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Soccer legend makes whirlwind visit to Shanghai

By Alywin Chew and He Qi in Shanghai | | Updated: 2018-05-21 15:33

Brazilian soccer legend Ronaldo de Lima was in Shanghai over the weekend, spending time with fans at a meet-and-greet event on Saturday before appearing at a soccer clinic for youths in Pudong new area on Sunday.

"We are honored and thrilled to have such a giant of world soccer coming here to Shanghai," said Inezz Pineda, a representative from the event organizer King Bally Entertainment Group. "This occasion will be a real treat for Chinese soccer enthusiasts."

King Bally is a sport events management and production agency that has held activities related to basketball, MMA, soccer and e-sports.

Widely considered one of the best strikers in history, two-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo retired in 2011 aged 34 after an illustrious career that was plagued by knee injuries. Among the teams the Brazilian played for are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Inter Milan and AC Milan.

Following the end of his playing career, Ronaldo took up a number of ambassadorial roles but never once entered management. He still has no intentions of becoming a coach.

"No coaching for me. I don't like the idea of being a coach and living a life like before –training every day and traveling every weekend," he told China Daily.

"But I love being involved with soccer still. Stay tuned because I will soon announce a piece of news regarding my latest involvement in the sport."

When asked about his thoughts regarding compatriots like Oscar, Hulk and Alexandre Pato playing in the Chinese Super League, the 41-year-old voiced his approval but also stressed on the need for youth development.

"These Brazilian players have played in the biggest leagues in the world and this rich experience would benefit the local scene and help elevate it," he said.

"I think China is doing well in the sport. Just look at all the big name players the clubs are buying. But the country also needs to invest more in youth development. The earlier the kids start to play football, the better it is. The key is having good mix of buying top players and youth development."

While it has been more than a decade since he left Real Madrid, the Brazilian's allegiance to the club is still strong, with him voicing his support for the Spanish side ahead of their UEFA Champions League final against Liverpool this weekend.

"I hope Real Madrid would win. I think they're the favorites to do so. But Liverpool also deserves to be there. It's going to be a great match to watch," said Ronaldo, who scored 83 goals in 127 starts for Real.

With regard to the upcoming World Cup, Ronaldo said that his home country stands "a good chance of winning" the sport's most prestigious trophy. He also pointed out that teams like Spain, Germany, France and Argentina would be the ones to watch.

"It's been a long time since we won. But if you look at the bigger picture, there are many countries that haven't won the world cup for a long time too. Brazil already has the most number of World Cup wins at five. But I think we’re still hungry for the sixth," he said.

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