Ronaldinho didn't intend on touching a ball at the few hours he spent at a promotional event on Friday. But when he did, quite by chance really, he made the day of a little boy dressed in a replica of his AC Milan jersey and left those who knew his works with a smile of familiarity.
The enthusiastic autograph hunter spilt the football he was carrying in his rush. Gaucho's instincts were on it in a flash, his right leg breaking the roll and with a flick of the left, the ball was in his hand. The trademark, cheeky grin followed as he signed and handed the ball over to the overawed boy. Another engagement followed.
Though he spent a majority of the last three days with an interpreter by his side, Ronaldinho was very much at home, talking in smiles as he has on the pitch right through his 14-year career. The floppy, white shirt concealed his packaged abs but the uniformed hairband was in place, holding back his noodle-hair mop.
The 32-year-old is one who relishes his golden years at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008, right after winning the World Cup with Brazil in 2002. With the Catalans, Ronaldinho flourished with two La Liga titles (2004-05 and 2005-06) and a Champions League (2005-06). The same period won him individual honours; yet the No. 10 jersey had soon to be surrendered to a successor - one, Lionel Messi.
It was time to move on.
While the focus currently is on an animated movie produced by Venky's Balaji Rao where his avatar takes on the aliens, Ronaldinho is dreaming another dream --- the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. "It's a big moment for any footballer when the World Cup comes home. I hope to make the national squad," he said.