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 By Alex Shaw

Ronaldinho's 'what ifs' are irrelevant, just celebrate one of the greatest ever

Ronaldinho has announced his retirement from football.

If you love football, or even just possess a passing interest in it, you adore Ronaldinho. Upon his retirement, there has been a tendency to lament his career as a mix of "what ifs" but such a solemn reaction doesn't do justice to the greatest player of his generation. Don't be sad it's over, smile because it happened.

For many 20-to-early-30 somethings, Ronaldinho was the original go-to guy on YouTube, a mesmerising mix of outrageous tricks, flicks and goals interspersed with the now-familiar trashy...

 By Tim Vickery

The brilliant Ronaldinho has retired, but his legacy is full of 'what if?'

The ESPN FC crew look back on Ronaldinho's legendary career and persona on and off the pitch after the Brazilian officially announced his retirement.

Now it's official: Ronaldinho will not play any more competitive football.

His older brother and agent, Assis, has announced that farewell matches and events will take place after the World Cup, but one of the most gifted players the game has ever seen will not be kicking any more balls in anger.

In truth, this only makes official what everyone already knew. Ronaldinho has not been seen in competitive action for more than two years. His last serious match was a Brazilian league game for Fluminense...

 By Tim Vickery

Firmino steps forward in win over City; will he be front and centre for Brazil?

Manchester City's unbeaten run in the Premier League has come to an end at the hands of Liverpool.

The wonderful goal and fine all-round display of Roberto Firmino for Liverpool on Sunday may have consequences beyond ending Manchester City's unbeaten run in the Premier League. It may also secure Firmino's place in Brazil's World Cup squad.

Centre-forward has been something of a problem position for Brazil in recent times, as those who recall the displays of Fred in the last World Cup will testify. Some 18 months ago, when he took over as national team coach, Tite took a gamble on a teenager...

 By Chris Wright

Neymar trolls Barcelona's Philippe Coutinho over hairstyle on Instagram

Neymar and Philippe Coutinho go way back, having both come up through the Brazilian youth ranks together.

As such, the former congratulated the latter on following in his footsteps by joining Barcelona for big money earlier in the week, but couldn't resist the urge for a cheeky dig at his old friend's expense.

"Very happy for you, I wish you every success in the world, I'm sure you'll be very happy," Neymar chirped on his Instagram story after sharing a photo of Coutinho in his new kit.

However,...

 By Tim Vickery

How Coutinho overcame his setbacks to become Barcelona's record buy

What on earth must Inter Milan be thinking at the moment?

They identified the special talent of Philippe Coutinho before the Brazilian attacking midfielder had even turned professional. They bought him in 2008, when he was 16, and had to wait two years to take him across the Atlantic. But after all of this scouting work and the investment of time and money, they effectively gave up on him.

After three disappointing Serie A seasons -- 28 league appearances and three goals; 47 games and five...

Brazil have the best goalkeeping duo, as Alisson, Ederson impress

Pep Guardiola says he is very pleased with the performances of Ederson and reinforces his view that every top team needs two very good goalkeepers.

"Tite has a big problem," Alisson joked. In truth, it's a problem all coaches would like to have. With less than six months to go until the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Brazil's manager has to choose between two of the best goalkeepers in the world.

Together with Alisson's former Roma teammate Mohamed Salah, who has wowed at Liverpool, Manchester City goalkeeper Ederson has been the most influential signing in the Premier League this season. In awe of his performances, it's understandable that many...