Kolkata, often referred to as the “City of Joy,” recently experienced a day brimming with excitement and unexpected surprises as the legendary Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho graced the city. Dressed casually in shorts, a loose t-shirt, and his trademark cap, the 43-year-old football sensation embarked on a whirlwind tour that included inaugurating Durga Puja pandals, demonstrating his magical football skills, engaging with fans, and even trying his hand at cooking. In this article, we delve into the captivating details of Ronaldinho’s visit to Kolkata, celebrating the city’s passion for football and its rich history of hosting iconic players like Diego Maradona, Pele, and Lionel Messi.
Image Source: Get Bengal
A Warm Welcome
Ronaldinho’s maiden visit to Kolkata was met with tremendous enthusiasm as a massive crowd gathered at the airport to welcome their beloved football icon. West Bengal minister Sujit Bose was there to greet him, setting the stage for an unforgettable day.
The R10 Academy Unveiling
The football legend commenced his day by inaugurating the R10 Academy in Rajarhat, a suburb of Kolkata. This academy, designed by Ronaldinho himself, is dedicated to training young footballers and nurturing their skills. The young aspirants, who had only seen Ronaldinho’s mesmerizing dribbling skills on TV screens, were treated to a live demonstration by the maestro. The spectacle left the audience in awe, reaffirming his status as a football icon.
Image Source: Telegraph India
Embracing the Spirit of Durga Puja
Kolkata is renowned for its grand Durga Puja celebrations, and Ronaldinho couldn’t resist joining in the festivities. His next stop was the Sreebhumi Sporting Club puja pandal in Kolkata’s Lake Town. As a mark of respect and admiration, he received a traditional tilak on his forehead and was welcomed with open arms. Ronaldinho not only inaugurated the pandal but also joined in a joyful dance with his fans, who waved Brazilian flags in unison. The unexpected highlight of this visit was a friendly football challenge against Bengal minister Sujit Bose, who guarded a football net. In classic Ronaldinho style, he scored a goal, leaving the crowd elated.
Paying Tribute to Football Legends
The football legend paid his respects at a statue of another iconic football figure, Diego Maradona, in the city. This gesture showcased the camaraderie and mutual admiration among football’s finest. Ronaldinho’s next destination was the home of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kalighat. The Chief Minister honored him with a shawl and presented him with a football, while representatives from Kolkata’s renowned football clubs—Mohun Bagan, East Bengal, and Mohammedan Sporting—gifted him their jerseys. Additionally, he attended a trophy unveiling ceremony hosted by the Indian Football Association, further solidifying his status as a revered figure in the football world.
Image Source: Outlook India
Durga Puja Pandal Tour Continues
Ronaldinho’s enthusiasm knew no bounds as he inaugurated two more Durga Puja pandals, this time on the outskirts of Kolkata in Narendrapur and Baruipur. The fans’ adoration reached new heights when a supporter touched Ronaldinho’s feet as a sign of respect. He reciprocated by kicking footballs into the crowd, drawing thunderous cheers. The football legend’s presence added an extra layer of festivity to Kolkata’s already vibrant Durga Puja celebrations.
A Culinary Interlude
Ronaldinho’s day in Kolkata took an interesting culinary turn as he attended an Emami event, where he tried his hand at cooking. The highlight of this culinary adventure was captured in a photo that showcased Ronaldinho holding a bottle of mustard oil in one hand and a delightful Hilsa fish in the other. This culinary escapade added a touch of local flavor to his visit, leaving fans delighted.
Football Extravaganza: The Exhibition Match
On the second day of his two-day trip, Ronaldinho participated in an exhibition match in Maheshtala, near Kolkata. The anticipation among the city’s football fans was palpable, turning this visit into an extended celebration akin to the festive fervor of Durga Puja. Football enthusiasts in Kolkata had a reason to celebrate as they witnessed one of the greatest footballers of all time in action, bringing joy and excitement to the City of Joy.
A Hero’s Welcome at St. Xavier’s College
Ronaldinho’s visit extended beyond football grounds. He graced St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata (Autonomous), and was welcomed with loud cheers from the students and faculty. The excitement reached a crescendo as the Brazilian magician took the stage, reaffirming his status as a global football icon. The Principal of St. Xavier’s College, Rev. Fr. Dominic Savio SJ, felicitated Ronaldinho, and the occasion witnessed the active involvement of National Cadet Corps cadets from the 6 Coy 20 Bengal BN, ensuring the smooth management of the event.
Conclusion: Celebrating Ronaldinho’s Kolkata Odyssey
Ronaldinho’s day out in Kolkata was a remarkable and unforgettable journey, not only for football enthusiasts but for the entire city. His visit added a special chapter to Kolkata’s enduring love affair with football and its vibrant Durga Puja celebrations. From showcasing his incredible skills at the R10 Academy to embracing the local traditions and culture, Ronaldinho left an indelible mark on the hearts of the people of Kolkata. His visit not only celebrated the sport of football but also demonstrated the power of sports to unite people across cultures and continents.
As the sun set on Ronaldinho’s two-day sojourn in the City of Joy, Kolkata’s football fans had received an early Durga Puja gift – a chance to witness the magic of a true football legend. Ronaldinho’s visit was a testament to the enduring global appeal of the sport and the deep connection it creates among fans worldwide. The memories of his visit will continue to echo through the streets of Kolkata, where football and celebration go hand in hand.