Should Barcelona sell Ronaldinho?
Last season he was accused of being overweight and out of shape, this season critics say he has lost his appetite for game. Is it just a temporary blip in a glittering career or is it time for Barcelona to offload three times World Player of the Year Ronaldinho?
Feted as the most talented and exciting player in the world when he signed for Barcelona in 2003, Ronaldinho single-handedly restored the morale at the Catalan club and then inspired them to consecutive league titles and a second European Cup.
But the honeymoon period ended as the trophies dried up last season and judging by the chorus of boos and whistles he was subjected to last time he played at home a significant section of Barcelona fans no longer believe Ronaldinho is indispensable.
Lionel Messi has succeeded the Brazilian as the king of the Nou Camp, while the arrival of Thierry Henry and the emergence of two new prodigies, Giovani dos Santos and Bojan Krkic means there is no shortage of successors to the crown.
Former Barcelona coach Johan Cruyff issued a clear warning to Ronaldinho in his weekly column in El Periódico on Monday.
“You don’t survive on what you have been, but on what you are, that’s the law of football and the players know it,” said Cruyff.
Should Barcelona to cash in and sell the 27-year-old to AC Milan, Chelsea or even Liverpool (he’s fantasy signing number one, according to Liverpool Pies)? Or should they stick it out in the hope that he will rediscover the sort of form that once made him the best player in the world?
Photo: Ronaldinho reacts during Barcelona’s 0-0 draw against Racing Santander on the opening day of the season. Victor Fraile / Reuters