You might have seen a viral clip of Ronaldinho setting up a goal for Paris Saint-Germain back in the day. The Brazilian looked set to score an incredible solo effort after running with the ball from the halfway line. However, at the last second, a teammate latched onto the goal-bound shot to get himself on the scoresheet instead.
Jerome Leroy was the man responsible for stealing Ronaldinho’s goal. The Frenchman sprinted into the six-yard box and knocked the ball over the line to score PSG’s third goal in a 3-0 win over Marseille.
The match took place on March 9, 2003. PSG’s Ligue 1 title hopes were already over, but Le Classique was still meaningful due to the rivalry between the two clubs. All these years later, the game remains a talking point due to fans questioning which teammate prevented Ronaldinho from scoring.
As you can see from the video above, Ronaldinho raced over halfway while easily shrugging off a challenge from Marseille’s Brahim Hemdani. The 2002 World Cup winner then rounded goalkeeper Vedran Runje before passing the ball towards the far corner into an empty net.
Although the pass/shot was close to the far post, it was still going in before Leroy connected with a two-footed lunge to make sure of the finish. As ever, Ronaldinho was all smiles and appeared to have no problem with Leroy stealing his goal.
Jerome Leroy spoke about Ronaldinho’s attitude
Brazilian great Romario famously played football on his own terms. If he wanted to train, he trained. If he didn’t want to train, he didn’t train.
Leroy once said in an interview that Ronaldinho had a similar outlook on football.
“Ronaldinho did not train on any day of the week,” Leroy told SFR Sport (via ESPN). “He just turned up on Friday ready to play on the Saturday. That was Ronaldinho. I think he was trying to emulate Romario, but he did not have the same success.”
According to Leroy, Ronaldinho spent a lot of days sleeping on the massage table instead of training. He added that players with great talent can sometimes be “a bit crazy”.
When did Ronaldinho join PSG?
In 2001, Ronaldinho signed a five-year contract with PSG after joining the club for €5 million. At the time, he was regarded as one of the brightest young talents in football after bursting onto the scene with Brazilian side Gremio in 1998.
He had already scored nine goals at international level for Brazil before moving to Paris. The PSG squad consisted of several notable names, including Gabriel Heinze, Jay-Jay Okocha, Mikel Arteta and Nicolas Anelka.
Why did Ronaldinho leave PSG?
In 2003, Ronaldinho joined Barcelona in a €30 million deal because Barca president Joan Laporta was determined to make some marquee signings. By that point, Ronaldinho had firmly established himself as one of the world’s best players.
Despite the former Ballon d’Or winner’s undeniable talent, PSG failed to click on the pitch during his time at the club. They finished fourth in Ligue 1 in 2001-02 and 11th in 2002-03.
Ronaldinho PSG stats: Goals and assists
Ronaldinho scored a respectable 25 goals in 77 games for PSG over the course of his two seasons with the club. He also registered 17 assists. Source: Transfermarkt.
The football icon is best remembered for his performances with Barcelona and Brazil, but his two-year PSG stint is what really put him on the map in Europe.