Soccer legend Ronaldinho to play 'peace' matches in Israel next week


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Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho attends a press conference.
PUNIT PARANJPE (AFP/Archives)Brazilian soccer player Ronaldinho attends a press conference.

The Brazilian soccer legend says he's happy to be returning to Israel: 'I love the country and I love the people'

Former Brazilian soccer superstar Ronaldinho will travel to Israel next week for two friendly matches as part of the FC Barcelona legends' team. 

The squad consisting of Barcelona's legendary players will play against past members of Maccabi Tel Aviv at Tel Aviv's Bloomfield Stadium on September 5, before taking on Maccabi Haifa legends at the Sami Ofer Stadium in the northern coastal city two days later.

"I'm very happy to be coming to Israel again," said the Brazilian star. "I love the country and I love the people."

TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA (AFP/File)Ronaldinho in 2002 after winning the World Cup with Brazil

"We're going to have a superb experience with matches against legends from Israel's greatest teams. It will be a great party in magnificent stadiums, in front of tens of thousands of fans," he added.

Ronaldinho has already been to Israel several times, notably to play in "peace matches" in 2019 and 2021. In 2022, he took part in a gala match for the "kings of dribbling."

Pau Barrena (AFP)
Pau Barrena (AFP)Ronaldinho playing a legends match in Barcelona, Spain.

The player began his career with Gremio, in Brazil, before becoming one of the biggest stars of the sport, playing in Europe with Paris Saint-Germain, then Barcelona and AC Milan. He ended his career with stints in Mexico and back in his homeland.

He won the Champions League twice with Barcelona, as well as the 2002 World Cup and Copa America with the Brazilian national team. He has also won the Ballon d'Or once, and twice been named World Footballer of the Year.

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