Changing China

Giant on the move

A Ronaldinho revival? Don’t speak too soon

August 11, 2008

Ronaldinho scoresRonaldinho’s two-goal performance against New Zealand in Sunday’s Olympic Games has already been hailed as some sort of revival after his miserable last season with Barcelona.

The former World Player of the Year showed flashes of his best form in the 5-0 win with plenty of cheeky flicks, shimmies and stepovers. And, of course, he grinned.

“This was a reward for everything which I have done and for all the people who believed in me and helped me to start playing again,” he told Brazilian media.

But the performance needs to be put into context.

The Olympic soccer tournament is an under-23 competition and Ronaldinho is competing as one of the three permitted overage players per team.

Brazil’s opponents qualified from a group in which Fiji were their strongest opponents. They have only three professionals in their 18-man squad. Most of the other players are university students who play football for fun.

Ronaldinho has just signed for AC Milan. He will play in arguably the world’s most unforgiving league and is going to have to fight hard just to get into the team every week.

There are some much tougher battles ahead and it remains to be seen whether he has the motivation to return to his best.

Any talk of a Ronaldinho revival is way too premature, isn’t it?


ronaldinho has been a shadow of himself every since the world cup. flashes of brilliance have always happened with him whether it be the bicycle kick against villareal or his under the wall free kick against liverpool. one of ronaldinho’s biggest criticisms at psg was that he performed well against poor teams and crept in the shadows during important ones. the good thing about the olympics is basic he needs to find his passion again, his form, and take small steps at a time…revival starts at the bottom and works its way to the top. this was just a spark now its time to see whether or not he can be consistant, improve, motivate, and perform well against better more skilled opponents. it will be interesting but he is a professional he is more than capable of doing so.

Posted by socd4 | Report as abusive

I agree it’s too early to say, but I wouldn’t put it past him coming back. Remember, the change of scene from Paris to Barcelona did him the world of good. Let’s see if the same thing happens.

Posted by Kevin Fylan | Report as abusive

Yes, it is permature to talk about a Ronaldinho come back, but he is on his way. He is developping a good understanding with his milan team mate Pato,getting his rythm back and getting fit again. He is on the way to become one of the best players in the World again because he has something to prove after being write off by pondits. Viva Ronaldinho!!!


Milan supporters here in Italy are very excited that Ronnie and Pato seem to be linking up well. Throw Kaka into the mix (assuming he stays!) and it’s a mouthwatering Brazil and Rossoneri front line.
I guess Pato will be a bit away from the full Brazil side but he is likely to be Milan’s main frontman this season with injured Ronaldo highly unlikely to get a new contract, Inzaghi turning 35 and other options limited.

Posted by Mark Meadows | Report as abusive

In my mind Ronaldinho is still a great presence on the field. I would even go as far as saying he is still in the top 5 players in the world. There is no doubt in my mind that he will make a comeback.


Good call. 5-0 over NZ? Brazil’s 4 “strikers” (Jo, Pato, Sobis and ‘Dinho) are worth a combined 85 million Euros(ish). NZ’s back line? Not quite that much….

Posted by star_bury | Report as abusive

i think he has all the skills he has always had, like his ball control, accuracy, and vision which made him a star, but the pressure of his stardom and feeling everyone was expecting so much from him made him nervous…you could tell when he got the ball at barca that he felt pressure to do something amazing and he cracked under the pressure…i think now that so many people think he’s past his prime the pressure is off, and now he seems more relaxed when he gets the ball which is good. i think if he gets back into top shape he will be a big star again this season at milan

Posted by tom | Report as abusive

Ronaldinho is one of the greatest players of all-time. He is certainly the best in the world at present and will prove it in the next few months.

Posted by Brian Quinn | Report as abusive

Yes Brian – exceedingly premature. Anyone who has played the game at a high level knows what a great difference there is from one level to the next. To go from DJing at Barcelona night spots and playing against university students to competing in – I agree – the most unforgiving (and most beautiful?) league in the world – is a big ask. I say that the Ronaldinho Rehab Project will take a year plus. In my opinion – for what it’s worth – going to Beijing was a step in the wrong direction for Ronaldinho and a big indicator that his rehab hasn’t really begun. The former Best Player in the World is in avoidance mode – and he may crack yet – since Milan is a battered old ship that is perhaps erroneously banking on him to steer them through to the Champions League.


I agree it is too early to say he is back to his outstanding days. His performance in the last world cup was poor, and it was obvious that FC Barcelona knows that the spark in his game has been dimming lately… I can’t deny the fact that New Zealand, and Fiji are not a big factor in the world of soccer, and it would be embarrassing if Brazil would have lost against them. But maybe a bust of confidence is what he needed? Maybe the partnership between Ronaldinho and Caca in the center will bring the best in him. If he doesn’t do good in AC Milan than retirement is the best way too go.

Posted by lesly sosa | Report as abusive

Ronaldinho is a great player. He has demonstrated that fact in the present olympics. He still has that great stuff that once stood him out as number 1. And it doesn’t matter that he has only done well when the quality of opposition was low. He had some problems in the past because the pressure on him was quite high. At least this is a take-off point. So much was expected of him, but he couldn’t (just like any tool, any machine that can go faulty) perform up to expectations. Well things are going on according to the popular adage: to whom much is given, much is expected. If
players like Zidane and Ronaldo(Brazil) can come back from relative oblivion to claim the ‘world player of the year’ award, then why rule out Dinho?

Posted by anthony akinyosoye | Report as abusive

It is true that Ronaldinho was outrageous for the premiership last season in Barcelona. So now he’s back in business.

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive

He’s a good player with techniques and skills so his good in playing.

Posted by mackanrow | Report as abusive

i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ronaldinioooooooooooooooo


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