Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Ronaldinho hot again

World's former best player improving; Turkish side wants him

  • Print
Atletico Mineiro's Ronaldinho plays in the Copa Libertadores final last month in Asuncion, Paraguay.  Atletico won it.

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge Image

Atletico Mineiro's Ronaldinho plays in the Copa Libertadores final last month in Asuncion, Paraguay. Atletico won it.

Remember Ronaldinho?

It was 10 years ago last week that the Brazilian playmaker, who helped get his country a record fifth World Cup the previous summer, made his debut for Barcelona in a friendly match against AC Milan.

He scored once and added an assist as his new side beat the Rossoneri 2-0 in front of more than 45,000 people at Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium -- a performance that would set the tone for one of the most memorable individual eras in football history.

Over the next five seasons, Barcelona would win a pair of Primera Division titles and a Champions League crown, and Ronaldinho -- the consensus best player in the world -- would be recognized as such by FIFA in both 2004 and 2005.

But a poor 2006 World Cup and a quickly deteriorating standard of play (many observers blamed his demise on a fondness for nightlife) saw the attacker shipped to Milan in 2008, and after failing to catch on at the San Siro, he moved back to Brazil in 2011, joining Rio de Janeiro giants Flamengo.

These days, Ronaldinho represents Atletico Mineiro, and 10 days ago the Belo Horizonte-based club won the Copa Libertadores in dramatic fashion, beating Paraguay's Olimpico on penalties following a 2-2 aggregate draw.

While not the dominant player he was in his prime, the now 33-year-old still managed to put in a decent series of performances as O Galo won the top prize in South American football, and with the 2014 World Cup just over 10 months away, he could suddenly find himself back in manager Luiz Felipe Scolari's national setup if his modest renaissance continues.

It seems his recent play has also caught the attention of Istanbul side Besiktas.

Having come third in the Turkish Super Lig last season, Besiktas manager Slaven Bilic revealed Friday that his side was pursuing Ronaldinho -- statements club president Ahmet Nur Cebi echoed when he confirmed he had submitted a formal offer to Atletico Mineiro.

Atletico may opt to hold onto the player, especially as they look to improve on last term's second-place finish in the Campeonato Brasileiro. And with his football having so noticeably improved following his Flamengo exit, it's conceivable Ronaldinho would not want to mess with a good thing.

In any event, it would seem he is not washed up just yet, that there might a few more steps of magic from those famous feet before the boots are hung up for good.

Spot kicks

-- Two performances that caught my eye this week: Isco's masterful showing for Real Madrid against Los Angeles Galaxy in Thursday's friendly in Glendale, Ariz., and Alexis Sanchez's performance for Barcelona against Santos on Friday. Sanchez, in particular, was in need of a good presentation, as new acquisition Neymar will surely have designs on his starting spot.

-- Spanish daily Marca is so certain of Gareth Bale's arrival at Real Madrid they've started using phrases such as "presuming the Gareth Bale saga does eventually end with the Welshman pitching up at the Bernabeu." A recent article claimed he would be like "five signings rolled into one," given his versatility across the attack and as a left-back.

-- A thought regarding Arsenal's relentless pursuit of Luis Suarez: Why is manager Arsene Wenger, who has been loath to spend money in the past, suddenly so willing to break the mold for a forward currently suspended for biting an opponent with a history of racial abuse? Suarez is a curious player for the Frenchman to suddenly abandon his principles for.

jerradpeters@gmail.com Twitter @JerradPeters

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 3, 2013 C6

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Winnipeg Jet goalie Michael Hutchinson

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young goose   reaches for long strands of grass Friday night near McGillvary Blvd-See Bryksa 30 Day goose challenge- Day 19 - May 23, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • The sun peers through the fog to illuminate a tree covered in hoar frost near Headingley, Manitoba Thursday- Standup photo- February 02, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Do you plan on attending any of the CMHR opening weekend events? (select all that apply)

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google