kick that left Seaman looking silly in the 2016 iteration of the event.
However, the recreation did not go to plan and Ronaldinho was the one who was left red-faced this time round.
You can watch the brilliant moment between the pair here:
Ronaldinho’s smile as his shot blazes well over is priceless. You can’t not smile yourself when seeing his grin.
It’s a pure moment between two footballing icons, who clearly have a lot of respect for one another. Seaman is quick to jovially lift his arms before cracking on, with everyone well aware of what was going on.
But, as we said, this rivalry has been an ongoing one. Ronaldinho actually tried recreating his lobbed effort again a year earlier, in a 2015 charity match for UNICEF organised by David Beckham, with Seaman again in goal.
The Brazilian legend was desperate to get it done, but couldn’t, in a battle between the two that was fuelled by laughter.
You can watch Ronaldinho’s efforts in 2015 below.
Not once, but twice. Seaman was having none of it, laughing off Ronaldinho’s free-kick effort as it swung over the bar.
He tries it again, though, from open play, and Seaman’s reaction as the dink grazes the roof of the net is golden.
The hands on the hips and the wry smile say it all.
Two moments of great sportsmanship between the two, harking back to a truly unforgettable sporting moment from an incredible World Cup in Japan and South Korea.
Ronaldinho hasn’t been able to catch Seaman out since, but he’ll always have the 2002 effort to look back on, which crucially went in when it mattered most as Brazil went on to win the World Cup for a fifth time.