A teammate revealed that this shared hobby among the players helped create a positive synergy within the team that led them to win the continental title.
Some of the biggest names in Brazilian soccer history are also poker fanatics. Neymar is a great example by partnering with PokerStars and appearing in several live events. Crack Ronaldinho is no different as he brought this mental sport into the social environment with his teammates.
He has also shown off his poker passion in music videos.
Who revealed this facet of Ronaldinho was forward Diego Tardelli, Dinho’s teammate at Atlético Mineiro in 2013, the year in which the Minas Gerais team won the Libertadores title. In an interview on ESPN’s Resenha TV show, the 9 talked about the relationship he had with the legend and recalled the poker nights with the team.
When asked about Ronaldinho, Tardelli stated that he was the best player he played with. “I played with big names, there are three examples here, but Gaúcho was different,” he said in reference to Fábio Luciano, Luís Fabiano and Amoroso, who were with him in the studio. He then revealed a habit of the group….
“When the Libertadores match was coming up, Ronaldinho would carry the poker briefcase. From time to time, he would bring a few beers and we would stay up until two, three, four in the morning playing poker; the next day we would go out to the pitch to play the Libertadores,” the striker revealed.
Tardelli continued, “Nobody knew, it was just us: me, Jô, Bernard, Alecsandro, Richarlison… we all stayed in the room playing poker. And then the next day would come and we would go over everyone’s heads,” said the 9.
On the field, the group’s synergy proved to be worth it: Atlético Mineiro won its first Libertadores, beating Olimpia of Paraguay in the final.
The practice of poker continued to be present behind the scenes at Galo Mineiro. In 2021, it was revealed that team players such as Hulk and Guilherme Arana were practicing poker.