Ronaldinho: 'I want to win everything'
Ronaldinho needs no introduction. Recent years have seen the samba star light up world football with his incredible talent and bubbly personality, whether in the colours of Catalan giants Barcelona or his beloved Seleção.
The Brazilian genius is a master of the unexpected, capable of moments of footballing magic that have made him as feared by opposing defenders as he is revered by supporters of his own side.
The Barça No.10 is also in the form of his life. On the back of a "disappointing" FIFA World Cup finals in Germany and an unconvincing start to the club season, Ronaldinho has returned to the peak of his powers with some inspirational performances in Spain's Primera Liga . Any doubters need only glance at his recent wonder goal against Villarreal, a spectacular overhead kick he himself called "a dream come true". The goal was his tenth strike of the campaign, and put him level at the top of the Spanish scoring charts.
With all his trademark charm to the fore, Ronaldinho chatted exclusively to FIFA.com about the challenges that lie ahead this campaign: the FIFA Club World Cup , the chance to repeat last year's Primera Liga and UEFA Champions League success, and his continued quest for footballing greatness.
FIFA.com: Ronaldinho, after an uncertain start to the season, would you agree that Barcelona appear to be hitting form just at the right time?
Ronaldinho: Yes, it took us a while to get going. There were a few of us who were still recovering from the World Cup and we had a very tough, but rewarding, pre-season. We're back on form again now and aiming to win every title available.
Did the injuries to a number of your team-mates play any part in the team's difficult start?
We'd developed a style of play that we all knew inside out. Moves were coming off really easily as we'd practised them so much. But time has shown that those players coming into the side are quality too, we just needed to get to know each other more. Yes it's true that we've had to change our style of play, and this has taken a bit of getting used to. We were accustomed to playing with our eyes closed, we've had to work hard at it, but everything's going well.
You are currently playing in a slightly unusual position, off to the left-hand side of the attack.
Yes it's true, we're playing with two attackers out on the flanks supporting an out-and-out centre forward through the middle, but with each passing game I'm getting more licence to roam and I'm able to enjoy myself more out on the pitch.
Do you feel comfortable out wide?
I'm feeling increasingly comfortable in this role as I've been seeing more and more of the ball. Things have improved game by game and you can see the results out on the pitch.
Besides which, you have been scoring plenty of goals.
I'm of the opinion that when any of our forwards score goals, I'm doing my job right - regardless of whether it's me or not who's putting the ball in the back of net.
Given that you have been one of the Barça players to have had least rest during this hectic opening period, how are you feeling?
Physically I'm feeling fine. I worked hard in pre-season training and I'm in great form.
How are the players approaching the imminent must-win UEFA Champions League clash against Werder Bremen?
They're treating it in the right way: like a final that we have to win at all costs. Barcelona are a great team, with excellent players. I'm very confident that we'll make it through.
Would this be a good way for you to put what happened at Germany 2006 behind you?
Yes, I really regret not being crowned champions, because in Brazil second place is nothing. In general, all the players in the Brazilian national team are extremely sorry about what happened. We wanted to come home with the trophy but we had a disappointing World Cup.
Brazil are currently undergoing a period of transition under new coach Dunga . How do you see the situation?
These changes are quite normal. The players coming in aren't very well known, and some are very young. A lot of people may not have heard of them now, but within two or three years these guys are going to be household names and getting a lot of media attention.
Is it down to you to take a leading role in this young team?
I'm one of the most experienced players in the national side, and one of the leaders, just like at Barcelona. I'll be doing everything I possibly can to fulfil my leadership responsibilities and help my team-mates.
Can you see yourself being crowned world champion once more in 2010?
It's still a long way off, with almost four years to go, but of course I'd love that to happen. I was fortunate enough to become world champion once, and I can see myself doing it again. Lifting that trophy would be simply magnificent.
Next up comes the FIFA Club World Cup, where you will have another crack at the world title.
For me, that would be fantastic. This year I wanted to win the League, the Champions League, the World Cup, and the Club World Cup. Unfortunately it proved beyond us in Germany, but that makes me even more determined not to miss out in December's tournament.
Will it feel strange if you end up facing your former arch-rivals Internacional ?
It would be like any other game, but with a special twist as they're opponents I played against many times in a Gremio shirt. I'm sure that their fans would whistle at me and put pressure on me, thanks to the rivalry that exists between the two teams. Barcelona, however, are obliged to beat every opponent and that's what we've got to do. It would be a very tough game but one we'd do our very best to win.
How much do you know about the other teams in the competition?
The Mexican outfit, America , are going to be very tricky opponents, we played against them in pre-season and it was a very tough game against an extremely talented side. Winning the Club World Cup will be no easy task.
You're clearly very determined to lift the trophy this December.
Yes, very much so. Ever since I was a boy back in Brazil, this was the title that we all wanted to win. I can remember a number of games involving Brazilian sides and they all gave their utmost to try and become the best team in the world. I'd love to win the Club World Cup.