Skip to main content

Ronaldinho leads Atletico Mineiro to Copa Libertadores triumph

updated 6:52 AM EDT, Thu July 25, 2013
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
CNN Football Club
Be part of CNN's coverage of European Champions League matches and join the social debate.
Dutch football team head coach Louis van Gaal (L) and Dutch's assistant coach Patrick Kluivert (R) look on before a friendly football match between Belgium and Netherlands in Brussels on August 15, 2012.
Should the Manchester United board have insisted upon a more radical overhaul of the club's football operation when Alex Ferguson stepped down?
updated 9:26 AM EDT, Wed April 23, 2014
Sunday Oliseh plays for NIgeria at the 1998 World Cup in France.
When Sunday Oliseh was a young boy, he never dreamed he would one day carry the hopes of 170 million people on football's biggest stage.
updated 11:23 AM EDT, Tue April 15, 2014
The 1989 Hillsborough stadium tragedy, which claimed 96 lives, brought the red and the blue halves of Liverpool together.
CNN's Don Riddell says the 1989 Hillsborough tragedy has caused irreparable damage to the families of the 96 victims and the survivors.
updated 8:44 AM EDT, Fri April 11, 2014
The Champions league trophy stands on show during the draw for the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions league at the UEFA headquarters in Nyon on March 21, 2014. AFP PHOTO/FABRICE COFFRINI (Photo credit should read FABRICE COFFRINI/AFP/Getty Images)
Two European heavyweights will collide in the Champions League semifinals after Bayern Munich and Real Madrid were drawn together in Switzerland.
updated 8:48 AM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014
West Bromwich Albion's French striker Nicolas Anelka looks on during the English Premier League football match between West Bromwich Albion and Newcastle United at The Hawthorns in West Bromwich, central England, on January 1, 2014.
England prides itself on being the home of football, but is the nation dysfunctional in dealing with racist abuse?
updated 9:39 AM EDT, Tue March 18, 2014
In a city where football is a religion, Liverpool and England striker Daniel Sturridge is fast becoming a deity.
updated 10:55 AM EST, Tue March 4, 2014
"Everyone is scared about war -- they are very nervous," former Ukraine football star Oleg Luzhny says of the rising tensions with Russia.
updated 1:07 PM EST, Wed February 26, 2014
Bayern Munich's present success rests on one key decision, chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge tells CNN.
updated 4:22 AM EST, Tue February 18, 2014
Neymar
"More than a Club." It is an image Barcelona has carefully cultivated, but could the controversial deal to sign Neymar sour that view?
updated 1:25 PM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
Affectionately known as "the wise man of Hortaleza," Luis Aragones -- who died aged 75 -- left the legacy of helping Spain's ascension to the top.
ADVERTISEMENT