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Dublin: 9°C Sunday 16 May 2021

Ronaldinho's 14-year-old son signs contract with Cruzeiro

Joao Mendes has agreed a deal with the two-time Copa Libertadores winners.

 Joao Mendes (left) is the son of Barcelona legend Ronaldinho.
Joao Mendes (left) is the son of Barcelona legend Ronaldinho.

CRUZEIRO HAVE SIGNED Ronaldinho’s 14-year-old son Joao Mendes to a training contract at the club that will run until he is 19 years old. 

The agreement was put in place between the club and player on Friday after Mendes had impressed in the club’s youth system. 

He’s been playing for Cruzeiro since last year and now looks set for a long stay with the Brazilian side, with the club’s director of grassroots football, Amarildo Ribeiro, revealing his best attributes.

“Today, we signed the contract of Joao Mendes, who is a promising player with interesting characteristics and who, I believe, will soon be integrating with our professional team,” Ribeiro told Cruzeiro’s website.

He is a tall player with high technical quality. A player who can play both as a box player and as a second striker. He is a player who, even with his size, has speed and finishes very well.”

Mendes’s signing comes from his own hard work rather than gaining the opportunity via his father’s reputation.

When he first went on trial with the club, he kept the fact his father was Ronaldinho a secret and opted to rely on his ability only to secure a place in the team.

Now, he’s eyeing a long stay at the club with hopes to one day play for the first team.

“It was the team that opened the door for me. I have a great affection for the club,” Mendes told the club’s official website. 

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“The training is very good, the structure is very good. It’s the biggest club in Brazil and it’s a pleasure to play here. 

“It’s a very happy day. Thanks to the board for the confidence you have given to me. I also thank God for me being able to play every day.

It is a dream that one day I can sign the professional contact with Cruzeiro, play professionally, score a goal in the crowded Mineirao and dedicate it to the fans.”

Ronaldinho started his club career himself playing for Porto Alegre side Gremio before transferring to Paris Saint-Germain for the 2001-02 season. 

Later on in his career, having established himself as one of the world’s best players during his time with Barcelona, he played for Flamengo, Atletico Mineiro and Fluminense before retiring in 2015.

Gavan Casey and Ryan Bailey are joined by Bernard Jackman to look back on a thrilling weekend of European rugby on the latest episode of The42 Rugby Weekly:

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