The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Free kicks aside, Ronaldinho exits international stage with little claim to Brazil World Cup
MARRAKECH, Morocco - Free kicks aside, Ronaldinho did little to stake his claim for a spot in Brazil's World Cup squad in what may have been his last appearance on the international stage.
The 33-year-old Ronaldinho scored from a superb free kick for the second time at the tournament of continental champions to help rally Atletico Mineiro to a 3-2 win over Guangzhou Evergrande for third place.
But his frustration nearly cost the Brazilian side as he was red-carded for an ugly two-legged stamp on an opponent, moments before Luan scored the winner on the stroke of stoppage time.
Ronaldinho, like his team, looked listless and played with little intensity as the Copa Libertadores champions exited disappointedly to become only the second South American champion to fail to reach the final.
Moroccan club Raja Casablanca upset Atletico 3-1 in the semifinals but ultimately came up short against Bayern Munich in Saturday's final, losing 2-0.
The frustration seemed to boil over in the 88th minute as Ronaldinho poorly reacted to substitute Zhao Xuri's own stamp on him, and he lashed out for the second time in the match after also swiping a Guangzhou defender with his elbows.
Bayern coach Pep Guardiola, who cast Ronaldinho out of Barcelona when taking charge in 2008, had hoped for his club to play the former Barcelona star.
"I saw him in Barcelona like a spectator. But he lost and Raja Casablanca deserved to play this title," Guardiola said. "I would have liked to have played against him because I like to play against the best teams in the world."
Ronaldinho, whose contract is up at Atletico, says he is uncertain if he will renew with the club.
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