Former AC Milan and
Barcelona striker Ronaldinho walked out on Flamengo on Thursday
after winning a court injunction releasing him from his
contract, his lawyer said.
The announcement came after a troubled 17 months at Brazil's
most popular club where the 32-year-old World Cup winner with
the famous goofy grin has suffered a sharp drop in form since
the start of the year.
"Ronaldinho is no longer a Flamengo player, his contract has
been broken off in court," his lawyer Gislaine Nunes told
Ronaldinho was jeered off the pitch when he was substituted
on Saturday after a mistake led to Internacional's equaliser in
a 3-3 draw in the Brazilian championship.
He was given permission to visit his mother, who has health
problems, after the game but missed training this week and
failed to join the team on a flight to Teresina in north-eastern
Brazil for a friendly on Thursday night.
Flamengo said in a statement that Ronaldinho had missed
training for four days in a row and that the matter would be
handled by the club's legal department.
"We have always dealt with matters concerning Ronaldinho
internally and with high standards," said club president
"We didn't expect an attitude such as this. The legal
department will take measures to protect the interests of
"The club is bigger than any person and always will be."
Earlier, football vice-president Paulo Cesar Coutinho told a
group of supporters in the team hotel in Teresina that
Ronaldinho had been dropped from the squad, although this was
not confirmed officially.
Coutinho, whose comments were filmed by one of the fans,
said Ronaldinho had been "playing rubbish".
Ronaldinho was voted FIFA's World Player of the Year in 2005
and 2006 but his career has been steadily going downhill since
then and his drop in form is often blamed on his partying
He reached his peak during a five-year spell with Barcelona,
then spent three less successful years with AC Milan before
joining Flamengo at the start of last year.
He also peaked early at international level, helping to win
the 2002 World Cup, performing poorly four years later and being
left out of the squad altogether for 2010.
At the start of this year, coach Vanderlei Luxemburgo left
Flamengo after a series of public disagreements with the player,
who has also been criticised by Luxemburgo's successor Joel
Ronaldinho's brother and agent Assis has complained that
Flamengo have not been paying Ronaldinho on time.
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