14 Years Ago Today, Ronaldinho Received A Standing Ovation From The Bernabeu
On November 19, 2005, on a brisk Saturday night in Madrid, the Bernabeu rose to its feet as one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Iker Casillas, shrugged his shoulders, powerless to the genius of a Brazilian-born magician.
Thousands of Real Madrid fans applauded Ronaldinho's marvelous efforts that evening - a rare glimpse of admiration from the often indignant Los Blancos support.
Ronaldinho was truly unplayable that night. He ducked and weaved through players like never before.
The 25-year-old scored two superb individual goals as Barcelona romped to victory over their biggest rivals, and it all began on the hour mark, when the Barcelona man skipped past two challenges with ease and fired past Iker Casillas.
Los Blancos looked on helpless. In fact, they looked on in fear, trying to guess 'Dinho's next move.
They were right to be wary. Madrid's defence crumbled as Ronaldinho ran towards them.
In a similar turn of events, the Barcelona man took on two defenders on the left to slot home past. 3-0.
It was a moment to cherish for everyone in attendance. Iconically, a moustached Real Madrid fan, who wore a scarf over his neck, stood up and started cheering what he just had witnessed.
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Then everyone joined in, in awe of what Ronaldinho had just done.
Samuel Eto'o may have put the visitors ahead just after 15 minutes but his performance dissolved into the unknown, perilous to the Ronaldinho show.
Shortly after the game, Eto'o spoke to Barça TV and his reaction said it all.
"When Ronaldinho scored that goal when he got rid of everyone, even his teammates, I stood there in disbelief, looked to one side and muttered to myself: 'But, what is happening?' It was unbelievable." he said.
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Rather incredibly, Ronaldinho admitted later on that he didn't even realise he was being applauded by the Real Madrid support:
"No, I didn't realise in the moment." he said. "I remembered when we arrived to the locker room and everybody was talking about it and I went to check it on the TV.
"Because of the joy of scoring and the celebration, I didn't notice the standing ovation. It's special. Only a few players have had this joy of being acclaimed by the fans of your arch rivals in a derby."
Ronaldinho, ladies and gentlemen.
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