Brazil legend Ronaldinho’s son Joao Mendes has joined the academy of Spanish La Liga giants Barcelona.
Ronaldinho, a former Barcelona player, confirmed his son’s move to the current league leaders.
Mendes, who turns 18 on February 25, was born in Rio de Janeiro while Ronaldinho was on Barca’s books.
The teenager spent a number of years at Cruzeiro, who are owned by Ronaldinho’s former international team-mate Ronaldo, before embarking on a trial with Barca in January.
Reports in Italy suggested Barcelona president Joan Laporta granted the teenager extra time to impress. And now, according to comments from Ronaldinho himself, it appears Mendes did enough to convince the Catalan club of his talent.
“Barca is part of my life, and with the arrival of my son in the academy, I will be more present,” Ronaldinho told RAC1. “I have many friends within Barca, Xavi included, and I hope that they can win the league.”
Joao Mendes had been training with Barcelona’s ‘Juvenil’ side in an effort to make an impression. According to La Gazzetta Dello Sport, coaches at La Masia were not immediately positive about the youngster, only for Laporta to intervene.
The club president, who began his second stint in the role in 2021, was also in charge when Ronaldinho and Barcelona won the Champions League in 2006.