Is Ronaldinho more trouble than he’s worth?
Ronaldinho has returned to form since joining AC Milan from Barcelona, producing some nice assists and seven goals in Serie A.
According to Kaka though, the close-season arrival of his Brazil team mate has also mucked up the tactical balance of the seven-times European champions.
“Ronnie has settled in very well and he’s giving us a big hand but before we were used to playing with automatic moves consolidated over the years,” the playmaker said last week.
“Me and Clarence (Seedorf) behind a forward, usually (Filippo) Inzaghi. With Ronaldinho the team has had to change set-up and we have to get used to having the same automatic moves with him. We play together in the national team but it’s not the same. It’s a question of understanding, which is lacking a little.”
So Kaka is having to play in a deeper position and track back more with Ronaldinho in the side, which may be the reason he has been less impressive than usual in attack this season.
He said he is willing to “sacrifice himself” for the team in this way and that he and Ronaldinho are compatible, but not without adding that he prefers to play further forward and feels more useful there.
He seemed to prove the point when, with Ronaldinho injured, he gave a man-of-the-match performance in his old position in Sunday’s 1-0 home victory over Catania, scoring the goal that ended a four-match winless run.
Seedorf had already said Ronaldinho was not the sort of player Milan needed before his transfer from Barca.
What’s the point of bringing in a former FIFA World Player of the Year if it just makes the one you have already less effective?
Next month, Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti will also have to find a way to fit in David Beckham, another offensive player, although he is confident this will not muddle things more.
“It (Beckham’s arrival) won’t upset anything at the tactical level. He’s a midfielder and so there won’t be a problem of coexistence with Kaka and Ronaldinho,” he said.
Kaka may have a point, but it also has to be said that the “automatic moves” he mentioned did not cover Milan in glory last season, when they were knocked out of the Champions League by Arsenal in the last 16 and finished fifth in Serie A.
With Ronaldinho now in town, how long is Kaka willing to resist the lure of the Premier League to continue ‘sacrificing himself’ at Milan?
PHOTO: AC Milan’s Ronaldinho (R) celebrates with his team mate Kaka after scoring against Inter Milan during their Serie A match, Sept. 28, 2008. REUTERS/Tony Gentile