RIO DE JANEIRO - Former World Player of
the Year Ronaldinho has signed a four-year contract with
Flamengo in a bid to revive his flagging career and win a
place in Brazil's 2014 World Cup squad.
"Ronaldo de Assis Moreira, or simply Ronaldinho Gaucho,
will wear the Flamengo shirt," said Flamengo on their website.
Ronaldinho was last week given permission by AC Milan to
seek a move home to Brazil after he failed to hold down his
place with the Serie A team.
On Saturday, the Italian club's vice-president Adriano
Galliani said the two clubs had reached an agreement.
The 30-year-old, who had also been chased by Gremio, the
club where he was raised, and Palmeiras, was overlooked by
Brazil squad for the World Cup last year but is still hoping
to make the squad in 2014.
"I can imagine these supporters in a full stadium," said
Ronaldinho. "The supporters can expect the best from him. I
came back to Brazil and to play with Flamengo to give them this.
"I also hope that my performances can put me back in the
Brazilian team again."
Flamengo claim to be Brazil's most popular club with 25
Ronaldinho reached his peak when he helped Brazil win the
2002 World Cup and then during a five-year spell with
Barcelona, where he was twice voted FIFA's World Player of the
But after a disappointing performance at the 2006 World
Cup, his partying lifestyle and lack of fitness began to show
and he joined AC Milan in 2008.
Italy saw only flashes of his astonishing skills and he
also fell out of favour with Brazil coach Dunga who, after
giving him plenty of opportunities, including a place in the
2008 Olympic Games team, left him out of the 2010 World Cup
He was recalled by new coach Mano Menezes for November's
friendly with Argentina in Doha, winning his 93rd cap in a 1-0
Ronaldinho, who initially left Brazil in 2001 to join
Paris Saint-Germain, joins a growing army of top Brazilian
players who have returned home, attracted by a strong lower
Others include Ronaldo, Roberto Carlos, Deco - who was
raised in Brazil although he played for Portugal -- and Fred.
The signing of Ronaldinho is likely to cause another wave
of huge expectation at Flamengo, one of Brazil's most volatile
Flamengo have won five Brazilian championship titles, most
recently in 2009, but finished only two points above the
relegation zone last season.
Their attempts to add to the only title in the
Libertadores Cup, South America's equivalent of the Champions
League, have produced a series of spectacular failures.
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