Ronaldinho makes promise as 17-year-old son joins Barcelona academy

Ronaldinho shows great skill in Barca v Man Utd legends match

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Ronaldinho has promised to become even more involved in Barcelona after his son joined the club’s youth academy. The Brazilian is widely considered to be an icon at the Camp Nou after spending five years there as a player and currently serves as an ambassador for the Catalan giants.

Ronaldinho is one of the most recognisable players in football history due to his immense talent and silky style of play. He is perhaps most synonymous with Barcelona after spending his prime years at the club, winning La Liga twice and the Champions League. He also won his one and only Ballon d’Or while at the Spanish outfit in 2005.

Now his son, Joao Mendes, is set to follow in his footsteps after a successful trial. The 17-year-old had been released by Brazilian side Cruzeiro but will now join the same La Masia academy that produced the likes of Andreas Iniesta, Xavi and, of course, Lionel Messi.

Ronaldinho has also promised to take a more hands-on role at the club following the news as he tries to help his son replicated some of the success that he had in his career.

“Yes he is coming now,” he said. “I’m never out of the club. Barcelona is part of life. Wherever I go I take Barcelona with me. With the arrival of my son at Barca I’ll be more present than ever.”

While Ronaldinho spent most of his career in more creative roles out wide and behind the striker, Mendes is more of a pure goalscorer. The teenager plies his trade as a No 9 and will hope to lead the line for some of the academy teams.

His trial did not go to plan initially with Barca president Joan Laporta asking for the forward to be given more time to impress. But he now looks to have made the most of the opportunity after signing his contract with the club.

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Barcelona are currently battling to win La Liga for the first time since 2019 and hold a healthy eight-point lead over fierce rivals Real Madrid. Ronaldinho backed his former team to continue their charge under the tutelage of his close friend Xavi.

“It is not easy to win titles, but he’s doing very well and I hope that soon he will make history at the club,” he said. “Xavi is my friend. Let’s hope things continue to go well and he can win the title.”

It remains to be seen how successful Mendes will be at Barcelona but if he is even half as successful as his father was he will become a hero.

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