With the new 2019-20 season all set to begin in just a few weeks’ time, let us all recollect the story of how Barcelona legend Ronaldinho’s brilliant mind games inspired Andres Iniesta and co. to a brilliant El Clasico win against Real Madrid, fourteen years ago.
In his book “The Artist: Being Iniesta”, the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner recalled the incident where Ronaldinho called each and every one of his Barcelona teammates and let them know he was leaving for Real Madrid. It was all a hoax, as it was revealed later.
Here is how Iniesta narrates the story:
“A few days before the Clasico against Real Madrid, ‘Dinho’ called me at home at night.”
“I answered and he told me: ‘Andres, I know it’s 3 am, but I have to confess something. In June I will be leaving Barcelona. My brother has an agreement with Real Madrid. It’s an incredible amount that I can’t refuse. You’re young, you can understand – but please do not tell anyone in the locker room or the club. Do not betray me I trust you more than anyone. Andres, goodnight.’“
“He didn’t give me time to say anything.”
“The next day, we were in training and I felt an awkward atmosphere around me. The whole team was silent and they were all greeting Ronaldinho like never before.”
“When the day of the Clasico came, in the locker rooms of Santiago Bernabeu, ‘Dinho’ told us: ‘Guys, today is an important game, they are strong, but these days I discovered that we were like a family.’“
“‘I called each of you during the night and told you that I was leaving in June, but none of you spoke. After that, I realised that we were ready to suffer in silence rather than betray each other. I’ll stay here for a long time, now let’s go onto the field and teach a lesson to these players of Real Madrid.’”
“Not only did Ronaldinho inspire his teammates, but he clearly also inspired himself as he was given a standing ovation by the Real Madrid fans after scoring twice during Barcelona’s dominant 3-0 win.”
The story is more than a decade old, but it still does not fail to impress!