SPORTS STAR EXHIBIT
By Quazi Zulquarnain Islam
Ask anyone to name one single player they consider the best in the world and most people's unanimous choice would be Ronaldinho. The Brazilian is a player who has every single trick in the book. From stepovers to shimmies to 360 degree turns, Ronaldinho employs every single trick and then some making him probably the most exciting player in the world to watch. He also possesses superb passing ability and his vision is superior to almost anyone else in the world. Ronaldinho is synonymous with the Brazilian 'Samba' style of football and is upholding the image of the dazzling Brazilians in the Catalan city of Barcelona, where he plies his trade with local club FC Barcelona.
Ronaldinho first came to attention when he became the top scorer at the under-17 world championship in Egypt. At about the same time he began playing for local side, Gremio. His exceptional technique and vision made him one in a long list to be dubbed 'the new Pele'. It was clear from an early age that he was a class above the Brazilian league standard and after a successful time with Gremio, a move to Europe seemed inevitable.
With many of Europe's elite tracking him, Ronaldinho chose to go the way of another Brazilian Ronaldo in moving to a club outside the 'big 3' leagues by joining Paris Saint Germain for £ 3.6 million. It was to prove a colourful time.
His spell with the Parisian club was mixed. While his talent was undoubtable, it was his discipline that let him down. He had numerous clashes with the manager Luis Fernandez after he criticised the player for his un-professional approach, which included turning up 5 days late for training after claiming he was receiving treatment for his teeth.
Despite his off-field problems, Ronaldinho was still able to turn his talent on when needed. He was brilliant in the 3-0 derby win over Marsaille, and performances like these endeared him to the fans.
Ronaldinho spent one more season at PSG , which included more controversy, before stating publicly that he wanted to move. This started a long tussle between Europe's top clubs. At one point it seemed certain he would be joining Manchester United. He rejected this move, however, in favour of a transfer to Barcelona for around £20 million.
Ronaldinho's form in the first half of the season was one of the few plus points as Barcelona slipped into the bottom half of the table. The arrival of Edgar Davids meant less defensive responsibility for him, and he inspired Barcelona to second in the table with some mesmerising performances. After countless displays of magic at the Camp Nou, and commentators all over the world throwing superlatives at him, many gave Ronaldinho the tag of the world's best player. It was these performances that won him the FIFA Player of the Year award in December 2004.
Ronaldinho further established his reputation as the best player on the planet, with some scintillating performances in a Barcelona team alongside Samuel Eto and Portuguese star Deco. His performances led Barcelona to the Spanish League title and the second round of the Champions League where they lost to Chelsea, inspite of an inspirational performance from the Brazilian- where he scored one of the most memorable goals in memory.
Ronaldinho was also making a name for himself on the international scene. He made his full debut for Brazil in 1999 against Latvia and scored a marvellous goal at Copa America against Venezuela the same year.
While always being talked about as a future star, the Brazilian proved on the international stage at the world cup 2002 that he had finally arrived. Although Ronaldo stole the limelight, Ronaldinho was praised for his performances and is most remembered for the 35 metre lobbed goal against England in the quarter-finals. He returned from the far east with a world cup winners medal and superstar status.
He was also captain of a Brazil team that won the FIFA Confederations cup with a 4-1 victory over Argentina in the final in Germany.
Did you know?
Ronaldinho means "Little Ronaldo"
Ronaldinho apparently invests in learning a new skill to use infront of the adoring fans in every single home matchday.
Games that matter
In the end, it all boils down to the games. The technical powers of the consoles only do so much for the success of the console.
Let's take a look at some of the hot titles that'll be available from the launch.
Perfect Dark Zero
FPS's are somehow very important for Xboxes, as it was the FPS Halo that really sold the system in the beginning. The next title in the Halo series, Halo 3, won't be able to make it to the console's release, as it's being saved for stealing the thunder of PS3's release. With no Halo to lead the Xbox 360 at launch, Microsoft has a lot riding on the back of their only first-party FPS. It's worrying then that so little has been seen of the game, with its MTV showing possibly doing more harm than good. E3 impressions were more positive, but with no media for the game buying public to see, does the average Joe even know what Perfect Dark is? The first Perfect Dark game, for the Nintendo 64, was a very good one. This follow-up to that game, which supports up to 50 players online, is hoped to be the same. It's developer Rare doesn't make ugly games.
Madden NFL 06
I'll admit that I'm as interested in a next-gen Madden as I am in a next-gen solitaire game, but it's obvious that EA's juggernaut of a sports game will have a big hand in the early success of the Xbox 360. EA have a strong line-up of games for the 360 this year, but Madden is their big-gun that could give the console immediate success in the US. If American Football fans want a next-gen fix, an Xbox 360 will be their only option for many months. It's been the most successful sports franchise ever, and the teaser videos look impressive.
Project Gotham Racing 3
It was the Project Gotham Racing that lead the evolution of Xbox Live into what everyone believed it could be when the service originally launched. The series has made a name for itself by sitting in-between the all out thrills of Ridge Racer and the simulation of Forza Motorsport. PGR3 looks to have some stunning visuals and some of the screenshots were so photo-realistic, many fans dissed them as fakes. Also there will be some improved Xbox Live features and a track editor that could allow mean new courses are being designed for the game years after its release. This will probably be the most feature packed Xbox Live game on the 360 for many months.
Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter
Ubisoft rarely release a poor game these days and Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter has looked like one of the most impressive Xbox 360 games since a snippet of footage was shown on the MTV unveiling of the console. They've been teasing with the same footage for months now, but that has been enough to make this one of the most wanted launch games amongst gamers. The promise of the same Ghost Recon gameplay, combined with high-tech weapons and gadgets is very exciting. Oh, and the explosions look brilliant.
Call of Duty 2
While internet forums are full of talk about Microsoft's big three (Perfect Dark, Kameo and PGR3), Activision's Call of Duty 2 could be one of the most impressive early releases for the 360. PC ports may be looked upon badly by some console snobs, but when they look this good, no one should be complaining. The original PC game won many game of the year awards, and Call of Duty 2 looks to be an even more intense and thrilling World War 2 FPS. Perhaps the most sure-fire quality game out of the entire launch line-up.