When he was on the field, he scored a goal and made the other.
When he was off, Brazil forced England to play a game which they were not good at - attacking.
Ronaldinho was the hero in the four-time champs' 2-1 triumph although world ruling body FIFA gave the Player of the Game to Rivaldo.
It had been predicted to be the tournament's stingiest defense against its most prolific offense. On the contrary, at least for the last 40 minutes, England went all out attacking while Brazil retreated into a defensive shell.
Going into Friday's quarter-final, England's back line had allowed just one goal in four games, while Brazil's lethal attack had scored 13 - nine by Ronaldo and Rivaldo.
Taking advantage of a defensive mistake, Michael Owen, troubledwith a groin injury and rarely seen in the first 20 minutes, put England ahead in the 23rd minute.
Then Ronaldinho began to shine.
In first half injury time, Ronaldinho broke down through the middle to slice open England's defensive wall. He sent the ball tothe right for Rivaldo, who drove it into the right-hand corner of David Seaman's net.
Ronaldinho scored the winner in the 50th minute as he curled a 35-meter free kick over the head of a hesitant Seaman.
Seven minutes later, Ronaldinho was controversially expelled for a tackle at English defender Danny Mills.
One man short, the 10-man Brazil played defensively as England were desperately looking for an equalizer, which never came.
"Ronaldinho is a great player and he did not intend to hurt anybody," Brazil captain Cafu defended his teammate. "He just wentafter the ball."
"When Ronaldinho was sent off I went to him and told him just to leave and not to worry because we were going to win the match for him."