Can Ronaldinho Force His Way Back into Brazil's World Cup Team?
When Ronaldinho was left out of Brazil's Confederations Cup squad by coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, it raised the question of whether his time with the national team might have come to an end.
The 33-year-old Selecao legend faces an uphill battle to play in the 2014 World Cup on home soil, though according to Scolari, as reported by Chris Kvesa on Goal.com, Ronaldinho should not give up hope.
Scolari told Italpress:
We will keep an eye on every Brazilian player, in Europe and in Brazil, to ensure the best players will be included in the national team in 2014.
All will be well received when observed and we will make the squad for the World Cup, the door is open to everyone.
I already have a good group but I can not promise that any of them will be at the World Cup, I will do my analysis and we are open to every great player.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement of Ronaldinho, but it is an indication that all hope is not lost.
From the player's perspective, all he can do is perform consistently at a high standard, which is exactly what he has been doing for Atletico Mineiro since moving to the club in June of 2012.
The former FIFA World Player of the Year led Mineiro to their first ever Copa Libertadores final, where they will face Paraguay's Club Olimpia in the first leg on Wednesday, with several standout displays.
Video: Ronaldinho's brilliant pass and decisive penalty sends Atletico Mineiro through to the Libertadores final http://t.co/WsbzoVmTd7— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) July 11, 2013
His game-breaking qualities have also been apparent at a domestic level, where his team claimed the Campeonato Mineiro, and he asserted his influence in the Brasileirao, as this statistic from WhoScored.com shows:
Ronaldinho: Has played the most key passes per game (3.7) in the Brasileirão this season. See more detailed stats via http://t.co/ME8nCWQel0— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) June 14, 2013
Recent comments from Brazilan FA president Jose Maria Marin, however, suggest that Ronaldinho will not be adding to his 97 national team caps due to perceived attitude problems.
Sportsmole.co.uk reported on Marin's quotes in O Globo:
Ramires and Ronaldinho have acted in a shameful way towards us, there's no way we call that kind of players again...
...Ronaldinho? We organised a dinner for the team and it was in his city, yet he arrived late.
Unacceptable. Dinner was in Ronaldinho's city so it's like we were the guests. Can you imagine the guests arriving before the host?
It would be a monumental shame if the 2002 World Cup winner's international career was curtailed due to his poor dinner hosting skills, but perhaps Marin is referring to underlying issues.
Certainly, Ronaldinho has not been at his best the last few times he has been given opportunities to impress with the Selecao.
It is also unclear as to how the former Milan and Barcelona star would squeeze into the Brazilian starting 11 without affecting the balance of the side.
Scolari's side claimed the Confederations Cup in June thanks in no small part to players across the whole field working hard to carry out multiple tasks.
Neymar offers the X-factor that Ronaldinho once provided, but elsewhere, every other man in canary yellow (or blue) is asked to chip in with high energy levels in both attack and defense; something that has never been Ronaldinho's forte.
From multi-functional midfielders Luiz Gustavo, Paulinho and Oscar to hard-working forwards Fred and Hulk, everyone from midfield to attack, with the exception of Neymar, is expected to pressurize the opposition when they have the ball and retreat to make themselves available for a pass when Brazil has the ball.
Ronaldinho was never the most enthusiastic defender when he was at his peak, and now in the twilight of his career his legs would probably not permit him to carry out the sort of hard running required to make this Brazilian side function.
Should Scolari include Ronaldinho in his squad for the 2014 World Cup?
If Scolari's men had stumbled at the Confederations Cup, the argument for Ronaldinho to be included in the World Cup squad as a kind of wildcard would have remained strong.
In the end, though, Brazil swatted aside heavyweights Italy, Uruguay and Spain to romp to the title.
Scolari's template for 2014 has proven to be a highly successful one.
Unfortunately for the Ronaldinho, that likely means he won't get to cap his illustrious international career by participating in the 2014 World Cup in his home country.
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?