Ronaldinho saga threatens to bring a sad end to a once great player
Published: 18.06.12 / Written by: David Gold
A once great player's career is threatening to go out in a blaze of destructive glory.
Ronaldinho, once the world’s best player, left Flamengo last year after a dispute over his contract. Ronaldinho was once enthrall to the world, his skill on show as he destroyed the Real Madrid defence in a 3-0 win at the Bernabeu and led the Catalans to the Champions League title.
He had not been paid by his club, who had been left with a bill they could not pay after a marketing partner failed to cough up what they thought they would to fund the Brazilian star’s salary. As a result Flamengo were left with a player who was angling for a move. Particularly given the travails Ronaldinho has endured this year. Or Flamengo have, depending on your perspective.
Ronaldinho has endured a troubled time since signing for the Rio giants, Brazil’s most popular club, in January 2011. Flamengo crashed out of the Copa Libertadores in the group stage, a surprisingly early exit and the club seemed in crisis. Wanderlei Luxemburgo was soon fired after a row with Ronaldinho.
But the former Barcelona and AC Milan star was the one the fans pointed their ire at. In a letter, the club’s supporters group criticised his attitude, with the player suspected to have spent his time out partying and not concentrating on his football. He has also missed a number of training sessions according to reports.
"No one is bigger than Flamengo. No player is or will be bigger than this club. This also applies to who today is considered the biggest star of the current squad, Ronaldinho,” the letter read.
"We are not here to question the club's policy, but we are dissatisfied with the signing of Ronaldinho - a player who is not respecting the club and is not dedicated to the team as he should be.
"We want players who understand the value of this shirt, regardless of what they have done in the past. We will not tolerate those who do not know the meaning of professionalism. We want a dedicated team, not an individual who does not take the tradition of the club seriously. We are respectful and we will fight on, no matter how much it hurts."
They no longer have to worry about his performances on the pitch. But off it the club continues its struggle with the player, who is now suing them for not paying his wages. In addition, Ronaldinho has joined rivals Atletico Mineiro, which could prompt anger in Rio. But Atletico did not have much competition as many teams did not have an interest anymore in the former star turned mischief maker. It is a sad episode in a career which is coming towards its end.
Ronaldinho could have gone to the Olympics this summer but seems to have missed that chance too. Unprofessionalism appears to have cost him. But without any seeming club goals left to aim for, Ronaldinho appears disinterested from the outside. It is a sad, sad end to a career that once sparkled so brightly, yet seems set to finish with a whimper and in disgrace.