The Major Arena Soccer League made it official on Friday, announcing that Brazilian star Ronaldinho is joining the indoor league as a co-owner of an expansion team.
The league did not say where the team will play or when it will begin competition. One thing is certain; it won’t be in the New York City metropolitan area, according to league chairman Shep Messing. He told FrontRowSoccer.com that the MASL was “actively pursuing one for either Brooklyn or Nassau County.”
The MASL said said that the team’s location, team name and additional details will be released shortly.
Considered one of the best players of his generation and regarded by many as one of the greatest players of all time, Ronaldinho won two FIFA World player of the year awards. In 2004, he was named by Pele to the FIFA 100 list of the world’s greatest living players. Two years later, Ronaldinho was appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Office of Sport for Development and Peace.
“I am happy to join the best indoor soccer league in the world,” Ronaldinho said on Twitter. “As everyone knows, I am passionate about the game and about life, and I look forward to having fun with this venture. As an MASL team owner, my goals are to use my position to further increase the League’s popularity in the USA and around the world, to help improve the already high level of playing and to bring joy and happiness to all fans, especially the children.”
Messing said he got some help from an old teammate.
“Pelé, my friend and former teammate from the New York Cosmos, brought Ronaldinho to my attention when he was a teenage prodigy playing in Brazil,” he said in a statement. “I have followed his spectacular career since that day. We are honored to have Ronaldinho join our league and we have great expectations for his continued contributions to the sport, both here and abroad.”
Ronaldinho will partner with co-owner Robert Striar. Striar, who has been a leading figure in sports and media with his firm M Style. Striar has worked with countless leagues, teams and entertainment companies, as well as investments across the sports and media landscape.
“We are excited to partner in this new team with such a beloved legend,” Striar said. “Ronaldinho’s passion for the Arena game and his involvement confirms the upward trajectory of Major Arena Soccer League and its growth. I’m thrilled to have such a wonderful co-owner of our team and partner in our group.”