Ronaldinho: Better than Pele or wasted talent?

Number 10

Ronaldinho has hit back at recent claims that he failed to fulfil his career potential by pointing to his achievements at club level.

Despite the favourable standing he enjoys with the majority of football fans around the world, the Brazilian fantasista had been accused of wasting his immense talent and allowing his playing time to peter out, instead of remaining at the top for longer.

However, whilst speaking to Marca, Barcelona’s former number 10 responded:

I started at Gremio and won titles, the same at PSG and at Barca I won everything.

I went to Queretaro and for the first time in their history they reached a final.

At Flamengo we went seven months without losing a game, then Atletico Mineiro won their first Libertadores Cup during my time at the club.

I think I’ve been very competitive.

A former teammate of Ronaldinho’s at PSG, Jerome Leroy, admitted that he found the Brazilian playmaker’s lack of commitment to training disrespectful, both to himself and the rest of the squad at that time, and suggested that coach Luis Fernandez felt the same way, stating:

There were some players who were not ‘training players’, Ronaldinho for example, who didn’t train all week then came in on a Friday to play on Saturday.

But this cannot last forever, as we have seen, his career was not very long and he was lucky to leave Barcelona just before Lionel Messi exploded onto the scene.

The coach [Luis Fernandez] was irritated by Ronaldinho’s attitude, it did not only disrespect the coach but also the players. He was very young at the time and I believe Fernandez left him on the bench to mature.

Former France striker Christophe Dugarry compounded comments, telling SFR Sport:

Ronaldinho did not have the career we thought he’d have. With the talent he had, he could have done more, but if you do not train you cannot be efficient in games.

playmaker trick

At the other end of the scale however is Kevin-Prince Boateng. A former team-mate whilst at AC Milan, Boateng was left in awe of the Brazilian magician’s talent during their time in Italy, telling Fox Sports:

At Milan he was no longer the Ronaldinho from his heyday, but when he wanted to, he showed what he could do with the ball and it was so impressive.

In those moments you realised he was the best player in the world, beyond Zidane, Pele, or Maradona.

When he wasn’t out the night before and had rested well, he came to training and told the players who he’d nutmeg that day, and he always did it.

He could hit the crossbar however many times he wanted and juggled the ball like you couldn’t imagine, it was impossible to find a player with such talent.

Presently, the 36 year old out of contract Ronaldinho has accepted an offer to re-join Barcelona in the role of Club Ambassador, to help the Catalan’s develop and penetrate in new markets around the world.

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