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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 23:37 GMT
Comic role for Brazil soccer star
Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho at the launch of a comic strip named after him
The cartoon hero will share his namesake's footballing skills
Brazilian soccer star Ronaldinho has achieved a rare goal - he has become a comic book hero in his native country.

In doing so he follows in the footsteps of fellow Brazilian legend Pele.

Ronaldinho returned to his home town of Porto Alegre to meet top cartoon artist Mauricio de Souza and attend the launch of the comic strip Ronaldinho Gaucho.

The striker, who plays for Barcelona and has been named Fifa's world's best footballer two years running, said he was honoured to be its inspiration.

He said he was delighted to be part of the gang of characters created by De Souza, saying it was "something that will mark me my whole life".

Ronaldinho added that he hoped his character would play for Gremio, the local club where he launched his own professional career.


De Souza - who is famous in Brazil for his comic book series Monica and Her Gang and Cebolinha - said he had been inspired to draw Ronaldinho after seeing him play on television.

"Then we went to the stadium to see his razzle-dazzle play," the artist told the Rio newspaper O Globo.

The toothy cartoon hero will have similar footballing skills to his namesake, who will be part of the Brazilian national team seeking a sixth World Cup title in Germany next year.

Cartoon fan Ayrton Mandarino told Reuters TV: "It will be a pleasure to have him together with other companions like Monica and Cebolinha, characters that I have been following since I was a kid."

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