Tagged with "soccer"
England's three time Footballer of the Year-Thierry Henry Tags: football soccer three time player year england paris france thierry henry word life production

Henry is one of the most outrageously talented players of the past decade. From the callow youth who top-scored during France's triumph at the 1998 World Cup to his country's captain and all-time record goalscorer, surpassing the great Michel Platini, Henry is a French icon.

Having emerged from the Monaco youth ranks under the guidance of a certain Arsene Wenger, Henry's abortive move to Juventus followed, where he was largely used as a winger under Carlo Ancelotti, before Wenger parted with £10.5 million to link up once again with the man he would transform into Europe's most feared forward.

Victory at Euro 2000 saw his star rise and Henry was converted from a winger to a dazzling striker, winning the Double with Arsenal before going on to dominate the league in the years to follow. His club record tally of 228 goals in 377 games included all manner of spectacular strikes and unforgettable matches, and he signed off in Highbury's final game, typically, with a hat-trick.

But a move to Emirates Stadium in 2006 signalled the beginning of the end for Henry. In that summer he lost in both the final of the Champions League and the World Cup, and while he signed a new contract with Arsenal despite strong interest from Barcelona, he suffered from fitness problems and eventually moved to Catalunya in the summer of 2007, bringing to an end a golden period in England during which he won two titles, two FA Cups and five player of the year awards.

In Barcelona, Henry would finally capture the Champions League trophy that had eluded him when playing a prominent role in Barca's remarkable Treble-winning campaign of 2008-09, but the following year saw him left out of the side and he embarked on a new challenge in the MLS a few weeks after France's dismal World Cup campaign.

His efforts with the New York Red Bulls saw him land the Major League Soccer Eastern Conference in 2010 but, in January 2011, he was given another chance at the Gunners as Arsenal took him back for a two-month loan period. His return to the club came just weeks after his statue was erected outside the Emirates stadium and his goal against Leeds United in the FA Cup was a moment to remember for all.

His legacy at Arsenal will live on forever, but his hunger for glory continued as he picked up the MLS Eastern Conference again in 2013, along with the MLS Supporters' Shield.

Strengths: One of the most complete forwards of recent times, Henry boasts electric pace, superb control, intricate technique and unrivalled composure in front of goal. His creative streak is put to good use when unselfishly teeing up team-mates with finesse and he has a strong character and a winner's mentality. Also a threat from set-pieces.

Weaknesses: Finding fault in Henry is a difficult enterprise, but a headed goal is a rarity from the Frenchman and fitness problems have afflicted him somewhat in recent seasons. His suitability for a captaincy role has also been questioned.

Career high: Henry was at his peak when Arsenal went the entire Premier League season unbeaten in 2003-04, scoring a highly impressive 30 goals in 37 league appearances and being named both PFA Players' Player of the Year and Footballer of the Year.

Career low: Becoming a target for venomous criticism and a national hate figure in Ireland when he committed a blatant handball before squaring for William Gallas to score the goal that took France to the World Cup finals.

Style: Flamboyant, prolific, complete, a once-in-a-generation striker.

Quotes: "When I first put him at centre forward, he said, 'Look I cannot score goals' [but] for someone who cannot score goals he has done quite well! He is a legend at the club, and if you ask every Arsenal fan 'who is the [key] player of Arsenal?' they will say Thierry Henry." Arsene Wenger, July 2014

Trivia: Henry is the only player to have been named England's Footballer of the Year on three separate occasions , although individual accolades on an international level have always eluded him.

Source: ESPNFC

Ronaldinho - Skillful by Nature Tags: ronaldinho skillful football soccer player word life production new quality entertainmnet sports featured blog

Soccer superstar Ronaldinho was a member of Brazil's 2002 World Cup championship team and twice won the FIFA World Player of the Year award.

Synopsis

Born on March 21, 1980, in Porto Alegre, Brazil, Ronaldinho came from a family of soccer players to reach the pinnacle of success in the sport. After a celebrated youth career, Ronaldinho became a key member of the Brazilian team that won the 2002 World Cup. He has played for clubs in Brazil, France, Spain and Italy, and twice been named FIFA World Player of the Year.

Early Life

Ronaldinho was born Ronaldo de Assis Moreira on March 21, 1980, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. His father, João Moreira, was a former professional soccer player who also worked as a welder in a shipyard, and his mother, Miguelina de Assis, was a cosmetics saleswoman who later became a nurse. Ronaldinho's older brother, Roberto Assis, was also a professional soccer player; Ronaldinho was surrounded by soccer from the day he was born. "I come from a family where soccer has always been very present," he says. "My uncles, my father and my brother were all players. Living with that kind of background, I learned a great deal from them. I tried to devote myself to it more and more with the passage of time."

In particular, Ronaldinho idolized his father. "He was one of the most important people for me and in my career, even though he died when I was very young," he says. (João Moreira suffered a fatal heart attack when Ronaldinho was 8 years old.) "He gave me some of the best advice I've ever had. Off the field: 'Do the right thing and be an honest, straight-up guy.' And on the field: 'Play soccer as simply as possible.' He always said one of the most complicated things you can do is to play it simple."

