Real Madrid’s Champions League final match winner Vinicius Junior was on the scoresheet along with Steve Nash and Chad Ochocinco Johnson on Saturday in a 22-goal thriller as Team Roberto Carlos got the better of Team Ronaldinho at the home of Major League Soccer club Inter Miami.
Wait, what? OK, let’s go back to the start.
Soccer stars past and present came together in Florida this weekend to take part in the first edition of “The Beautiful Game,” a series of matches hosted by 2002 World Cup winners R10 and RC3 that are raising money for charity.
Ronaldinho and Roberto Carlos assembled squads that could lay claim to being the most star-studded in the history of exhibition games, with fellow Brazilians Cafu, Rivaldo, Eder Militao and Vinicius all joining them on the roster.
Current stars including Paul Pogba, Paulo Dybala, Weston McKennie, Alphonso Davies, Radamel Falcao also got call-ups alongside legends such as Carlos Valderrama, Rene Higuita, Rafa Marquez and Patrick Kluivert.
The recruitment strategy was not limited to just footballers, either. Brooklyn Nets head coach Nash, former NFL wide receiver Ochocinco and Puerto Rican singer Rauw Alejandro were also involved. There was also an appearance from 11-year-old Brazilian social media star Ariana dos Santos, who set up a late goal for Cafu and was held aloft by him as he celebrated.
There was further NBA representation from Miami Heat’s Jimmy Butler and Leandro Barbosa, who played for the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors before his retirement in 2019.
The fans at DRV PNK Stadium got more than their money’s worth. Team Roberto Carlos led 8-5 at half-time, although it was the link-up play on the other team between Ronaldinho and Vinicius which lit up proceedings early on. Former Barcelona forward Ronaldinho slipped in Vinicius, who finished brilliantly before celebrating with a dance Ronaldinho made famous during his time as a career.
Ronaldinho feeding Vinicius Jr who scores and then follows it with the Ronaldinho celebration pic.twitter.com/sXBg922P61
— Luis Miguel Echegaray (@lmechegaray) June 19, 2022
Nash, 48, then rolled back the years just before the break as he nipped in front of Juventus’ new signing Pogba to get on the scoresheet.
GOAL#NBA legend and @BrooklynNets coach STEVE NASH robs Paul Pogba before applying a perfect finish to give his team an 8-4 lead!@YorkUtdFC… he is *technically* a free agent#CanMNT , #NetsWorld , https://t.co/7JFAUhgjL6 pic.twitter.com/1Xm6wAlPKy
— OneSoccer (@onesoccer) June 18, 2022
There was also a brace for Ochocinco in his hometown, including one goal he lashed home after putting his big stride to good use to run into space.
There was plenty of time for tricks and showboating, too, especially from Vinicius, who scored the winning goal when Madrid beat Liverpool in Paris last month to win the Champions League for a record-extending 14th time.
So good was Vinicius, in fact, against ex-pros and non-footballers, that it was only fair that he played a half for each team. That meant he was on the winning and the losing team in the end as Team Roberto Carlos ran out 12-10 winners — the second half “only” yielding nine more goals.
Still, it looks like the two Brazil greats who had their names attached to the game certainly enjoyed themselves, especially as they went up against each other to battle for the ball.
Now we’re all just left to wonder what tricks they have up their sleeves for the next fixture in the series.