The biggest prize in European club football and three former winners – Ronaldinho together with Ajax heroes Frank and Ronald de Boer – sent Vietnam into a frenzy when they touched down on the final leg of the 2017 UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour, presented by Heineken.
Ronaldinho, who lifted the trophy in 2006, was a man in demand in the south-east Asian country and wooed upwards of 30,000 fans at packed events across Can Tho, Ho Chi Minh City and Bien Hoa with his beaming smile and infectious personality.
The former Paris Saint-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan playmaker also sat down for a Q&A with followers of the UEFA Champions League Instagram account, where he declared his penchant for steak, selected his favourite goal in the competition and paid tribute to Paolo Maldini.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 15, 2017
Favourite UEFA Champions League goal?
Ronaldinho: It’s hard to pick just one – I scored some nice goals in the Champions League! But that goal against Chelsea [in March 2005] will be one I always remember because it was a different goal.
Who were your closest friends on and off the pitch?
Ronaldinho: There were lots. Dida, Thiago Motta, Deco … Vágner Love too. It’s hard because I don’t want to forget anyone!
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ronaldinho: Churrasco [steak]!
What was it like making your debut for Barcelona at the Camp Nou in September 2003?
Ronaldinho: It was really emotional. It was an unusual game – played at midnight for starters! It was my first [home] match [and] I scored my first goal. It was a really special game for me.
Who was the best defender you faced?
Ronaldinho: I played against a lot of good defenders over the years, but Paolo Maldini. If I had to choose one it would be him.
Can Barcelona come back against Juventus?
Ronaldinho: I reckon so. It will be very difficult, but I think they can do it. It’s in these kind of moments that great players come alive.
What did you make of the Barcelona comeback against Paris, having played for both sides?
Ronaldinho: It was a wonderful game, an historic match. I was fortunate enough to play for both clubs and now I’m an ambassador for Barcelona, but it was a historic, amazing game that people are going to remember for many years to come.
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) April 14, 2017