The 32-year-old grew up admiring the Brazil and Barcelona legend, saying she looks to entertain fans in the same manner
U.S. women’s national team star Tobin Heath has said that Brazil legend Ronaldinho was her biggest influence growing up.
Heath has enjoyed a trophy-filled career with the USWNT, having won two World Cups and two Olympic gold medals while earning 169 caps for her country.
The Manchester United winger is known for her audacious displays of skill, making her admiration for the former Barcelona star easy to understand.
What did Heath say?
“The player that I always say is Ronaldinho, that’s the player I looked up to,” Heath told The Official Manchester United Podcast.
“For me, football was supposed to look and feel a certain way and he demonstrated that kind of feeling that I always wanted to have on the pitch and the way I wanted to entertain as well.
“I gravitated more to a South American style of football but I was also heavily influenced by the European game just because of where I’m from.”
Ronaldinho’s legendary career
The Brazilian came up with Gremio in his home country before shining with Paris Saint-Germain in his first European stop. But he truly reached his peak at club level with Barcelona, winning two Liga crowns, the Champions League, as well as the Ballon d’Or in 2005.
He went on to play for AC Milan and clubs in Brazil and Mexico before retiring in 2018.
Known for his flashy style and incredible skill on the ball, Ronaldinho also earned 97 caps for Brazil, playing in two World Cups and winning one in 2002.
What’s next for Heath?
After making a major impact in her first season with United, Heath suffered a serious ankle injury last month and appears set to be out until April at the earliest.
United have fallen slightly off the pace in the WSL title race and now sit in third place, six points behind table-topping Chelsea.
At international level, Heath will be fully focused on getting healthy in time for this summer’s Olympics, with the USWNT looking to make up for their shock quarter-final exit at the hands of Sweden in 2016.