Monday, October 25, 2010

Ronaldinho back in the mix with the Seleção?

When the final rosters were announced for the 2010 World Cup squads, one name what was ominous by its absence was that of Brazilian super star Ronaldinho. After being frozen out by then manager Dunga it seemed Ronny's time on the international stage was over. At 30 and struggling for a glint of the form that made him the best player in the world at one point, the questions surrounding him were more about his suspected party life then about his football.

Welcome back

Coming into the new Serie A season there were a lot of questions as to how Ronaldinho would handle the national team rejection and if he could maintain the good form he showed near the end of last season with Milan. The answer to both after 8 rounds is .......very well. By no means is he back to the 2003-2007 form which saw him become the most electrifying player in the world (and I had ever seen) but there are flashes of the pace and ball skills that in any other situation than Dunga being manager would make him a automatic selection for a national team.

Though his goal output is lower than his amazing stint at Barcelona, he is starting to mesh with midfield partners Andrea Pirlo and the ageless Clarence Seedorf at A.C Milan and is a major reason to Milan's excellent start to their season. The club currently sit second in the league are looking good to make the second round of the Champions league. Ronaldinho's contribution has not just been noticed in Italy, but also by new Brazil manager Mano Menezes who is looking to return Brazil to is free flowing attacking football. Menezes said in a press conference last Tuesday that he was excited to bring Gaúcho back to the Brazil fold.

"I think I will call Ronaldinho. I have seen him play well and he is adapting to his new role," the coach told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

Although it is doubtful that he'll be in the Seleção fold by 2014 for their home World Cup, he could still make an impact in the next Copa America in 2011 to help Brazil retain it's South American title. More than anything it will be an opportunity for Ronny to prove one more time that he is deserving to be mentioned in the discussion of greatest footballer of all time. Currently I would say that he's still a ways off from being in that level of player but I do not believe he's not that far off the list.

The question for fans of the Brazilian machine, the question will be where does he play? He now started to play in a more withdrawn and deeper role at Milan, and is no longer the up front dynamo he was, though like I mentioned earlier he still has flashes of it. I would imagine Menezes would prefer to have him supporting the attacking the mid or be the attacking mid in a short substitute role. Either way it was clear in the World Cup this squad still needs a player like Ronaldinho even if it`s off the bench for 20-25 minutes.

The question now is can he re-discover that made him the best player in the world, or will he squander the chance yet again?


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