Ex-Brazil’s World Cup star, Ronaldinho, has said that the only number 10 jersey he admired during his active football life on the field was Nigeria’s former skipper, Austin Jay-Jay Okocha.
The myth about Okocha teaching Ronaldinho some of his tricks appears to be true after all. In a tweet from 2017, Ronaldinho posted a picture of himself, the ex-Super Eagles captain and Colombian legend Carlos Valderrama, with the caption: “Only shirt 10 that I always admired.”
Ronaldinho was making references to the jersey number Okocha and Valderrama wore during their playing days in the national team.
Both Okocha and Ronaldinho played together for PSG in the 2001/2002 season, when the former was an established star, while the latter was a youngster that just arrived from Gremio.
However, despite playing together for just a season, Ronaldinho’s tweet from 2017 suggests he learnt some things from the Nigerian legend during their time together.
It’s not hard to see, though, as Okocha was one of the most talented players of his generation. The former Bolton Wanderers was a magician on the ball.
One of the most gifted dribbles the game has ever seen, Okocha was a fan favourite at every club he played for during his career.
And in Ronaldinho, fans saw arguably the greatest entertainer that ever played the game. The Barcelona legend was also full of a bag of tricks and was unplayable at his peak.
He was so good that he won everything that is there to be won in football. Between 2004-2006, Ronaldinho was heads and shoulders above every other player in the world.
But while he achieved a lot more than his former PSG teammate, it’s fair to say he also learnt a lot from him. In fact, Okocha even confirmed in a recent interview that the 2002 Word Cup winner copied some of his skills.
“Ronaldinho tried to imitate some of my skills and dribbles, he was still a young player before I left for England, and he joined Barcelona,” Okocha told ‘On-time sports, per AS.
Ronaldinho is not the first Brazilian footballer to admire Okocha. The greatest Brazilian footballer and arguably the greatest player of all time, Pele, also included the former Fenerbahce star in his 2004 list of top 125 living footballers.
Recently, West Ham’s new signing, Armstrong Oko-Flex, spoke about how Okocha, Ronaldinho and Ronaldo De Lima influenced his game.