Skip to main content

Ronaldinho leads Atletico Mineiro to Copa Libertadores triumph

July 25, 2013 -- Updated 1052 GMT (1852 HKT)
Ronaldinho has twice been voted world footballer of the year and won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002
Ronaldinho has twice been voted world footballer of the year and won the World Cup with Brazil in 2002
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro win the Copa Libertadores by beating Paraguay's Olimpia
  • Former Brazil striker Ronaldinho leads Mineiro to first major international title
  • Mineiro win via a penalty shoot out after the teams were locked at 2-2 after 90 minutes
  • Ronaldinho says Mineiro's triumph show he isn't finished as a player

(CNN) -- Ronaldinho rounded on critics who said he was finished after he helped lead Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro to the Copa Libertadores title after a penalty shootout victory over Olimpia.

The 2002 World Cup winner and two-time world player of the year helped his side edge past their Paraguayan opponents via a penalty shootout to land their first ever Libertadores crown -- the premier club competition in South America.

Atletico had to rely on an 87th minute equalizer from Leonardo Silva in the second leg of final to force the tie into extra time, which remained goalless. This came just moments after Olimpia defender Julio Cesar Manzur had been sent off.

Once again, as he had been in both the quarter and semifinals, Atletico's goalkeeper Victor was hailed as hero.

Read: A fair World Cup deal for Brazil?

Having saved penalties to help his side past Tijuana and Newell's Old Boys, he made a crucial penalty save after the match had gone to a shootout, Atletico winning 4-3 to land their first major international title.

Brazil wins Confederations Cup
Confederations Cup marred by protests

"This is why I came back to Brazil," Ronaldinho told reporters. "Not long ago people were saying that I was done but we showed today that isn't the case. Let them talk now."

Trailing 2-0 from the first leg in Paraguay, Atletico halved the deficit with a goal from former Manchester City striker Jo moments after the second half began.

Olimpia missed a golden chance to restore their two-goal lead late in the game when Ferreyra dribbled past Victor but stumbled in front of goal, allowing the goalkeeper to recover.

But with three minutes remaining Leonardo Silva headed into the far corner to send Atletico's 60,000 fans into raptures.

After a goalless extra half an hour Victor saved Olimpia's first spot kick in the shootout, from defender Herminio Miranda, as Atletico went on to convert all four of their penalties.

It capped a remarkable triumph for Atleitco in their first Libertadores final. Victor saved a stoppage time penalty in the quarterfinal against Tijuana to help his side stay in the competition.

Their semifinal against Newell's Old Boys, of Argentina, was interrupted by a floodlight failure, Atletico scoring late on to force another shootout in which Victor again starred.

"When it's written, it's written -- this was meant for us," said Atletico coach Cuca.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1123 GMT (1923 HKT)
After 20 years, more than 300 goals and a host of major honors, Thierry Henry has called time on his glittering football career.
December 19, 2014 -- Updated 1014 GMT (1814 HKT)
They do things differently at Sociedad Deportiva Eibar, up in the mist-cloaked valleys of the Basque country. And it is working.
December 10, 2014 -- Updated 1353 GMT (2153 HKT)
He might be struggling to score goals for Liverpool, but Mario Balotelli's cheeky tweet about the British monarch hit the spot during the World Cup.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1253 GMT (2053 HKT)
How Real Madrid's new stadium will look
They splash the cash on the world's best players, now Real Madrid are giving the Bernabeu the same treatment with a bling makeover.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1309 GMT (2109 HKT)
Football world mourns South African captain Senzo Meyiwa who was shot and killed during a botched robbery in a township near Johannesburg.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1348 GMT (2148 HKT)
A man as a Roman centurion and who earn his living by posing with tourists gestures in front of the Colosseum during a protest where some of his colleagues climbed on the monument on April 12, 2012 in Rome. The costumed centurions are asking for the right to work there after they were banned following a decision by local authorities.
From the ancient ruins of Rome, a new empire rises. But the eyes of the city's newest gladiator light up at thoughts of the Colosseum.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1622 GMT (0022 HKT)
Once part of Germany's largest Jewish sports club, now he's the first ISIS suspect to stand trial in a country left shocked by his alleged radicalization.
October 17, 2014 -- Updated 1411 GMT (2211 HKT)
One goal in eight matches for new club Liverpool, and dumped by the Italian national team -- Mario Balotelli has yet to shine on his English return.
October 18, 2014 -- Updated 1819 GMT (0219 HKT)
Ched Evans smiles during the Wales training session ahead of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifier against England on March 25, 2011 in Cardiff, Wales.
Should a convicted rapist, who has served their time in prison, be allowed to resume their old job? What if that job was as a high-profile football player?
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1247 GMT (2047 HKT)
After 10 years of golden glory, it's easy to see how Lionel Messi has taken his place among the football gods.
October 16, 2014 -- Updated 1034 GMT (1834 HKT)
A football fan wipes a tear after Inter Milan's Argentinian defender Javier Zanetti has greeted fans following the announcement of his retirement before the start of the Italian seria A football match Inter Milan vs Lazio, on May 10, 2014, in San Siro Stadium In Milan
When will the tears stop? A leading Italian football club is pursuing a new direction -- under the guidance of its new Indonesian owner.
October 13, 2014 -- Updated 2241 GMT (0641 HKT)
Norwegian 15-year-old Martin Odegaard is the youngest player ever to feature in a European Championships qualifying match.
October 10, 2014 -- Updated 1310 GMT (2110 HKT)
After revolutionizing cricket with its glitzy Twenty20 league, India has now thrown large sums of money at a new football venture.
October 2, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Get ruthless. That is Rio Ferdinand's message to soccer's authorities in the fight to tackle the scourge of racism.
September 10, 2014 -- Updated 1328 GMT (2128 HKT)
A picture taken on May 16, 2014 shows 15-year-old Norwegian footballer Martin Oedegaard of club Stroemsgodset IF cheering during a match in Drammen, Norway. Oedegaard is set to become Norways youngest player ever in the national football team.
He's just 15 and the world is seemingly already at his feet. Norway's Martin Odegaard is being sought by Europe's top clubs.
ADVERTISEMENT