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AC Milan are flying high at the top of Serie A but Ronaldinho is stuck to the bench with Massimiliano Allegri-branded glue.
The struggling Brazilian has started once in the last nine games and that was in the lacklustre 2-0 home defeat by Ajax Amsterdam, Milan’s only loss during the spell.
Most soccer fans outside Italy have probably never heard of Milan boss Allegri, plucked out of relative obscurity at Cagliari, but he has certainly made a name for himself in Serie A by deciding his side would be better off without carrying a player who may be Silvio Berlusconi’s favourite but whose powers have long since faded.
It is now a case Ronaldinhoinhoinho such is the forward’s diminutive status in Milan’s grand plan.
Barcelona’s Thierry Henry is heading to New York Red Bulls in a widely expected move but don’t think the first big post-World Cup transfer means the window will suddenly be awash with deals.
An event before the World Cup is a major reason why Henry has decided to follow David Beckham’s lead and try out MLS. David Villa’s early move to Barca from Valencia meant there was no room for Henry at the Nou Camp and after France’s flop in South Africa there were few other interested parties.
When everyone thought Adriano had definitively left his off-field problems behind and was on the way to becoming once again one of the most feared strikers in the world, writes Pedro Fonseca, the Brazil international is showing that his personal fragility still haunts him.
The 28-year-old striker, who at the height of his powers helped Brazil win the 2004 Copa America and 2005 Confederations Cup as best player and top scorer of both competitions, returned to training with Flamengo on Monday for the first time since playing for Brazil in a World Cup warm-up against Ireland in London a week ago.
Ronaldinho has been left out of Brazil’s squad for next month’s friendly with Ireland, making it highly unlikely he will make Dunga’s list of 23 for June’s World Cup.
It’s quite a come down for the former world player of the year but he has been having a much better season at AC Milan following three years of problems.
Ronaldinho is enjoying his best form in four years but he is still some way off the awesome performances he managed in the middle of the last decade (Noughties? ).
Sunday’s hat-trick in AC Milan’s 4-0 win over Siena featured a penalty and a close range header, but the third goal where he sent a perfect shot into the top corner from distance was a reminder of the Brazilian at his Barcelona best.
The Italian premier, who has again denied he is considering selling a stake in the club, thinks Ronaldinho can be Milan’s “Usain Bolt” and fill the gap left by his Brazilian compatriot Kaka if he is used as a second striker rather than an playmaker.
“Ronaldo and Messi could miss the World Cup!” screamed the headlines after Portugal drew 1-1 in Denmark and Argentina were humiliated 3-1 at home to Brazil.
It sounds awful, doesn’t it? How will we ever manage without Cristiano and Leo, two of the poster boys for the elite, Masters of the Universe level of footballer we’ve come to know and love?
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.
The above question came up in Mark’s blog about Del Piero (see below) and it stuck in my mind after my colleague Andre Assier interviewed Juninho this week.
Here’s an extract from Andre’s piece, which you can read in full here:
Believe it of not but the mighty AC Milan are clear at the top of Serie A for the first time since May 2004, when they last won the scudetto.
For a team which won the European Cup in 2007, that is an awful long time to go without leading the table on your own, not even for a week in September.