Brazilian ace finds himself in trouble

  • Other Sport
  • Sunday, 05 Jan 2003

PARIS: Brazilian world champion Ronaldinho returned to training on Friday almost a week late amid rumours that he could be on his way in the summer.  

Ronaldinho’s excuse was that he wanted to have dental treatment in his homeland. But PSG were not impressed with his argument.  

“Ronaldinho benefits, as do the other players, from regular and quality dental treatment,” a club statement read on Friday afternoon. “At issue is an orthodontic problem known about on his arrival at the club and which constitutes nothing urgent.”  

Although Ronaldinho has been one of the club’s better players in a poor season to date there was no evidence that his teammates wished to speak up for their errant colleague. 

“There’s a colleague who was supposed to return on Dec 28 and only turns up on Jan 2. So it’s normal to ask for an explanation,” one opined on condition of anonymity. 

PSG bought the 22-year-old Brazilian for 6.5 million euros from Gremio Porto Alegre, who had initially asked for 28 million, two seasons ago in a move which FIFA had to arbitrate. 

Although his time at the club has not brought PSG any silverware Ronaldinho has still grown in stature, becoming a regular with Brazil and playing a starring role in their World Cup success in Japan last summer. 

But returning to Paris looks to have blunted his edge. 

And now Ronaldinho could be heading for pastures new if one associate is to be believed. 

“What Ronaldinho is perhaps feeling is that he is not embedded in a structure which favours his game,” said the source close to the Brazilian squad who requested anonymity.  

“Come June 5 (when the French season ends) he will be on his way.”  

According to the source, Brazilians should have a licence to return when they feel like it – within reason – as Christmas and New Year celebrations lie at the heart of their culture. 

“In Brazil we are very attached to the family, fiestas, Christmas, New Year and carnivals. People should allow Brazilian players to return a little late. That would win their hearts and friendship,” he insisted. 

But regardless of when the playmaker returns to the fray, Ronaldinho has struggled to shine in a mediocre PSG side who are currently in mid-table and the knives have been out for weeks for coach Luis Fernandez. 

Earlier on Friday, he indulged in a brief kickabout in the forest at Saint-Germain-en-Laye just west of Paris before heading indoors for some fitness work having arrived from Porto Alegre late Thursday. 

Club skipper Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn on what reception his Brazilian teammate had received. 

“That’s a topic for club officials,” said the Argentine defender. – AFP  

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