Chelsea’s summer signing Filipe Luis has revealed that Brazilian compatriot Ronaldinho was his favourite player growing up.
The legendary Brazilian now plies his trade in the Mexican national league for Queretaro, but there was a time when he was the king of football and tormenting the Blues’ backline.
After a successful stint at Paris Saint-Germain as a youngster, the now 34-year-old moved to Barcelona in 2003 and embarked on a highly-successful five year stint with the Catalan giants.
Ronaldinho's first encounter with the Blues happened in the 2004-05 season when Jose Mourinho’s side edged Barcelona 5-4 on aggregate and 4-2 in a memorable second-leg match during their Champions League tie.
During that wonderful night in West London, Ronaldinho pulled Barca back in the tie with a quick-fire double – his second being a spectacular 20-yard effort which beat Petr Cech using minimal back-lift.
Despite the Blues eventually winning the tie, the Brazilian idol gained his revenge a year later with another superb solo effort against as this time Barca advanced and were later crowned European champions.
His performances during those peak years live long in the memory and had a special effect on the mesmerized Filipe Luis.
“Ronaldinho, he was pure magic,” Luis told Chelsea.com when asked who his favourite player growing up was. “He went on to the field to have fun, and would do the same dribbles if he was losing or winning.”
“It was pure football. I watched his career since he was 18, and he was a brilliant player, the best I ever watched. Every game he had something new, something different and a special player.”
Luis joined the Blues in the summer from La Liga champions Atletico Madrid for a reported £15.8 million fee.
Despite arriving with high promise, he has yet to establish himself as a first-team regular and has been restricted to just two Premier League starts.