Ronaldinho 'Disappearance' Mystery After Star Misses Deco Testimonial

Mark Patterson@@MarkPattersonBRUK Staff WriterJuly 26, 2014

European champion FC Barcelona Ronaldinho of Brazil, right, is congratulated by his teammate Deco of Portugal after he scored the Spanish team's third goal against their  North and Central American counterpart Club America of Mexico during the semi-final of Club World Cup soccer in Yokohama, near Tokyo, Thursday, Dec. 14, 2006. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)
DAVID GUTTENFELDER/Associated Press

Atletico Mineiro are awaiting an explanation after Ronaldinho failed to show up for Deco's testimonial, having sought permission to participate in the match in Portugal.

Porto's 2004 vintage hosted a Barcelona class of 2006 XI in celebration of Deco's career.

Ronaldinho paid tribute to Deco on Twitter, describing him as one of the most fantastic players he had played with during his career:

Um dos mais fantasticos jogadores com quem joguei e fui campeao! Parabens pela sua carreira vitoriosa, voce merece!!! pic.twitter.com/fwZJkcM0AI

— Ronaldinho Gaucho (@10Ronaldinho) July 25, 2014

But Atletico-MG director of football Eduardo Maluf is quoted as saying that he had no idea why Ronaldinho, who was slated to feature, was not at the game.

Maluf, as reported by Lancenet (Portuguese, translated by SambaFoot):

Here at Atletico we don’t call players. They know the commitment that they have to the club. Our position is firm and we will give Ronaldinho an opportunity to explain. He could call me now, or Assis could call me now to justify the situation or he could be punished.

I will give him the right to explain. On Tuesday we will talk about it here. We don’t cover up for any player.

SambaFoot adds that Ronaldinho had been given permission to miss a game for his club—Friday's clash with Sport Recife—to attend, but had missed his flight and his whereabouts were unclear.

The testimonial ended 4-4, with Deco scoring an imperious goal at the death to level the scores for Porto, with contributions from the likes of Lionel Messi and Samuel Eto'o lighting up the evening.

[SambaFoot, Business Standard]