5 Biggest Reasons Ronaldinho Should Be a Part of Brazil's 2014 World Cup Squad
With less than two years separating us from the 2014 World Cup, only one nation has booked its place in the tournament: the hosts and five-time champions, Brazil.
Outside of the obvious favorite, defending-champions Spain, Brazil has to be one of the more fancied sides. They have a young and talented group of budding superstars, and given their history and home-field advantage, they are a bit more than a dark-horse candidate.
The likes of Neymar, Oscar and other potential greats have their spots in Brazil's squad all but guaranteed. However, there are still many spots up for grabs.
This leads to an interesting question: Should Ronaldinho be in Brazil's squad at the 2014 World Cup?
Here are five reasons the former Ballon d'Or winner should make it to Rio.
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Amongst players who have been called up to Brazil over the past year, the average age is 24.35 years old.
In many respects, this is a favorable number. It means that they have a lot of youngsters who will provide a cutting edge for the squad and will be reaching their primes come 2014.
However, the number also points out a problem with the squad: a distinct lack of experience.
If you need an indication of how much experience matters in a football tournament, just look at the 2012 Olympic final. In the match between Brazil and Mexico, the only scorers were the only forwards over 23-years-old: 28-year-old Oribe Peralta and 26-year-old Hulk.
With the 32-year-old Ronaldinho comes a unique experience, as he helped Brazil win the World Cup trophy in 2002.
Return to Form
Back in 2010, Ronaldinho was—quite understandably—left off of the World Cup squad after struggling for form at AC Milan.
However, he has since found his way in his home country. Playing with Flamengo, he scored a goal just under once every other match and even found his way onto the Brazil squad for friendlies.
Now, he has not yet found his way at new club Atletico Mineiro, but Ronaldinho is clearly in a better place than he was four years ago.
Won't Need to Be Most Important Player
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Back in the 2006 World Cup, Ronaldinho had the most pressure of any player in the tournament.
He was the reigning Ballon d'Or winner and two-time FIFA World Player of the Year playing for the defending champions who were well positioned to win the tournament.
How did he respond? By failing to score a goal and hardly showing up for their quarterfinal loss to France.
If Ronaldinho were to get a spot in the 2014 Brazil squad, he would not play nearly as important of a role, as others would be more valuable to the team. In fact, he probably wouldn't crack the starting XI.
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Picture this: Brazil is under-performing in a match, with Neymar either tiring or playing a bit below par. Brazil turns to the bench and looks for someone to provide that spark.
Who would be a more intimidating option than Ronaldinho? I mean, opposing defenders suddenly have a former world's best player and World Cup champion sprinting at them.
Who cares if his skills are slightly diminished? This game of ours is more than half mental, anyway.
I think this would have a positive impact more times than not.
History and Redemption
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Between 2002 and 2006, Ronaldinho was the toast of Brazil, winning the World Cup, winning player-of-the-year trophies and having statues erected of his likeness.
After his poor showing in the 2006 World Cup, though, that positive outlook quickly changed. His statues were vandalized, his reputation tarnished forever.
In 2010, Ronaldinho didn't even make it into the final 23-man squad, a huge blow to his legacy.
However, Brazil have had a history of including players past their prime in their final chance to pursue a World Cup. For evidence, just look at Ronaldo's inclusion in the 2006 World Cup.
In what is surely the final opportunity for Ronaldinho before his window closes, Brazil could honor their past by featuring an integral part of it in front of their home fans.
For Ronaldinho, being able to make an appearance, even if just off the bench at the end of a meaningless match, would spell redemption.
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