Ronaldinho – Is this the end of a glittering career?

BY: Steve Mitchell

Early years at PSG

Having been discovered playing in the youth ranks at Grêmio, Ronaldinho was transferred to PSG for €5.1 million back in the summer of 2001. He immediately started to grab the attention of numerous clubs around Europe and it only seemed a matter of time before he made his big move.

The Barcelona Years

That big move came in the summer of 2003 when he was sold to Barcelona for €32.3 million. It was the start of a wonderful five year association with the club where he picked up two Spanish league titles, two Spanish Super-Cup’s and one Champions League crown. His outstanding form won him the FIFA World player of the year award two years in succession 2004 and 2005. He was the best player in the world and Barcelona were anxious to keep him in Catalunya. They offered him a lucrative extension to his contract which would have kept him at the club until 2014 but the player rejected it as his relationship with Dutch coach Frank Rijkaard started to deteriorate.

World Cup Winner

He was part of the Brazil team that were crowned World champions in Japan/South Korea in 2002. In 2005 he won the Confederations Cup in Germany but the following year at the World Cup finals in the same country his team failed to live up to their pre-tournament expectations and were eliminated by France in the quarter-finals.

Milan bound

AC Milan President Silvio Berlusconi was looking for a star name and there was none bigger than the Brazilian superstar. He paid €25 million to prize him away from Barcelona in July 2008. The expectancy amongst the fans at the Stadio San Siro heaped huge pressure on their new acquisition and a mixture of serious injury and a loss of form meant that they only saw the real Ronaldinho at sporadic intervals. In January 2011 he was gone, sold to Flamengo for just €3 million.

Back in Brazil

20,000 fans welcomed Ronaldinho to his new club, after all he was still a world superstar. Apart from a couple of regional state championships, his time at the club was not a happy one and at the end of his first full season in May 2012 he went absent soFlamengo withheld his salary. He promptly sued the club for lost earnings and cancelled his contract. Just a month later he was back in action, this time for Atlético Mineiro were he signed a six month contract. He led the club to second place in the Brazilian championship which ensured they qualified for the following season’s Copa Libertadores which they went on to win. Despite missing a huge chunk of the second half of the season, Ronaldinho was voted South American footballer of the year in 2013.

Heading down Mexico way

In the summer of 2014 he switched to the Liga MX in Mexico signing a two-year deal with Querétaro FC. He helped the team to runners-up spot at the end of the season but last week cancelled his current contract with one year still left on it to heighten speculation that retirement may be imminent.    ]]>