Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mendes shines on his Barcelona youth debut, with the 17-year-old impressing in a 3-1 victory over Manchester United 18 years after his iconic dad won the Champions League with the Spanish giants
- Ronaldinho enjoyed a five-year spell at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008
- His son Joao Mendes has made his youth debut for the club last week
- The 17-year-old played as a forward as Barca beat Man United 3-1
Joao Mendes, son of Brazil legend Ronaldinho, has made his debut for the Barcelona youth team.
The 17-year-old played as a forward as Barca took on Manchester United, a mirror of two Champions League finals and Thursday’s Europa League match, which was drawn 2-2.
It took place at the Johan Cruyff Stadium, the Catalan side’s impressive youth and training ground, as the home side edged an even game with two late goals.
Mendes joined the famous La Masia academy (which has produced the likes of Lionel Messi, Xavi and Iniesta) earlier this month after convincing the club he was ready following underwhelming displays at earlier trials.
Club President Joan Laporta urged patience with the youngster, and he appears to have repaid that trust as he is thought to possess some of the dazzling array of tricks that his Ballon d’Or-winning father had up his sleeves.
Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mende has made his Barcelona youth debut against Manchester United
The 17-year-old was on the books at Cruzeiro before moving to Europe after his contract was terminated
Ronaldinho is himself operating as an ambassador for the Catalan giants, but has promised that with his son’s arrival in the club’s academy, his involvement at the club will only increase.
‘I’m never out of the club. Barcelona is part of life. Wherever I go I take Barcelona with me,’ the World Cup-winning magician told Spanish outlet Marca.
‘With the arrival of my son at Barca I’ll be more present than ever.’
Mendes had been on the books at Brazilian outfit Cruzeiro, before his contract at the club was terminated.
Cruzeiro are themselves owned by another Brazilian legend – Ronaldinho’s former team-mate Ronaldo, who owns a 90 per cent stake in the club.
Laporta is thought to have maintained a strong relationship with Mendes’ father, as he was a crucial part of the side that brought huge success to the club during the president’s first spell at the club.
Mendes did not initially impress at his first Barca trial but appears to be rewarding the club;s patience – pic credit: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwxR6x6n0MK/
His father enjoyed a fruitful five year-spell at Barca after winning the World Cup
Ronaldinho had been one of Barcelona’s stars during Joan Laporta’s first spell as the club president
Moreira’s uncle Roberto de Assis, who is also his agent, had been in direct contact with Laporta to discuss a deal for the teenager to move to the Nou Camp, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Ronaldinho enjoyed a glittering five-year spell at Barcelona between 2003 and 2008.
Having won the World Cup in 2002, he joined the club from PSG the following year, and went on to win the Ballon d’Or in 2005.
He was also named FIFA World Player of the Year in 2004 and 2005.