Ronaldinho Leaving Milan at the Right Time?

Ryan PopilchakCorrespondent IJuly 14, 2010

MILAN, ITALY - MAY 01:  Ronaldinho of AC Milan looks on during the Serie A match between AC Milan and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza on May 1, 2010 in Milan, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

It’s only been a few short seasons since Ronaldinho’s over-hyped arrival at Milan.  He arrived with a lot of fanfare at a club that needed to sell tickets and jerseys. He was brought in as much for his fame as his talent, which had been dwindling at Barcelona.

For 21 million euros, he brought two seasons of his huge grin and fancy footwork, along with vision and passing.  In his first season, he was largely ineffective playing with Kaka, and in his second, he led the offense, albeit, only at his pace.

When we examined his attacking impact at the end of the season, it actually surprised me how effective he was .  After all, I was the same guy who skewered him after only a couple games last season .  The difference was that he became more of a playmaker spraying passes to Pato on the far side and crosses to anyone he could find in the box.

Ronaldinho is an entertaining player who genuinely seems happy to be playing and definitely gives everything he has, as long as it’s in the offensive end.  That said, he’s not a good fit for the new Allegri-run Diavolo, and that’s why Milan is considering letting him leave to Flamengo.

Reports everywhere on the internet are suggesting that Ronie has agreed to personal terms with Flamengo and now only the two clubs must agree. The move gives the dribbling dynamo a chance to return to Brazil, while Milan will be able to shed his immense salary to make way for younger players.

As someone who watched about 90% of Milan’s games last year, I can tell you one thing about our beloved ‘Dinho. He needs the ball at his feet to feel good.  He can’t make a one touch pass and sprint to open space. It just doesn’t feel right to him. He’s transformed himself into a player who is famous for his dribbling, so he feels that he needs to dribble. It’s become a part of his play that he can’t bypass, even when it hurts the team.

Allegri likes to play an up-tempo, counter-attacking style. The current version of Ronaldinho is the born nemesis to a counter-attack, because it involves sprinting and quick passes.  Leonardo learned quickly last season that for Milan to thrive with ‘Dinho and Pirlo as their main creative forces, that they needed to play a methodical, possession-driven game.

The other concern for Milan, is the Brazilian’s lack of defensive responsibility. Against Manchester United in the Champions League, he was consistently beaten by Gary Neville, who could hardly be considered an offensive threat.  Watching teams like Germany, Spain or the Netherlands in South Africa, it’s obvious how important the defensive responsibilities of wing players are. Ronaldinho doesn’t have the stamina or willingness to provide that type of cover to his teammates.

If Allegri is to implement the system he desires, then rumors of acquisitions like Lucas Podolski make a lot of sense, as they simultaneously provide pace and youth at the same time. A trident of Pato, Borriello and Princy Poldy would surely give Allegri the firepower he needs.

If Ronie really does leave the San Siro, it will probably be in the best interest of both parties, but it will also be a sad event.  He re-discovered his game last season, but unfortunately it might not be good enough to thrive at the highest level.