Attacking midfielder who became a star for the Brazilian national team after debuting in 1999; played for FC Barcelona from 2003 to 2008 and was named the 2004-05 FIFA World Player of the Year.
He was nicknamed El Gaucho at the age of 8 because he was smaller than most of his peers. When he was 13, he scored 23 goals in a 23–0 match.
In 2005, he received international honors during the FIFA Confederations Cup and was also awarded with the Ballon d'Or.
He became a father on February 25, 2005 when Brazilian dancer Janaina Mendes gave birth to their son. He named the child Joao after his late father.