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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.

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"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.

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