Why Man City have dodged a Ronaldinho-sized bullet
Tubby star criticised by Brazilian media for Olympic performance
We may place the importance of Olympic football somewhere between fencing and ultimate frisbee over here in Blighty, but that’s not quite the case in South America. Tuesday’s semi-final between Brazil and Argentina was treated like a World Cup game by the inhabitants of the football-mad continent, and accordingly, commercial pressures from sponsors such as Nike dictated that the team in yellow brought some superstars to Beijing.
Despite doing everything right on the pitch and saying his nightly prayers, Kaka was denied the Olympic dream by AC Milan, while the Italians let Ronaldinho trot off to the far east. This may have been a condition of his sale to the Serie A club, or perhaps the CBF felt his flamboyant style was more suited to garnering publicity for the national team.
Of course, Brazil were denied the gold medal that has so far eluded them by a convincing Argentinean side, and they face the prospect of a bronze medal match with the mighty Belgium tomorrow. In an article titled ‘The Fall of Ronaldinho’, Spanish rag Sport details the position that the CBF have put Ronaldinho in (he is the ‘glamour’ player who brings media attention to the team) and how his lack of professionalism and fitness means he can no longer live up to his superstar status.
Of the heavy defeat in Beijing, the under-fire star said “it is a pain so great I cannot describe it,” yet his supposed passion was no excuse for the Brazilian media: after his sub-par performance at the Games, Folha de Sao Paulo labelled him a ‘shadow of the player who was once the best in the world’. Perhaps he is the scapegoat for a disappointing tournament, but it is clear that Ronny is not living up to his potential.
Ronaldinho’s speed and technique have clearly not returned to him after a dreadful season (blighted by injury and mystery disappearances) at Barcelona. Manchester City, who were reported to be offering up to £200,000 per week for ‘Gaucho’, appear to have dodged a costly bullet by failing to secure his signature.