Brazil and Barcelona forward Ronaldinho wept with emotion as he unveiled his foundation in his home town of Porto Alegre on Wednesday.
"This is the most emotional moment of my life," he said in a speech to a 400-strong audience which included local politicians and Brazil coach Dunga, who is also from the region.
"I've always dreamed of something like this and today I'm seeing it finally happen. This is the best goal I've ever scored, it's an unforgettable day."
The Ronaldinho Instituto is designed to cater for upto 3,500 children and will offer sporting activities and courses in computing, theatre, music and languages.
Ronaldinho was brought up in Porto Alegre, capital of Brazil's southernmost state of Rio Grande do Sul, and began his playing career with local club Gremio.
Ten days ago Ronaldinho was on the losing side when Barcelona were defeated by Internacional, the city's other major club and arch-rivals of Gremio, in the final of the club world championship in Japan.