Barcelona fans go wild for Ronaldinho’s El Clasico return after spell in prison

Ronaldinho received a standing ovation from Barcelona fans after making an emotional return for their legends game against Real Madrid.

Some of the greatest players to ever represent the El Clasico rivals pulled on their old jerseys for an exhibition in Tel Aviv on Tuesday night.

And Barca icon Ronaldinho, who made headlines for all the wrong reasons when he spent five months in prison last year, was back to take part in the fixture.

The Brazilian was arrested along with brother Roberto de Assis in March 2020 for trying to enter Paraguay with false passports, before being placed under house arrest after paying bail of $800,000 each.

Ronaldinho was finally released from custody in August of last year, and 11 months on he was treated to a warm reception from Barca fans ahead of the El Clasico exhibition in Tel Aviv.

And it didn't take him long to get on the scoresheet, firing Barca in front after 27 minutes with a typically powerful effort from the penalty spot.

Where do you rank Ronaldinho amongst the greatest players of the 21st century? Let us know in the comments section below.

However, Ronaldinho's spot-kick was not enough to inspire them to victory, with Madrid eventually prevailing 3-2 thanks to goals from Pedro Munitis, Alfonso Perez and Ruben de la Red.

Los Blancos brought back a host of world-class names, including Iker Casillas, Roberto Carlos and Javier Saviola.

Barca also had the likes of Deco, Luis Figo and Rivaldo in their side as well as Ronaldinho.

It was the latter who drew the biggest cheers from the Catalans crowd, first when he emerged from the tunnel and later when he ran Madrid ragged with a number of trademark tricks and flicks.

Ronaldinho cemented a legacy as one of the greatest players in modern history at Barca, scoring 94 goals in 207 games for the club after joining from Paris St-Germain in 2003.

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After departing the Nou Camp in 2008, he enjoyed a three-year stint at AC Milan and got his hands on the 2010/11 Serie A title before heading back to Brazil.

The curtain came down on his iconic career in 2015 following stints with Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro, Fluminense and a brief period in Mexico with Queretaro.

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