In this rare piece of footage, we see Ronaldinho on the far right, slotting home free kicks as if they were billiard balls into the nearest slot. Here, Dinho, presumably in the lead up to one of Brazil’s recent friendlies, teaches Neymar the sublime art of curling in a free kick. The clip reveals a model of mentorship that transcends the coach-player relationship and hinges instead on the transfer of knowledge from the experienced player, Ronaldinho, to the gifted protégé, Neymar.
Ronaldinho’s education of Neymar recalls in the context of Brazil's recent friendly against Mexico recalls yet another famous teacher-student relationship in Brazilian football from over a decade ago, namely, the strike partnership of Romario and Ronaldo. In the Brazil v. Mexico friendly on April 30, 1997 in Miami, crowds flocked to see Romario and Ronaldo play alongside each other, with specific attention to the young sensation Ronaldo at the height of his power. But the 31 year old Romario showed the 20 year old protégé Ronaldo that he still had a few tricks up his sleeve with a magnificent hat-trick in a 4-0 victory for Brazil. Everyone had come to see the great Ronaldo but Romario showed there were still some lessons to be learned from the master.