Ronaldinho was born in the city of Porto Alegre, the state capital of Rio Grande do Sul. His mother, Dona Miguelina Elói Assis dos Santos (daughter of Enviro Assis), is a former salesperson who studied to become a nurse. His father, João de Assis Moreira, was a shipyard worker and footballer for local club Esporte Clube Cruzeiro (not to be confused with Cruzeiro). He suffered a fatal heart attack in the family swimming pool when Ronaldinho was eight. After Ronaldinho’s older brother, Roberto, signed with Grêmio, the family moved to a home in the more affluent Guarujá section of Porto Alegre, which was a gift from Grêmio to convince Roberto to stay at the club. Roberto’s career was ultimately cut short by injury. Today, Roberto acts as Ronaldinho’s manager, while his sister Deisi works as his press coordinator.
Ronaldinho’s football skills began to blossom at the of age 8, and he was first given the nickname Ronaldinho because he was often the youngest and the smallest player in youth club matches. He developed an interest in futsal and beach football, which later expanded to organized football. His first brush with the media came at the age of thirteen, when he scored all 23 goals in a 23–0 victory against a local team. Ronaldinho was identified as a rising star at the 1997 U-17 World Championship in Egypt, in which he scored two goals on penalty kicks.
Ronaldinho’s 2005 Nike advertisement, where he is given a new pair of boots and then proceeds to juggle a football and appears to repeatedly volley it against the crossbar of a goal and recover it without the ball touching the ground, went viral on YouTube, becoming the site’s first video to reach one million views. Ronaldinho joined forces with the United Nations to educate the public about AIDS in 2011, and on June 2013, he launched his own line of condoms named Sex Free.
Ronaldinho became a father for the first time on 25 February 2005, after Brazilian dancer Janaína Mendes gave birth to their son, who was named João after Ronaldinho’s late father.