Ronaldinho began playing organized youth soccer at the age of 7, and it was as a youth soccer player that he first received the nickname "Ronaldinho," the diminutive form of his birth name, Ronaldo. "They always called me that when I was little because I was really small," the player explains, "and I played with players who were older than me. When I got to the senior national team there was another Ronaldo, so they started calling me Ronaldinho because I was younger."

Growing up in a relatively poor, hardscrabble neighborhood, Ronaldinho's youth teams had to make do with makeshift playing fields. "The only grass on the field was in the corner," Ronaldinho remembers. "There was no grass in the middle! It was just sand." In addition to soccer, Ronaldinho also played futsal—an offshoot of soccer played indoors on a hard court surface and with only five players on each side. Ronaldinho's early experiences with futsal helped shape his unique playing style, marked by his remarkable touch and close control on the ball. "A lot of the moves I make originate from futsal," Ronaldinho once said, explaining, "It's played in a very small space, and the ball control is different in futsal. And to this day, my ball control is pretty similar to a futsal player's control."

Ronaldinho quickly developed into one of Brazil's most talented youth soccer players. When he was 13 years old, he once scored a ridiculous 23 goals in a single game. While leading his team to a variety of junior championships, Ronaldinho immersed himself in Brazil's long and glorious soccer history, studying past greats such as Pelé, Rivelino and Ronaldo, and dreaming of following in their footsteps. Then, in 1997, a teenaged Ronaldinho won a call-up to Brazil's Under-17 national team. The squad won the FIFA Under-17 World Championship in Egypt, and Ronaldinho was selected as the tournament's best player. Soon afterward, Ronaldinho signed his first professional contract to play for Grêmio, one of the most celebrated teams in the Brazilian league.

Professional Career

Ronaldinho made his senior debut for Grêmio in the 1998 Copa Libertadores tournament. The next year, he was invited to join the senior Brazilian national team to compete in the Confederations Cup in Mexico. Brazil turned in a second-place finish, and Ronaldinho won the Golden Ball Award as the tournament's best player as well as the Golden Boot Award as its leading goal scorer.

Firmly established as a star on the international stage, in 2001 Ronaldinho left Brazil for Europe, signing a contract to play for Paris Saint-Germain in France. A year later, he participated in his first World Cup on a loaded Brazilian squad that also featured Ronaldo and Rivaldo. Ronaldinho scored two goals in five matches, including the game-winner in a quarter-final victory over England, and Brazil went on to defeat Germany in the finals to claim its fifth World Cup title.

In 2003, Ronaldinho fulfilled a lifelong dream by joining FC Barcelona of the Spanish league, one of the world's most storied clubs, and winning the legendary No. 10 jersey typically worn by the squad's greatest creative player. In 2004 and 2005, Ronaldinho won back-to-back FIFA World Player of the Year awards, the sport's highest individual honor. He also led his teammates to the pinnacle of club success in 2006 with a triumphant run through the prestigious Champions League tournament. The following month, Ronaldinho headlined a very talented Brazilian squad that entered the World Cup with sky-high expectations. The tournament ended in disappointment for the defending champs, though, as France knocked Brazil out with a stunning upset in the quarter-finals.

In 2008, Ronaldinho left Barcelona to join another of the world's most renowned clubs, A.C. Milan, but his performance for the Italian Series A giant was mostly nondescript. Underscoring his fading status, the former World Player of the Year was not included in the 2010 Brazilian team that competed in the World Cup in South Africa.

In 2011, Ronaldinho returned to Brazil to play for Flamengo in Rio de Janeiro. The relationship between the club and its most prominent player got off to a great start when Flamengo won the 2011 Campeonato Carioca, but things turned sour by the following season. Ronaldinho missed several practices and performed indifferently in games, and eventually had his contract terminated due to unpaid wages. Ronaldinho signed with Atlético Mineiro in June 2012, a move that reignited his dynamic playmaking abilities, and he was given another shot with the national team to make the 2014 World Cup roster.

Personal Life and Legacy

In 2005, Ronaldinho and Brazilian dancer Janaína Mendes had a son, named João, after Ronaldinho's late father. The Brazilian superstar remains close to his family, with brother Roberto serving as his agent and sister Deisy acting as his press coordinator.

An absolute wizard with a soccer ball, Ronaldinho is considered by many to be the greatest player of his generation and one of the best in history. He says that his soccer career has been an emotional roller coaster filled with high highs, low lows and a lifetime of unforgettable moments. "For me soccer provides so many emotions, a different feeling every day," Ronaldinho says. "I've had the good fortune to take part in major competitions like the Olympics, and winning the World Cup was also unforgettable. We lost in the Olympics and won in the World Cup, and I'll never forget either feeling."

Source: Biography.com

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