World Football

Ronaldinho Signs Contract Extension with Atletico Mineiro

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - AUGUST 22:  Ronaldinho Gaucho of Atletico MG during a match between Botafogo and Atletico MG as part of Brazilian Cup 2013 at Maracana Stadium on August 22, 2013 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images)
Buda Mendes/Getty Images
Tim DanielsFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

Two-time FIFA World Player of the Year Ronaldinho has reached an agreement to remain with Atletico Mineiro after winning a Copa Libertadores title in 2013.   

Mark Doyle of Goal.com passed along word of the agreement:

Atletico Mineiro president Alexandre Kalil has announced that Ronaldinho has signed a new contract with the club.

The Brazil international had been heavily linked with a move to Turkish outfit Besiktas but has now decided to commit his future to his current club.

"The fans are annoying but the man loves them," Kalil wrote on Twitter. "He has signed a new contract!"

The news was confirmed by the Associated Press via FOX Sports on Friday:

Brazilian club Atletico Mineiro says two-time FIFA player of the year Ronaldinho has signed a one-year contract extension.

Negotiations had been underway since Atletico played in FIFA's Club World Cup in December. Ronaldinho said at the time he wasn't sure whether he would remain with the club in 2014.

Ronaldinho previously starred with Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and AC Milan. His recent run of form during a successful stint in South America is viewed as an effort to earn a place on Brazil's World Cup squad next summer.

The 33-year-old attacking midfielder faded out of the international spotlight after emerging as a key piece for Brazil in the middle of the last decade. He has only made sporadic appearances for the Selecao in recent years as the new wave of young talent moved in.

His name returned to the forefront with Brazil getting set to host the marquee international event thanks to a vintage run of form with the Galo. He scored 17 goals in 36 matches across all competitions last season while also reaching a double-digit assist total.

Unsurprisingly, the battle for roster spots for a talent-laden nation like Brazil is fierce. So Ronaldinho will remain in Brazil with hopes of showing Brazilian manager Luiz Felipe Scolari he can still be an asset on the sport's biggest stage.

It should work out for both player and club. Ronaldinho gets a chance to show he still has some highlight-reel ability left and the Brazilian side gets an extremely motivated star who should be able to help it move up the table in the second half of the season.

Whether a strong stint with Mineiro would be enough to earn him a berth on the Brazil squad is unclear. That said, his 33 international goals and experience in big-match situations could become a valuable asset next summer if he's healthy and in top form.

All told, this gives Ronaldinho a chance to make his World Cup case and it will certainly be interesting to see how it plays out.   

 

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