Straight from the dark heart of Italy
Ronaldinho having scored twice in Turin on Sunday, you'd expect him to have a night out to celebrate.
Of course, that is what the Brazilian party boy did and few should have been surprised – and if an(other) excuse was needed it was also his brother’s birthday.
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While the rest of the AC Milan squad headed back home and the prospect of a day off on Monday, Dinho remained in Turin for a night of South American revelry.
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First stop was a Brazilian restaurant and then top nightclub Copa Rio to take to the stage for a session on the drums.
Plenty of Red Bulls were apparently swigged back as the beat went on and a bevy of beauties writhed away to that Samba hit Cem Por Cem.
By all reports a fine old time was had by all and for once Ronnie deserved to indulge himself in his favourite extracurricular activities.
The Italian press were at the their most pious, having secured some grainy mobile phone snaps from the festivities – or a normal Sunday night for the party-loving Brazilians marooned in the chilly north-east of Italy – as our man finally called it a day at 3.30am.
Of course, the sight of that toothy grin surrounded by beautiful women in the wee hours would have brought out the green-eyed monster in any red-blooded male – and especially those members of the press who were no doubt tucked up in bed.
It's the proverbial “storm in a coffee cup” considering that we haven’t heard a peep about his new early-to-bed, hard-training regime.
Being a footballer in Italy is akin to being in a religious order, but Ronaldinho never took those vows: when has he ever claimed to possess the self-denial of a monk?
A couple of times in the past he would have benefited from an early night, such as before the Champions League game at Zurich when he was certainly looking a little off colour.
Ron did vow to concentrate on football after that, as he enters the most important phase of his career.
There's a title to win in Italy and a Champions League to chase around the continent – and either (or both) of those prizes would have to put him back in the frame for the World Cup finals.
South Africa would be his third Mondiale finals, and he'll want more of a 2002 re-run than a 2006 repeat – especially as he turns 30 in March.
It has been performances on the pitch rather than the dance floor which have caught the headlines of late, and it's doubtful that he'll receive a ferocious rebuke, as happened last season under Carlo Ancelotti.
Leonardo may not be a kindred spirit but he at least has some empathy with his compatriot and will have seen the change in character and improved fitness first hand over the last few months.
The women, clubs and dancing will always be there but no one should begrudge our frizzy-haired favourite a few boogie nights now and again.
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Geographical correction: Torino is in the northwest of Italy, not northeast, no?
That would be somewhere in the Veneto, where football shineth no very bright light.
Also, I can't imagine "storm in a coffee cup" is proverbial somewhere, unless it translates an alliterative phrase in Italian?
"Tempest in a teacup," maybe?
JUST A TOP MAN
If he's working hard in training and goes out before the team has a day off, I can't understand why a footballer shouldn't go dance all night, join in with the band, or enjoy the company of women. No one said he was drunk in Turin, and he's never been accused of being rude, abusive, or a danger to underage girls, as have so many multiple offenders in the premiership and throughout the sport. I'll save my moral outrage for those "heroes" of the game, thank you.
The only interest we should have in a player's evening activities are if they impact his form -- as in Ronaldinho's case in the past. If not, I'm all for harmless fun. In fact, in some cases, if a bit more joy were returned to professional play, it would probably be a bit more fun to watch.
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