Published on February 6, 2013 | by Nathan Evans0
Rejuvenated Ronaldinho back at Wembley for Brazil
In January 2011 many people in the footballing world witnessed what they believed to be the end of a brilliant career.
But it seems they were a little premature in their judgement.
Ronaldinho left AC Milan for Flamengo after two and half years. During that time Milan many believed they were watching a player who was a shadow of his former self. But the move to his homeland has seen the re-birth of the once best player in the world.
His revival was taken seriously by the footballing world after he scored three times in a 5-4 victory over Santos in July 2011.
His hat-trick included the winning goal and his performance outshone that of Neymar, who many believed would dominate the game. By the end of the season the agile Brazilian had managed to squeeze in 21 goals and eight assists.
2011 saw the return of Ronaldinho to the national side. The number ten seemed out of sorts however in a team that consisted of Neymar, Leandro Damiao and Marcelo.
His speed seemed out of place amongst his teammates and even though he managed to do some of the stuff he used to it appeared as if he couldn’t keep up with the younger, faster athletes. Off-field partying and eventually a big wage dispute saw Ronaldinho cancel his contract in May 2012 with Flamengo.
The story didn’t ended there as he then sued his former club after they didn’t pay him for the four months leading up to the cancellation of his contract.
That was it, surely no more comebacks from the Brazilian? Well the public only had to wait days for this answer, as Atletico Mineiro didn’t hesitate to offer him a contract.
This move saw the rejuvenation of the once great Brazilian as he finally had his consistency back. Reproducing the form that he had whilst at Barcelona, Ronaldinho ended his first season with 9 goals and 12 assists. These performances helped his club reach second in the Brazilian Serie A; this meant automatic qualification for the Copa Libertadores for the first time since 2000.
It wasn’t just about the team’s achievements as a whole as Ronaldinho was rewarded for his brilliant performances. At the end of the season Ronaldinho was awarded the Bola de Ouro, ahead of the wunderkind Neymar. All of his recent success resulted in Atletico Mineiro renewing his contract for another year.
The 32-year-old’s comeback continues tonight (Wednesday February 6) as his Brazilian National squad face England at Wembley in an international friendly.
While pride in playing club football as opposed to for your country continues to grow in Europe, in Brazil representing your country is still the ultimate honour. Many Brazilians prefer to spend their careers in their home country instead of going abroad.
Ronaldinho it seems is starting to embrace the Brazilian way once again opting to resign with his Brazilian club and represent his country once again. Another example is Neymar. He is held in the highest regard around the world, yet has openly stated he wants to continue in his home country with Santos until after the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Remarkable loyalty from a man who is one of the most sought after players right now
A rejuvenated Ronaldinho is dangerous. A Ronaldinho once again embracing the samba way of football is even more so.